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PhD studentship in Developing Truly Green Solar Power

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, March 08, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Number of awards:


Start date and duration:

September 2019 for 4 years.


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 described below 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 UK has seen a rapid expansion of solar power over the last decade in a drive to reduce CO2 emissions. But how eco-friendly is solar power? The energy required for mining and processing of silicon means the technology is not pollutant-free. Several alternative technologies have been proposed based on “thin films” (1000 x thinner than silicon wafers) but each has a disadvantage, such as limited abundance, stability and conversion efficiency or potential toxicity. This project seeks to combine the desirable features of each emerging technology and avoid the production of toxic waste streams. “Hybrid” devices will be developed in which the interfaces between the components are carefully engineered to extract the maximum power with the minimum environmental impact. To achieve this, the successful applicant will combine materials synthesis, using sustainable approaches, with solar cell assembly and testing.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) (

Name of supervisor(s):

Newcastle Univesity: Dr Elizabeth Gibson (School of Natural and Environmental Science) ( and Dr Pablo Docampo (School of Engineering),

Northumbria University: Dr Vincent Barrioz (Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering)

Eligibility Criteria:

The applicant is expected to have a 1st class honours degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science or a related subject. The award is available to UK/EU applicants only. Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award.

How to apply:

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system by creating an account ( To do this please select ‘How to Apply’ and choose the ‘Apply now’ button.

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:
•click on programme of study
•insert 8100F in the programme code section and click search
•select Programme name ‘PhD in Chemistry (full time) – Chemistry’
•insert renu191 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 renu191 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.

Funding Notes

The studentship covers full UK/EU fees (eligibility criteria applies to EU students) and an annual living allowance of £14,777 (at the 2018/19 UKRI rate). Also significant additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges).

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