Industrial CASE PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: Data-driven modelling of glass durability and glass pouring rate in nuclear waste vitrification process

Newcastle University

Value of award

100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria), and an annual stipend £14,296 (2016/17). A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

Number of awards


Start date and duration

January 2017 for up to 4 years.

Application closing date

Prompt application is advised as this position is only available until a suitable candidate is found.


The studentship is being jointly undertaken by Newcastle University and Sellafield Ltd under the EPSRC Industrial CASE award scheme.

The Waste Vitrification Plant (WVP) operated by Sellafield Ltd is used to convert highly active concentrate liquor arising as a waste product of reprocessing operations into High Level Waste (HLW) glass for safe interim storage in the Vitrified Product Store.

The purpose of this study is to understand the long term chemical behaviour of HLW in a geological disposal environment through data driven modelling and analysis. The relationship between the feed compositions and the leach rate will be modelled and the developed model will be used to analyse the effect of feed compositions on leach rate and design potential new glass formulations. Computational intelligence based modelling methods and big data analytics, such as bootstrap aggregated neural networks and deep learning techniques, will be investigated. Techniques for enhancing model robustness and reliability will be developed. Hybrid modelling combining mechanistic modelling and data driven modelling will be investigated.


Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council EPSRC

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr Jie Zhang, School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials

Eligibility Criteria

You should have an upper-second-class Honours degree or higher, in Chemical Engineering, or a related subject.

The award is available to UK/EU applicants. If English is not your first language, you should have IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

You must also have the potential for performing original research.

How to apply

If you are interested in the above project and meet the criteria you should email a CV, covering letter plus two references to Dr Zhang.

The successful applicant will then be asked to apply for University admission using the University’s online postgraduate application form.  Unsuccessful applications will not receive an acknowledgement.

  • Insert the program code 8030F in the program of study section
  • Select ‘PhD School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials - Chemical Engineering' as the programme of study
  • Insert the studentship code CE054 in the studentship/partnership reference
  • Attach a covering letter and C.V. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code CE054 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
  • Attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.


Dr Jie Zhang
School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials
Telephone +44 (0)191 208 7240

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Northern England