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  Solvent reuse to support sustainable pharmaceutical manufacturing

   Department of Chemical and Process Engineering

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  Prof Chris Price, Prof J Sefcik  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This project aims to develop and demonstrate solvent recycling methodologies which can be applied within individual process stage during advanced continuous pharmaceutical synthesis and active pharmaceutical ingredient isolation.

Typically, pharmaceutical manufacturers use solvents once and then sends them for incineration, this is driven by a desire to minimise risk to product quality. However, this is a major contributor to the industry’s low atom efficiency of around 100kg of hazardous waste per 1kg of product. This research project fits within a wider project on solvent modelling, design and selection operated in partnership between the University of Strathclyde and Imperial College London with support from GSK and Eli Lilly. We have extensive practical experience in continuous pharmaceutical synthesis, isolation and formulation and excellent research facilities, the team works collaboratively with multiple industrial partners ( and has a world leading position in this field. This project will build on these capabilities to address this key sustainability challenge for pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The candidate will engage with solvent modelling partners to understand the challenges of optimal solvent selection. In addition the project will evaluate alternatives in process solvent recycling approaches generating experimental data on recycled solvent quality and its impact on product attributes and process performance with the aim of determining how many cycles of use of use can take place without impacting quality for the patient. The learnings from the experimental work will be used to refine the optimisation algorithms in the solvent selection procedures. The experimental work will also contribute to the verification of the overall methodology for optimised synthesis isolation and product formulation.

We seek applicants with good experience of experimental work, ideally with practical of chemical synthesis and isolation (crystallization, filtration washing and drying) in a pharmaceutical context. The PhD program will provide training in the application of continuous processing in pharmaceutical R&D. The successful applicant will join a vibrant group of researchers with expertise in process design, synthesis, characterisation and applications to real-world problems.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:

Chemistry (6) Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

This PhD project is initially offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with their own funding, or those applying to funding sources. However, excellent candidates may be considered for a University scholarship.

Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering/science discipline, and be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research.

Where will I study?

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