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PhD Studentship in Advanced Membranes for Renewable Energy Conversion and Storage

Imperial College London

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £16,553 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 1st February 2019
Closes: 1st April 2019

Applications are invited for a 3.5-year PhD studentship for a project investigating advanced membrane materials for energy conversion and storage. The PhD research will be mainly based in the Barrer Centre in Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London. The Barrer Centre is a world-leading centre with well-equipped facility that support cutting-edge research in membrane technology for energy and environmental applications. The PhD project will be mainly performed in the dynamic interdisciplinary research group of Functional Membrane and Energy Materials led by Dr Qilei Song. The group has strong expertise in research and development of membrane materials for emerging energy applications. Recent publications include: Nature Energy, 2, 17086 (2017); Nature Materials 15, 760–767 (2016); Nature Communications, 2013, 4, 1918. The project will involve close collaborations with Prof. Neil McKeown at University of Edinburgh, Prof. Clare Grey at University of Cambridge, and several research groups at Imperial College and other UK universities with experimental and modelling expertise, as well as partners in the UK Energy Superstore research hub, and CAM-IES research centre. The project will provide access to cutting-edge equipment and advanced materials characterization facilities at several UK universities.  


With the rapid development of renewable energy such as solar and wind power, energy conversion and storage technologies are in urgent need for storing and integrate the low-carbon energy into the power grid. Rechargeable flow batteries, fuel cells, electrolyser, and novel (photo)electrochemical processes, hold great promise for solving these challenges. Membrane separators are crucial components in these electrochemical devices and low-cost high-performance polymer membranes are highly desirable for large-scale applications. The goal of this PhD project is to synthesize and characterize new ion-transport polymer membranes and investigate the structure and properties of membranes by a range of characterization techniques, and ultimately to establish the structure-property-function relationship. The membranes will be tested in a range of energy conversion and storage devices, particuarly fuel cells, electrochemical cells, and redox flow batteries. The electrochemical performance and ion transport mechanisms of membranes will be studied. 

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain) the equivalent of a UK first class or upper second-class honours degree (and preferably a Master’s degree) in chemistry, materials science, physics, chemical engineering, or other relevant fields. They should be keen to perform interdisciplinary research.

This studentship is available to start from 1 Oct 2019. Applications should be made through the College’s online application system. Important information about the College’s PhD application process can be found on the following page:

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 the supervisor: Dr Qilei Song by email at

This PhD studentship is open to UK home students or non-UK students who have settled status in UK or were ordinarily residing in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the studentship. The studentship is for 3 years and will provide full coverage of tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend of approximately £16,553, followed by 6 months of stipend to support write-up.

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