PhD Studentship: Novel Catalytic Hydrothermal Process for Valorisation of Biorefinery Lignin

Aston University - School of Engineering and Applied Science

(3 years)

Applications are invited for a three year Postgraduate studentship, supported by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, to be undertaken within the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) at Aston University. The successful applicant will join an established experimental group working on catalytic process design for bioenergy. 

The position is available to start in April or July 2017 (subject to negotiation).

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home/EU fees rate plus a maintenance allowance of £15,850 in the 2016/17 academic year.  This application is only available to Home/EU students.

Background of the Project

With global supplies of readily available fossil fuels dwindling, there is an urgent need to understand the principles governing the production of ‘drop-in’ alternative fuels and chemicals from suitable sustainable resources. Biomass is considered as the best sustainable resource due to its vast abundance and potential for yielding chemicals and fuels with similar properties to those obtained currently from non-renewable resources.  This is critical to ensure that the impending transition to a global low-carbon economy is compatible with existing technologies adopted by modern society, and hence minimising changes to current lifestyles. The goal of the studentship is to undertake fundamental research on the development and application of multifunctional earth abundant catalysts for the conversion of lignin-rich residues from lignocellulosic biorefineries into aromatic chemicals, with a view to modelling and designing a commercial process.

This studentship is offered under the auspices of the Midlands Energy Research Accelerator collaboration ( and some components of research training may be provided by the partner institutions.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in Chemical Engineering. Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of catalysis, process modelling, catalytic process design, thermochemical processing of biomass and biomass model compound. 

We would particularly like to encourage applications from women seeking to progress their academic careers.  Aston University is committed to the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter, recognised recently by a prestigious Silver Award to EAS, and we pride ourselves on our vibrant, friendly and supportive working environment and family atmosphere.

For initial enquiries about this project prior to application and other opportunities within the EBRI, contact Dr Jude Onwudili by email;

The online application form, reference forms and details of entry requirements, including English language are available here.

Applications must also be accompanied by a research proposal giving an overview of the main themes of the research, and explaining how your knowledge and experience will benefit the project.

Details of how to write your project proposal are also included in the How to Apply section.

Closing Date: 13th February 2017

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:



Midlands of England