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Pharmaceutical Solid Manufacturing Challenges and Sensory Measurement Techniques

   Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering

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  Prof Agba Salman, Prof Mahdi Mahfouf  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

It is estimated that over 75% of all produced pharmaceuticals are in tablet form. The starting point for this final product is the powder that has to undergo several controlled processes.

At The University of Sheffield, powder processing has received a long-awaited ‘shot in the arm’ via a multi-million-pound investment in the shape of DiPP (Diamond Pilot Plant) integrating several units of production, including granulation and Tableting. This unique facility represents a remarkable opportunity for research where current and future research challenges in the area of pharmaceutical solid manufacturing can be addressed. The plant itself can also be identified as a valuable source for digital data/information so vital for the realization of Industry-4.0 ideals in terms of digital twin development, real-time process monitoring and optimization for right-first-time production of pharmaceuticals, quick turn-around, and reduction of material wastage.

The aim of this project is to reduce the need of final product inspection by controlling the properties of mid-products between different units of the pilot plant. This will be carried out by introducing more Process Analytical Technology tools (PAT). This could be more sensory measurement devices such as online particle size measurement which is a key attribute in the granulation process. More measurements mean better insight into the processes involved which in turn will lead to better quality data and more accurate predictive models for products properties with less uncertainties via digital twinning.  

Finally, the PhD scholarship should be able to provide the necessary gearing towards a recently won UK-EPSRC/US-NSF Research Grant (£1.54M- 2021-2024) on Right-First-Time Manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals in collaboration between 3 UK universities (Sheffield & UCL, Strathclyde) and 1 US Institution (Purdue).

Different pharmaceutical companies are also involved in this project such as GSK, AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

Please see this link for information on how to apply: Please include the name of your proposed supervisor and the title of the PhD project within your application.

Candidates should have a first class or upper second class degree in chemical engineering, control engineering, mathematics, material science, chemistry, or a related discipline. If English is not your first language then you must have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) average of 6.5 or above with at least 6.0 in each component, or equivalent. Please see this link for further information:

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