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  Towards boosting photosynthesis by plant nanobionics

   Department of Chemical Engineering

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  Dr Ming Xie, Prof Andrew Burrows  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath is inviting applications for the following fully funded PhD project, expected to commence by September 2023.


A new generation of systems and approach for accelerating plant photosynthesis, nanobiotechnology, has been used for developing bionic plants to produce biomass that could have better photosynthesis efficiency. It is hypothesised that noble metal nanoparticles with plasmon resonance characteristics can increase the efficiency of photosynthesis systems due to an increase in the production of excited electrons with a higher energy. Plasmonic nanostructures are characterised by their strong interaction with resonant photons through an excitation of surface plasmon resonance.

We are looking for two PhD students to this Leverhulme Trust funded project. In this project, you will explore the fundamental understanding of how the plasmonic nanostructured materials interact with the chloroplasts will lead to novel photosynthesis systems and development of solar-to-chemical energy conversion methods.

You will be based in Chemical Engineering, and part of the Centre for Advanced Separations Engineering and Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies (CSCT), which hosts experts in membrane separation, materials synthesis and characterisation, industrial ecology assessment.

Candidate Requirements

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or the equivalent) in a relevant subject. 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 Dr. Ming Xie ([Email Address Removed])

If you are interested in applying, please contact Dr. Ming Xie ([Email Address Removed]) in the first instance, including a short cover letter and CV.

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

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.


Chemical Engineering; Computational Chemistry; Environmental Chemistry; Environmental Engineering; Nanotechnology; Physical Chemistry; Polymer Chemistry

Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for funding, you must qualify as a Home student. The eligibility criteria for Home fee status are detailed and too complex to be summarised here in full; however, as a general guide, the following applicants will normally qualify subject to meeting residency requirements: UK nationals (living in the UK or EEA/Switzerland), Irish nationals (living in the UK or EEA/Switzerland), those with Indefinite Leave to Remain and EU nationals with pre-settled or settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme). This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Additional information may be found on our fee status guidance webpage, on the GOV.UK website and on the UKCISA website.

Chemistry (6) Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project will be considered for a fully funded 3 year studentship, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. This full funding will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and provide a stipend at the UKRI rate (£17,668 per annum, 2022/23 rate), and will also provide access to a research budget.