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Supramolecular Repair of Lubricating Surfaces: A Novel Approach to Improving the Reliability of Wind Turbines

   Department of Chemistry

   Sunday, February 06, 2022  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Durham United Kingdom Organic Chemistry Materials Science Synthetic Chemistry

About the Project

Department: Chemistry

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 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 start date is 1st October 2022.

One of the contemporary challenges facing synthetic chemists is to design materials that help us overcome the energy crisis.

This PhD project aims to create advanced lubricating surfaces through the organic synthesis and supramolecular assembly of polymers. For details see McGonigal et al. ‘Supramolecular Repair of Hydration Lubrication Surfaces’ Chem 2022. These materials will be tested for their ability to lubricate bearings used in wind turbines. Based in an organic chemistry laboratory but working as part of an interdisciplinary team, the student will design and synthesise new organic compounds and probe their surface assembly and lubrication properties. The project is best suited to a student with a synthetic chemistry background and an open mind towards learning new skills and techniques from colleagues in the Department of Engineering.

The project is supervised by Dr Paul McGonigal and Prof Junjie Wu. For informal enquiries please contact .

The application closing date is 6th February 2021 and interviews will take place later in the month. Please note that interviews will be online rather than in person due to COVID-19.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Our eligibility requirements are:

•      Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.

•      If required, an IELTS score of 6.5 with no component under 6.0.

·      Two satisfactory academic references.

•      Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Durham or elsewhere.

You must apply through the University’s online application portal - Home · Application Portal (microsoftcrmportals.com)

  • Create an account and click ‘Postgraduate Apply’ on the top ribbon.
  • Search for ‘EPSRC CDT’ in Course and select Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (EPSRC CDT) starting in 2022/23. 
  • Complete the application form, ensuring the following:
  • On the funding tab select ‘yes’ you are applying for a scholarship, select ‘Other’, write RENU/McGonigal in the name of the scholarship, and select 1st October 2022 as the start date. No scholarship documents are required.
  • On the project course details tab write RENU/McGonigal in Field of Study.
  • Please include an application letter summarising your motivation and suitability for the project.
  • Please ensure you follow all of these steps to ensure your application is considered.


Funding notes

Home and International students (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. The studentship is available to Home and International students, and includes a full stipend at UKRI rates (for 2020/21 full time study, this was £15,609 pa) and full tuition fees. Also, significant additional funding is included to cover research costs and local, national and international travel such as conferences and exchanges. Note that these studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis between projects. We anticipate that up to 5 awards will be made for projects hosted at Durham. 

Please note there are a limited number of full international scholarships available. Further information about how EPSRC classifies international fee status please see Annex B of UKRI-170821-TrainingGrantTermsConditionsGuidance-Aug2021.pdf

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