PhD Studentship: Multifunctional Polymer Membranes for Energy Applications

Imperial College London

Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD studentship available for immediate entry for a project investigating multifunctional microporous polymer membranes for energy applications, such as energy-efficient gas separation, and rechargeable battery for energy storage. The project will be supervised by Dr Qilei Song in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London.

Membranes are widely used for energy-efficient molecular-level separations, such as gas separation, water desalination, and also play a vital role in rechargeable batteries for energy conversion and storage. Polymer membranes with rapid and selective molecular and ion transport properties are attractive for these applications. Polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs) are a new class of porous organic polymer materials with high surface area and free volume owing to rigid and contorted macromolecular structures. The goal of this PhD project is to design, synthesize, and characterize PIM polymer membranes, and investigate the structure and properties of membranes by a range of characterization techniques and measurements including gas adsorption and permeation, water and solvent permeation, proton and ion conductivity, and ionic selectivity. Microporous polymers will also be fabricated as ion-selective membranes for redox flow battery and advanced lithium batteries for energy storage applications, and their electrochemical performance and mechanisms will be studied.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain) the equivalent of a UK first class or upper second class honors degree (and preferably a Masters degree) in chemistry, physics, chemical engineering, materials science, or other relevant field. They should be keen to perform interdisciplinary research, and learn some simple polymer synthesis, membrane science, and electrochemical energy storage. The project will involve collaborations with research groups at Imperial College, University of Edinburgh (Prof. N.B. McKeown), and University of Cambridge (Prof. C.P. Grey).

“Funding is available for UK citizens and EU citizens who have resided in the UK for the past three years. The studentship is for 3 years starting as soon as possible and will provide full coverage of tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend of approximately £16,296.”

This studentship is available to start on either 1 Jan 2017, 1 April 2017 or 1 Oct 2017. Applications submitted for a 1 Jan start will be reviewed in mid-November 2016 but if the position is unfilled other applications will be considered later for a start in April or Oct 2017. Preferred start date, January 2017. Candidates will be considered until the position is filled. 

Applications will be assessed as received and all applicants should follow the standard College application procedure (

To apply, please go to

Applications should include a personal statement, CV, detailed academic transcripts (including grades and marks), and contact details of two academic referees. Your personal statement should highlight your relevant experience and interests. Informal enquiries and requests for additional information for this post can be made to:  Dr Qilei Song by email at

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to Ms. Susi Underwood by email at

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