Catalysis is a key technology for multiple industries and will play a critical role to achieve net zero ambitions. In 2020 bp set a goal of being a net zero company by 2050 or sooner and helping the world get to net zero. Similarly, JM has a sustainability framework that includes reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025.
This PhD position will be part of a large collaborative project between Cardiff University, The University of Manchester, bp and Johnson Matthey, co-funded by EPSRC and industry. The aim of the project is to develop a platform of new sustainable catalyst technologies that will enable clean growth and a low carbon future. This wide collaborative project will study several catalytic systems (including homogeneous, heterogeneous, biocatalysis, electrocatalysis and plasma catalysis) employing a range of computational and characterisation techniques to develop a fundamental understanding of catalytic mechanisms for the conversion of small bio-based molecules and CO2 into value added chemicals and fuels.
The PhD research project will be on developing and applying new cutting-edge in situ characterisation techniques for atomic resolution investigation of next generation catalysts. Specifically, the project will use advanced transmission electron microscopy (TEM) imaging and analysis capabilities to characterise single atom and supported transition metal catalysts for CO2 hydrogenation. Combined with other experimental and modelling techniques, the aim is to provide molecular understanding of the structure-activity relationships of heterogeneous catalysts. The project will benefit from The University of Manchester’s cutting edge in-situ TEM facilities, including capabilities for imaging and analysis in gas and liquids, and at elevated temperatures.
The PhD student will have a co-supervisor from Cardiff University and two industrial mentors and will have the opportunity to visit the partners’ industrial sites. PhDs will participate in quarterly meetings with the industrial partners and biannual meetings with all the project researchers. The project aims are fundamental and we expect to publish high impact outputs in world leading journals after industrial review. There will be opportunities to undertake experiments at national and international facilities and to present your work at international conferences. The project will be part of bp International Centre for Advanced Materials (bp-ICAM) community and students will receive training through the Integrated Catalysis (iCAT) CDT at Manchester.
Applicants should have a good degree in Physical Sciences, Engineering or equivalent experience.
Before you apply
We strongly recommend that you contact the lead supervisor for this project before you apply.
Before formally applying, applicants should submit a CV, a brief statement of research interests, and the names of two referees by e-mail to [Email Address Removed].
How to apply
To be considered for this project you’ll need to complete a formal application through our online application portal.
When applying, you’ll need to specify the full name of this project, the name of your supervisor, details of your previous study, and names and contact details of two referees.
Your application will not be processed without all of the required documents submitted at the time of application, and we cannot accept responsibility for late or missed deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
If you have any questions about making an application, please contact our admissions team by emailing [Email Address Removed].
Equality, diversity and inclusion
Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.
We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.
We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder).