PhD Studentship - Energy Harvest 2.0

Aston University - Engineering and Applied Science - Studentships

Contract Type: Fixed Term (for 3 years)

Closing Date: 23.59 hours BST on Wednesday 4th October 2017

Interview Date: To be confirmed

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 at Aston University. The successful applicant will join an established experimental group working on bio-energy and catalysis.

The position is available to start on 1st January 2018 (subject to negotiation)

Financial Support
This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home/EU fees rate plus a maintenance allowance of £14,553 in 2017/18.

Overseas Applicants:
Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees, currently this is £12,005 in 2017/18.

As part of the application you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or, secured this additional funding.

Background of the Project
The Energy Harvest project was established to work with farming communities in rural India to bring an end to open field burning, utilising the waste crop residue for energy generation; through doing so improving the lives of local people. With the support of the Oglesby Charitable Trust we have made significant progress over the past years, processing wheat and rice straw though pyrolysis.
The main product of the pyrolysis process is the liquid product, also known as bio-oil or bio-crude oil. The bio-oil is highly oxygenated and has few adverse properties. In order to make it a robust transportation fuel we are proposing few novel approaches, which can make it a competitive world energy carrier.

To improve the quality of the bio-oil, it requires upgrading that can be carried out at the various stages of the pyrolysis process. The main scope of this project is to explore various upgrading routes of the feedstock, in-situ and ex-situ of the bio-crudes in a three-year program in cooperation with national and international organisations.

More information can be obtained during the interview, if the candidate is shortlisted.

The work is supported by the Oglesby Charitable Trust, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Petroleum (Prof. Bhaskar) and Dr. Philip Davies (Mechanical Engineering).

Person Specification
The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in chemistry or chemical engineering. Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of Catalysis and Bio-energy (particularly pyrolysis).

For informal enquiries about this project and other opportunities within the European Bioenergy Research Institute, contact Dr Lorena Falco; If you require further information about the application process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at

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

Applications must also be accompanied by a motivation letter, explaining how your knowledge and experience will benefit the project (max 2 pages).

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

Closing Date: 4th October 2017 (Interview dates will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates)

Further particulars and application forms are available in alternative formats on request i.e. large print, Braille, tape or CD Rom.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact HR via

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