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PhD Studentship in Renewable Energy: Connecting hydrogen storage with carbon capture and utilisation using engineered bacteria.

   Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering

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  Prof F Sargent  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

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 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 is responsible for net emissions of carbon dioxide of >400 million tonnes per year. A basket of solutions is needed to reach ‘Net Zero’ when no extra CO2 is sent to the atmosphere. Biotechnologists are working on solutions, including how to use and store renewable hydrogen as

an alternative energy carrier, and how to use waste CO2 to make products people want and need. By engineering biological systems we have the power to contribute considerably to this. The overarching aim of this project is to engineer a bacterium to hydrogenate CO2 and either store the formic acid product or convert it to commodity biochemicals. Training in microbiology, synthetic biology, genetic engineering, and gas fermentation, will be provided.

Number Of Awards


Start Date

18 Sept 2023

Award Duration

4 years

Application Closing Date

6 March 2023


EPSRC and Procter & Gamble


Frank Sargent (Newcastle University), Ciarán Kelly (Northumbria University), Linsey Fuller (Procter & Gamble - external/industry)

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to gain, a minimum 2:1 Honours degree or international equivalent in a relevant subject or subject relevant to the proposed PhD project. Enthusiasm for research, the ability to think and work independently, excellent analytical skills and strong verbal and written communication skills are also essential requirements. 

Home and international applicants (inc. EU) are welcome to apply and if successful will receive a full studentship. Applicants whose first language is not English require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills. 

International applicants may require ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance.

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal  

Once registered select ‘Create a Postgraduate Application’.   

Use ‘Course Search’ to identify your programme of study:  

·        search for the ‘Course Title’ using the programme code: 8208F

·        select PhD Energy Materials (full time)' as the programme of study 

You will then need to provide the following information in the ‘Further Questions’ section:  

·        a ‘Personal Statement’ (this is a mandatory field) - upload a document or write a statement directly in to the application form  

·        the studentship code renu2302 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field  

·        when prompted for how you are providing your research proposal - select ‘Write Proposal’. You should then type in the title of the research project from this advert. You do not need to upload a research proposal.  

Contact Details

[Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

100% fees covered, and a minimum tax-free annual living allowance of £17,668 (2022-23 UKRI rate).
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