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New perovskite-inspired materials for renewable energy applications (RENU21/EE/MPEE/LONGO)

Faculty of Engineering and Environment

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Dr G Longo No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Newcastle United Kingdom Computational Chemistry Energy Technologies Inorganic Chemistry Engineering Materials Science Solid State Physics

About the Project

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 2021.

Lead-based hybrid perovskites have been the protagonist of a revolution in photovoltaic applications. In only a few years they reached efficiencies as high as more mature technologies like silicon, with the promise of further increase. Additionally, the easy processability of these materials and their affordable precursors make perovskite an inexpensive compound appealing for industrial applications and commercialization. However, despite all these promising features, they suffer of two major drawbacks: poor stability to ambient conditions and the presence of toxic element (Pb) in their composition.

Consequently, the search for alternative perovskite and perovskite-inspired materials that show environmental stability, sustainability, and excellent photo-physical features is a hot topic in the photovoltaic research field.

In this project, two types of perovskites will be scrutinized, hunting for the next generation photovoltaic materials: chalcogenide perovskites and vacancy-ordered perovskites. The project will start with a computational approach, evaluating which specific compositions are suitable for energy applications (principally for photovoltaic technologies, but other energy-related sectors, such as batteries, will be considered). Then the focus of the project will be the synthesis and characterisation of the selected compounds, with the evaluation of the photo-physical properties of the prepared new materials. The candidate will gain a deep knowledge and practical skills on material science, obtaining experience on: theoretical calculations for material properties prediction, synthetic approaches for materials preparation, and characterization techniques for materials’ properties evaluation. The candidate must have a solid background in solid state/semiconductor physics and be extremely motivated for this exciting project. The candidate will join a dynamic team of academic staff, research fellows and PhD students.

This project is supervised by Dr. Guilia Longo. For informal queries, please contact [Email Address Removed]

The application closing date is 7 February 2021 and we will aim to have the interviews take place in early March. Please note that interviews, should they be arranged, will be online rather than in person due to COVID-19.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Please note eligibility requirement:

• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.

• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note that applications must include all of the following to be considered:

  1. A research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), and include the advert reference (e.g. ReNU21/…).
  2. You must upload with your application at least 2 reference letters

Deadline for applications: 7 February 2021

Start Date: 1 October 2021

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

* please note: to be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

• Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or

• have settled status, or

• have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or

• have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student.

Funding Notes

Home and International students (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. The studentship is available to Home and International (including EU) students, and includes a full stipend at UKRI rates (for 2020/21, this was £15,285 pa) and full tuition fees. Also significant additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges). 

We have a limited number of International awards available.   Note that up to 6 offers of a PhD place will be made for the ReNU CDT projects advertised by Northumbria University.


1. Halide Perovskite Photovoltaics: Background, Status, and Future Prospects,

2. Chalcogenide Materials and Derivatives for Photovoltaic Applications,

3. Perspectives and Design Principles of Vacancy-Ordered Double Perovskite Halide Semiconductors,
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