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PhD Studentship in Renewable Energy: Development of Solid Electrolytes by a Combined in-Operando XPS-Theoretical Approach

   Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering

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  Dr Elisabetta Arca, Dr J Dawson  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. 

As part of your PhD, you will support the development of the renewable energy sector with the goal of eliminating the emission of greenhouse gases (Net-zero). Achievement of the net-zero target requires electrification of end use applications such as the energy grid and transportation sector. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery is the technology of choice for this. However, the commercial standard requires the use of highly flammable and corrosive liquid electrolytes. To improve safety and stability, all-solid-state batteries and, in particular, new solid electrolyte materials must be developed.

During your PhD, you will develop both experimental and theoretical expertise in the field of solid-electrolyte technologies. Core to the project will be the development of in-operando X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy methods to characterise the synthesised materials. You will also gain expertise in electrochemical methods, XRD, solid-state NMR and perform theoretical calculations based on density functional theory and molecular dynamics.

Number Of Awards


Start Date

18 Sept 23

Award Duration

4 years




Dr Elisabetta Arca (Newcastle University), Dr James A. Dawson (Newcastle University), Dr Karen E. Johnston (Durham University)

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 renu2301 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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