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Understanding New Polymers for Sustainability to enable Re-use & Recycling

Department of Chemistry

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Prof A Slark No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Sheffield United Kingdom Analytical Chemistry Materials Science Physical Chemistry Polymers

About the Project

With the need to improve sustainability and reduce the environmental impact from polymer- based products, recycling and reuse are becoming ever more important. Crosslinked polymers provide the best mechanical properties and durability but have a negative environmental impact, since their permanent structure prevents easy re-use or recycling at the end of life. This PhD project will create deep understanding in the science of new polymer networks containing functional groups comprising dynamic bonds, by systematic variation of polymer structure and correlation with various physical/mechanical properties to create key structure-property relationships.

We are seeking a talented, highly motivated scientist with a passion for sustainability and understanding how polymers work to join the research team of an EPSRC Manufacturing Fellow at the University of Sheffield. We are a relatively new expanding academic group, aiming to capitalise on 25 years of industrial experience to perform high quality science on materials that are both commercially viable and have a positive impact on society. The team is a diverse, ambitious group of polymer chemists and material scientists that is actively growing.

The Department and the University have a range of facilities available, allowing the successful candidate to gain experience in a wide range of experimental and analytical techniques. The project offers the student truly interdisciplinary training/experience - while being based in Chemistry, they will also work in Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering. The project gives the successful candidate the chance to work on fundamental science with industrial relevance where they will learn skills appropriate for a future career in academia or industry. They will be involved in collaborations across the University and likely to have the opportunity of interaction with industrial partners as their PhD develops.

The student undertaking this project will have the opportunity to be a University of Sheffield Grantham scholar and to take advantage of the programme of sustainability training offered. The Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures focuses on advancing sustainability research and connecting it with the policy debate around how humans can live in a more sustainable way (

Grantham scholars combine outstanding intellect with a strong commitment to public engagement, leadership and action. These ambitious individuals undertake interdisciplinary PhD research projects to help solve the challenges of sustainability. They will be supported by the Centre through a unique training programme, designed to equip them with the skills to become policy advocates and leaders in sustainability matters.

The Grantham Scholar training programme • Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures (

• Applicants should have a first or upper second-class degree at MChem level in Chemistry, Polymer science or Materials science or an MSc in a relevant discipline.

• All applicants should provide: a CV with 2 references including a covering letter (maximum 1 side of A4) outlining their motivation, skills and experience; a presentation on their current research (2 slides) and a paper of interest to themselves (1 slide).

For informal enquiries or further details about this post, applicants are encouraged to contact Professor Andrew Slark on 07793 261268 (preferred) or e-mail at [Email Address Removed]

All formal applications are to be submitted via the Postgraduate application portal:

Postgraduate Online Application Form (

Funding Notes

The PhD studentship is available to UK applicants with a starting date from July 1st to October 1st 2021. The studentship is also available to EU applicants, with a starting date of July 1st to July 31st 2021.
The PhD studentship is fully funded, for the home tuition fee for 3.5 years with an additional 3 months’ full funding from the Grantham Centre.
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