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Making multifunctional energy storage devices more sustainable (Ref: ReNU/Shirshova)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU) is a collaborative doctoral training programme run by the Universities of Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham. In addition to undertaking an individual scientific research project at one of the three partner Universities, doctoral candidates will engage with added value training opportunities, for example in business, innovation and internationalisation through a 4-year training programme that has been designed to maximise the benefits of a cohort approach to doctoral training. The start date is 1st October 2020.

In the world where we thrive to improve quality of life, the quest to develop more efficient devices which also can provide additional value, for example volume (space) or/and weight savings continues. One approach allowing achievement of the volume/weight savings is the creation of smart structures, where monofunctional devices, for example sensors, actuators or batteries are sandwiched together with structural materials. However, the savings achieved this way are very modest. Another approach is to manufacture devices from the materials which can perform two functions simultaneously, i.e. multifunctional materials. It should be noted that there are similarities between power storage devices and fibre reinforced polymer composites, for example, the electrode arrangement in the power storage devices and specifically in supercapacitors is similar to laminated architecture of fibre reinforced composite. In this project more sustainable alternatives for the existent multifunctional materials used in structural energy storage devices will be looked at and resulting materials and devices will be characterised. Also, possible trade-offs from changing to more sustainable materials and identify possible applications.

This project is supervised by Dr Natasha Shirshova. For enquiries about the project, please contact

For this project you must apply through the Durham University’s online postgraduate application system by creating an account. To do this please navigate to https://www.dur.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/ and select ‘Apply now’ followed by ‘Apply for postgraduate study.’

When completing your application, please ensure that you note that you are applying for the appropriate ReNU project by completing the application fields as follows:

Course details
• Select ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Have you been in contact with a potential supervisor?’
• Complete the ‘intended supervisor’s name’ with ReNU/Shirshova
• Complete Engineering as the Department

• Select ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Have you applied, or are you going to apply for a scholarship?
• Select ‘other’ from the drop-down list under, ‘Please indicate which scholarship you have applied for’
• Complete ‘Please enter the name of the Scholarship you have applied for or will be applying for’ with ReNU/Shirshova

The application closing date is January 31st and interviews will take place in February.

The applicant is expected to have a 1st or 2:1 class honours degree, or postgraduate Masters (preferably at Merit level) in Chemistry, Physics or Materials Science or a related subject as well as an appropriate IELTS score if required. Applicants should not be engaged with Doctoral study at Durham or elsewhere.

Funding Notes

The studentship covers full Home fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rates (for 2019/20, this was £15,009 pa). Also significant additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges).

Please note that the scholarship award is set at the Home/EU level of fees. Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award. Note that up to 4 offers of a PhD place will be made for the ReNU CDT projects advertised by Durham University.

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