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   Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The continuous rise of CO2 levels in the atmosphere is one of the most severe challenges that humanity is facing. CO2 emission is a significant cause of global warming, and it has been identified as a national climate emergency by the UK Government. It is, therefore, a priority to find alternative solutions to the problem.

Meanwhile, there is also a race to develop renewable fuels to provide sustainable energy to the society without affecting modern lifestyle. The generation of green, liquid fuels can play a prominent role in this scenario to power certain vehicles like aircrafts.

Photocatalytic transformation of CO2 into liquid fuels using sunlight like in Figure 1, known as artificial photosynthesis, is a promising solution. The objective of this project is to design and select suitable photocatalytic materials that can transform CO2 into liquid fuels to be used for transportation. Through controlling the transfer of electrons and protons to the catalyst and understanding the mechanisms that govern reaction selectivity and conversion, the goal is to identify the characteristics of a new group of photocatalysts that offer improved conversion and selectivity for artificial photosynthesis.

The exact scope of the project can be discussed to align with the candidate’s research interests. The candidate will learn how to synthesize photocatalytic materials. The project will involve the use of traditional techniques for material characterisation such as TEM, SEM, EDX, XRD, XPS, BET, TPR, FTIR, GC-MS, Raman Spectroscopy and other photo-electrochemical techniques. Other techniques such as ultrafast transient analysis or DFT simulation might also be explored.

It is envisioned that the project will offer a better understanding of a new generation of catalytic materials that could give superior performance for the reduction of CO2 into liquid fuels.

This project is offered as part of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (AAPS CDT).  The Centre is inspiring and working with the next generation of leaders to pioneer and shape the transition to clean, sustainable, affordable mobility for all. 

Prospective students for this project will be applying for the CDT programme which integrates a one-year MRes with a three to four-year PhD  

AAPS is a remarkable hybrid think-and-do tank where disciplines connect and collide to explore new ways of moving people. The MRes year is conducted as an interdisciplinary cohort with a focus on systems thinking, team-working and research skills. On successful completion of the MRes, you will progress to the PhD phase where you will establish detailed knowledge in your chosen area of research alongside colleagues working across a broad spectrum of challenges facing the Industry.  

The AAPS community is both stretching and supportive, encouraging our students to explore their research in a challenging but highly collaborative way. You will be able to work with peers from a diverse background, academics with real world experience and a broad spectrum of industry partners. 

Throughout your time with AAPS you will benefit from our training activities such mentoring future cohorts and participation in centre activities such as masterclasses, research seminars, think tanks and guest lectures. 

All new students joining the CDT will be assigned student mentor and a minimum of 2 academic supervisors at the point of starting their PhD. 

Funding is available for four-years (full time equivalent) for Home students. 

See our website to apply and find more details about our unique training programme (  

Funding Notes

AAPS CDT studentships are available on a competition basis for UK students for up to 4 years. Funding will cover UK tuition fees as well as providing maintenance at the UKRI doctoral stipend rate (£17,668 per annum for 2022/23 rate) and a training support fee of £1,000 per annum.

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