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Plastic Pollution: how chemical recycling technology can fix it

   Department of Chemistry

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  Prof Matthew Jones  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project commencing in October 2022 under the supervision of Professor Matthew Jones in the Department of Chemistry.

Eligible applicants will be considered for a fully-funded studentship – for more information, see the Funding Notes section below.

Overview of the Project:

Plastics are ubiquitous in everyday society, unfortunately what was once hailed as an innovation is now seen as a huge environmental concern. In 2016 56 million tonnes (Mt) of plastic were sent to landfill and by 2050 there is projected to be ca. 900 Mt of plastics in the ocean, this is more than fish (by weight). This is one of the major threats of the 21st Century. There are two possible solutions to this crisis that are starting to gather momentum. These will form the major stands of this PhD project:

  1. Recycling: Polymer(plastic) recycling is one of the tenants of the circular economy. In this PhD we will probe questions such as: Can we use waste plastics as source of chemicals and materials? What can we convert waste plastics into? In this aspect we will develop a suite of catalysts that are able to degrade consumer waste to higher value chemicals needed by industry.
  2. Designed for degradation: we will prepare a series of polymers with more easily degradable linkers. Initially we will target a series of polyester-based materials. Again, the target of this work package will be catalyst development. We aim to produce the next generation of smart plastics fit for 21st century applications.

Working on this project you will gain experience of NMR spectroscopy and polymer characterisation (SEC, DSC MALDI). The PhD will involve a mixture of inorganic, catalysis and polymer chemistry.   

Project keywords: chemistry, catalysis, sustainability.

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class Honours degree (or the equivalent) in Chemistry and be interested in sustainable chemistry. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.

Non-UK applicants must meet our English language entry requirement.

Enquiries and Applications:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Professor Matthew Jones (email: [Email Address Removed]).

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Chemistry.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion:

We value a diverse research environment and aim to be an inclusive university, where difference is celebrated and respected. We welcome and encourage applications from under-represented groups.

If you have circumstances that you feel we should be aware of that have affected your educational attainment, then please feel free to tell us about it in your application form. The best way to do this is a short paragraph at the end of your personal statement.

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project may be considered for a 3.5-year Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC DTP) studentship. Funding covers tuition fees, a stipend (£15,609 per annum, 2021/22 rate) and research/training expenses (£1,000 per annum). EPSRC DTP studentships are open to both Home and International students; however, in line with guidance from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the number of awards available to International candidates will be limited to 30% of the total.


ChemSusChem, 2021, 4041. 10.1002/cssc.202100400
Green Chemistry, 2020, 3721. 10.1039/D0GC01252A
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