LITAC - Marine Biomaterials: A Sustainable Alternative to Cellulose for Advancing the Textile and Fashion Circular Economy

   Leeds Institute of Textiles and Colour

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  Dr Eunsuk Hur, Dr N Sergeeva  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The application of marine materials - such as seaweed and marine algae - as sustainable textile solutions is a research area that is in the early stages of its development. 

The project aims to exploring the potential of marine algae as viable alternative to cellulosic fibres from availability, accessibility, sustainability and business point of view. The project combines interdisciplinary subjects such as materials, circular economy, textile industry, supply chain that is in line with the UK’s 2030 textile waste management and circular economy strategy. 

The project will identify the UK supply system for seaweed textile products, uncovering the possibility of optimising a circular economy system directly benefiting industry and policymakers. The project aims at assessing local market and cultivation opportunities in the UK. Examining current applications of seaweed materials in the UK, the project will propose a circular economy business model, which has a potential to stimulate the development of new material innovations contributing directly to government bodies and job opportunities. Case studies of existing approaches will be assessed to identify the current challenges in scaling up the production of sustainable marine materials. Investigation of consumer perceptions, acceptance, and willingness to purchase seaweed-based materials will be explored to identify how to maximise consumer and business participation in circular economy practices. The project can directly impact the practical activities of external partners by identifying and addressing their key challenges and issues in the development of algae textiles and fashion applications. Consequently, the project aims to create a diverse pool of knowledge reaching out to various part of society including public, governing, industry and funding bodies.

As a part of this research, you may explore the potential for policy interventions aimed at supporting the development of sustainable materials, production processes, and supply chain systems within the field of algae textiles and fashion applications. 

The work will be carried out in the highly international, interdisciplinary and collaborative environment offered by the School of Design at the University of Leeds. This PhD project is part of a collaboration between two Principal Investigators bringing together expertise in STEM, sustainability and business. This studentship offers excellent opportunities for developing a strong research portfolio and an interdisciplinary background.

Please be aware that the project is open to both MSc and MA graduates and is open to different methodologies and approaches; if you are a STEM graduate, the project can also involve a prototype development. 

Industrial Collaborations:

The successful applicant will join the Leeds Institute of Textiles and Colour (LITAC), a collaborative international research Institute that applies academic expertise, working together with external partners, both industrial from across the world, to address global challenges and sustainable development in textile and colour industries. We are focused on the development of innovative science and technology, materials, methods and processes. Technology-driven sustainable development is a major part of our work, hosted by the School of Design at the University of Leeds. 

Other Conditions:

  • Applicants must not have already been awarded or be currently studying for a doctoral degree.
  • Applicants must live within a reasonable distance of the University of Leeds whilst in receipt of this scholarship.

How to apply

Stage 1

First, apply for a research place of study, through the online application form. Please state clearly that the funding you wish to be considered for is ‘Marine Biomaterials: A Sustainable Alternative to Cellulose for Advancing the Textile and Fashion Circular Economy’ with Dr Natalia Sergeeva and Dr Eunsuk Hur as your proposed supervisors. You will be expected to meet our eligibility criteria for PHD candidates.

In order to be considered for the Studentship you must submit all the required supporting documents for your application for PhD study.

Please note that you will not need to submit a Research Proposal as part of your application for this project. In place of a Research Proposal please can you submit a statement which convey’s your motivation and enthusiasm for the project as outlined in the Scholarship advert. See stage 2 below.

Once you have received your student ID number (a 9-digit number) move onto stage 2.

Stage 2

Apply for the LITAC Project – ‘Marine Biomaterials: A Sustainable Alternative to Cellulose for Advancing the Textile and Fashion Circular Economy’ with Dr Natalia Sergeeva and Dr Eunsuk Hur as your proposed supervisors by completing the Scholarship Application Form. You must submit your scholarship application by 17.00 p.m. 4th of January 2024.

The scholarship application includes the supporting statement referenced in Stage 1. This statement should demonstrate your suitability for your intended PhD Project and not be longer than two pages. The statement should specifically include details on your interest in the project and why you have chosen to apply for this in particular. The statement should also include how you will apply your current skills, knowledge and experience to undertake the PhD and the approach you would take to develop the project.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have at least a first class or an upper second-class British Bachelors Honours degree (or an equivalent qualification) in one of the following areas: Chemistry, Engineering, Material Science, Environmental Science, or another relevant undergraduate or Master's discipline in Textile and Fashion Studies, Business, or Supply Chain Management. The ideal candidate will have a degree in the field of Chemistry or Material Science at both the BSc and MSc levels, or an MA in Business or Sustainability Studies. However, we will consider candidates who have studied Textiles and Fashion Studies. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for this research degree course are encouraged to contact Dr. Natalia Sergeeva (the main supervisor) and Dr. Eunsuk Hur (the co-supervisor) before submitting their application.

Contact details

For further information related to the application process please email the Faculty PGR Admissions Team

For further information related to the project please contact Dr Natalia Sergeeva or Dr Eunsuk Hur

Creative Arts & Design (9) Materials Science (24) Politics & Government (30)

Funding Notes

LITAC (Leeds Institute of Textiles and Colour) hosted by the School of Design, is offering a number of highly competitive PhD scholarships consisting of the award of tuition fees and an annual maintenance stipend that matches UKRI rates (18,622 GBP in 2023/24) along with a significant element of training and development expenses also incorporated within the Scholarship package. The scholarships are available to start in 1st April 2024 or 1st October 2024 at the latest. All candidates must be UK applicants and will be assessed and selection is based on academic merit.

Where will I study?

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