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Water and food security: clean water for agriculture from recycled glass

Project Description

Clean uncontaminated water is the underpinning foundation of any food security and food production. Agriculture represents the major user of freshwater resources, and it is therefore essential that the water used to grow crops and livestock is not contaminated by chemicals that could end up in plants or animals, thus affecting their growth or human life at the end of the cycle.

In this project you will carry out characterization and testing of recycled glass beads to be used as heterogeneous catalysts for the abatement of pollutants, mainly nonsteroidal drugs, by investigating mechanical and chemical properties of glasses of different compositions. You will also synthesise catalysts to be used for benchmark comparisons.

Catalytic tests will involve pressurised systems and reaction mixtures will be characterised by nuclear magnetic resonance, chromatographic and mass spectrometry methods. The research work will also involve a significant amount of statistical analysis of the data in order to identify structural parameters responsible for catalytic activity and reproducibility of the results for their exploitation.

This PhD scholarship arises as part of a new award by the The Institute for Sustainable Food and The Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield. In this project you will be supervised by Dr. Marco Conte ( ), based at the department of Chemistry, University of Sheffield, and co-supervised by Dr. Vanessa Speight ( ) , based at the department of Civil engineering, University of Sheffield. The project also involves the collaboration of a project partner: Glass Technology Services based in Sheffield.

The applicant is expected to have a first degree (or equivalent title) in chemistry by the start of the project, and to have knowledge of microporous/nanoporous materials; especially in the synthesis of silicates or zeolites and their characterization using X-ray diffraction and importantly porosimetry methods. A background in catalysis would be beneficial, involving testing of catalytic materials with particular emphasis for liquid phase systems, peroxide chemistry, and chromatographic techniques.

The Department of Chemistry is one of the leading departments in the UK. The department highly value equality and diversity and it has been recently presented a Silver Athena Swan award. The University of Sheffield is a world top 100 university with the main campus distributed situated at the edge of Sheffield’s historical downtown; a few km away from the Peak District national park with direct train connections to London, Manchester and Leeds.

This research project is funded by the The Institute for Sustainable Food and The Grantham Centre for Sustainable futures at the University of Sheffield

The Institute for Sustainable Food is an interdisciplinary initiative which aims to address the global challenges of food security, improving the sustainability of the world’s future food supplies and encouraging more sustainable consumption.

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.

Funding Notes

We are recruiting Scholars who will combine outstanding intellect with a strong commitment to public engagement, leadership and action. These ambitious individuals will complete 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.

This project has duration of 3.5 years and students will receive an annual stipend of £15,099.

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Application process

For informal enquiries about this PhD scholarship contact: Dr. Marco Conte on [email protected] or on +44 114 222 9506.

Applications will be considered only if submitted to the University of Sheffield portal:

Applications should be received and completed by Tuesday 30th April 2019

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 29.20

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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