Systematic digitalisation strategies for sustainable and optimal design and operation of the next generation pharmaceutical plants

   Department of Chemical Engineering

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Dr Brahim Benyahia  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


This PhD project will be part of the European Consortium “SusPharma” which involves 9 research partners across Europe and a large community of postdoctoral associates and PhD students.

The overall objective of the consortium is to (i) use of renewable (bio-based) feedstocks to synthesise key pharmaceuticals, (ii) develop new benchtop continuous purification methods to recover active pharmaceutical ingredients, remove impurities and recycle synthetic solvents,(iii) integrate digitisation methods and artificial intelligence to deliver sustainable synthetic and purification pathways, (iv) develop autonomous platforms for systematic optimal design of experiments and process optimisation, (v) address the digital skills gap and provide the pharmaceutical industry with the next generation digital leaders.

This project will be based at the Department of Chemical Engineering. Following a recent £25 million refurbishment, the department houses a range of state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and a modern office environment. The PhD student will join a dynamic and vibrant research team of ~10 researchers and will benefit from the support of several postdoctoral research associates and PhD students.

The project will develop and experimentally validate novel methodologies for design and optimisation which includes the development of optimal and greener reaction pathways, optimal purification recipes (e.g. solvent and additive selection), optimal product and process designs, as well as optimal operating procedures. More specifically, the PhD student will use advanced computer-aided organic synthesis software, based on advanced artificial intelligence (AI), to identify effective and optimal synthetic routes.

To minimise the development costs and generate information-rich data, the PhD project will implement optimal Designs of Experiments (DoE) which may include model-based DoE. These data will help identify the most reliable mathematical models and develop robust digital tools for optimisation and decision making, which include but not limited to Holistic Computer Aided Mixture/blend Design (CAMD), maximising product quality, and minimising the environmental footprint. To address quality-related challenges and deliver built-in drug safety and efficacy assurance, novel Quality-by-Design methodologies will be systematically implemented.

To achieve these objectives and build a lab-scale platform for optimal and green synthesis and purification, the PhD project will implement both experimentation as well as modelling and simulation strategies. The PhD candidate will benefit from the support of a large research group (~10 researchers) 3 of which will be part of the same European Research Consortium “SusPharma” and will get tremendous opportunities for training, attending national and international conferences, and interacting with the European consortium and industrial partners on a regular basis.


Our entry requirements are listed using standard UK undergraduate degree classifications i.e. first-class honours, upper second-class honours and lower second-class honours.

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) and a relevant Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering, Chemistry or related subject.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.

The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £16,062 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. International students may apply, however the total value of the studentship will cover the International Tuition Fee Only.


All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select Chemical Engineering. Please quote the advertised reference number: CG-BB-2115 in your application.

To avoid delays in processing your application, please ensure that you submit the minimum supporting documents.

PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs