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PhD Studentship: 3D-Printable Functional Biopolymer Composite Materials

   School of Engineering

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  Dr David Xie  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


Natural biopolymers such as polysaccharides (e.g. chitin/chitosan, cellulose, starch, and alginate) and proteins are widely available, biodegradable, biocompatible, chemically versatile, and inherently functional, and thus have huge potential in developing advanced functional materials.

This exciting PhD project aims to develop a series of biopolymer-based composite materials (hydrogels or other forms) with tailored structures, properties and functionality, and advanced engineering processes especially based on 3D printing for producing such materials. Aspects of the research work include, but not limited to: the chemical modification and plasticisation/dissolution of biopolymers, the chemical modification/synthesis of polymers and nanoparticles and plasticisers/solvents, the rheological and printability evaluation of biopolymer formulations, the establishment of 3D-printing and other processes for materials production, the characterisation of starting materials, and intermediate products and final composites.

It is expected that cost-effective processes can be established to create biopolymer-based materials and that the materials would demonstrate application-potential (e.g. in the biomedical field) with suitable properties/functionality. It is also anticipated that this project will generate significant amounts of new knowledge in the area of biopolymer science and engineering.

This PhD position is under a five-year fellowship programme supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The PhD student will be principally advised by the EPSRC Fellow Dr David Fengwei Xie. Please feel free to contact Dr Xie to discuss your suitability. 

Number Of Awards


Start Date

September 2022

Award Duration

3.5 Years


EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP)


Dr David Fengwei Xie

Eligibility Criteria

A minimum 2.1 Bachelor Honours degree and/or postgraduate Master’s degree in science and technology areas: polymers, materials, engineering, chemistry, and physics (or international equivalent).

Experience of polymer chemistry, polymer science, and polymer engineering would be a distinct advantage.

Open to UK and International Students.

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create an account’.

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must to be completed. The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to: 

  • insert the programme code 8030F in the programme of study section
  • select ‘PhD Chemical Engineering (full time) – Advanced Materials’ as the programme of study
  • insert the studentship code ENG086 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code ENG086 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
  • attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.

You should also send your covering letter and CV to Dr David Fengwei Xie by email to [Email Address Removed].

Contact Details

Dr David Fengwei Xie [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

100% of tuition fees for UK/International students plus annual living allowance of £15,609.
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