PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: Developing Stable Functional Head Group for Anion Exchange Membranes

Newcastle University

Value of award: Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, 100% tuition fees at the international students fees (if applicable otherwise UK/EU) and an annual stipend of £14,296 (2016/17). 
Number of awards: 1
Start date and duration: January or April 2017 for 3 years.
Application closing date: Prompt application is advised as this position is only available until a suitable candidate is found. No applications will be considered after 31 December 2016.


Electrochemistry is the ideal choice for energy storage and one of the most promising solutions is in the form of hydrogen (electrolyser and fuel cells). The cost of most of the current state of the art electrolysers and fuel cells are still uncompetitive for a large scale commercialization due to the reliability on precious metal catalyst (Pt, Ir) particularly proton exchange membrane (PEMFCs) technology.

Alkaline Anion exchange membrane (AAEM) based fuel cells and electrolysers allow the use of non-precious metal catalyst effectively and have demonstrated comparable performance to that of PEMFCs.

The (AAEM) electrolyte stability remains the major challenge for the technology particularly the most commonly used quarterly ammonium head group in terms of nucleophilic substitution /elimination, ylide formation and  most importantly oxidation i.e. lack of stability under oxygen (reacting with oxygen to form radicals and peroxides which in return accelerate degradation).

This PhD project will focus on developing new cationic head group that can allow hydroxide ion mobility (anion exchange) and be stable in oxygen rich environment.


Newcastle University, SAGE Research Excellence Award

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr M Mamlouk, School of Chemical Engineering

Eligibility Criteria

You should have at least upper-second-class Honours degree or international equivalent, in Chemistry, materials science, Polymer science, chemical Engineering or a related subject.

If English is not your first language, you should have IELTS 6.5 or equivalent

Previous research experience in electrochemistry, membranes or materials for energy applications is essential and candidates are expected to have at least one publication in their respective field.

How to apply

If you are interested in the above project and meet the criteria you should send a C.V, covering letter plus two references to

If you are then successful you will be required to apply formally through the online postgraduate application form (details of which are below for information): Unsuccessful applications might 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 CE056 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 CE056 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.


Please email Dr Mohamed Mamlouk for further information.

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