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PhD Studentship - Building Resilience into Graphene Oxide based Nanofiltration Membranes

Durham University - Chemistry

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Durham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 7th June 2019
Closes: 31st August 2019

Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD student to work within the Department of Chemistry at Durham University and at the industrial sponsor G2O Water Technologies Limited (Sedgefield) on Building Resilience into Graphene Oxide based Nanofiltration Membranes. Since the emergence of graphene based materials, and the discovery of their exceptional electronic, thermal and mechanical properties a host of potential applications have been proposed and in some cases technologies demonstrated. One exciting and practical application is in water filtration, but while exceptional performance has been demonstrated on a lab scale, significant challenges remain to turn this into a viable, valuable technology for water remediation. In particular the evolution of the graphene-oxide structure in use, that is key to device performance, needs to be better understood in order to be controlled.

The aim of this project is to improve our understanding of graphene-oxide structural evolution and how to control this process. Success will enable a new generation of water filtration products with the potential for global impact in water remediation.

The project will take the form of an industrially supported studentship with the student primarily based at Durham University, whilst also working for industrial placement periods with G2O throughout the PhD. The academic supervisory team is Dr. Richard Thompson (Dept of Chemistry), Prof Lian Hutchings (Chemistry) and Dr. Mujeeb Chaudhry (Engineering). The industrial supervisors are Dr. Kangsheng Liu and Dr. David Pears. This project presents an excellent opportunity for a candidate interested in an applied research career, comprising both academic and industrial placement elements within a 3 year funded study programme.

G2O Water Technologies Ltd is at the forefront graphene oxide - enhanced filtration technologies; engineering the benefits of graphene-based filtration into existing membrane filtration technologies. The company provides innovations to provide clean safe water, to support growing global demand.

Entry requirements: The successful applicant should hold at least a 2:1 degree in chemistry or natural sciences (preferably M.Chem or M.Sci) with a strong ability in experimental materials characterisation and modification. She or he should have excellent written and oral communication skills and be able to make use of the existing scientific literature in this field to identify new opportunities as they arise. A high level of numeracy and passion for science research are essential. A good understanding of surface chemistry, scattering techniques, and spectroscopy are very desirable. Full training will be provided. It is likely that the research programme will benefit from use of national and international research facilities (ISIS, ILL, Diamond); therefore the successful candidate should be prepared to travel to participate in experiments and conferences as the project progresses.

Eligibility: This studentship is supported through the Intensive Industrial Innovation Programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. (Funding is not dependent on any outcome of Brexit). The funds are available over 3 years and are available to cover tuition fees and a stipend in the form of a tax-free subsistence bursary in line with RCUK recommendations. Applicants from outside the UK/EU are not eligible for this award unless they are able to self-fund the difference between UK/EU domestic fees and international fees.

How to apply: Applicants can make initial informal enquiries to Dr. Richard Thompson (

If you meet the eligibility criteria, please make an application via the university applications page.

Deadline for applications: 31 August 2019.

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