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PhD - Creating Biodegradable Polymers With Accelerated Degradation Rates

University of Birmingham - School of Metallurgy & Materials

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 12th June 2024
Closes: 22nd June 2024

Applications are invited for a funded PhD studentship, jointly supervised by Prof Andrew Dove (School of Chemistry) and Dr Mike Jenkins (School of Metallurgy and Materials) at the University of Birmingham. The project is focussed on creating biodegradable polymers that display enhanced degradation rates, in comparison to the leading current materials. Project overview This PhD position is linked to the EPSRC & BBSRC funded project “Developing a Circular Economy for Medical Testing Plastics” (EP/Y004027/1) and is closely aligned to a work package that seeks to enhance biodegradation rates in leading biodegradable materials that are slow to degrade in composting facilities (and in the environment). To address this, we will work with state-of -the-art biodegradable polymers alongside an industrial collaborator (Aquapak Ltd) to apply their proprietary poly(vinyl alcohol)-based materials to deliver large-scale biodegradable polymers with enhanced degradation in industrial composting facilities and the environment. This will primarily be achieved through polymer modification and blending to enable them to exhibit microstructures that promote the degradation process. The project will involve manipulation of polymers as well as their thermal, mechanical and microstructural characterisation as well as study of their degradation behaviour, benchmarked against leading biodegradable plastics.

Candidate requirements and application process:
The successful applicant will be highly motivated, ambitious and enthusiastic. They will also possess excellent oral and written communication skills. The project is open to graduates from either Chemistry or Materials Science (with a minimum degree classification of a 2:1).

Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Mike Jenkins (m.j.jenkins@bham.ac.uk). Formal applications should then be made via the University of Birmingham online application portal: https://sits.bham.ac.uk/lpages/EPS024.htm.

Funding notes:
The studentship is funded for a duration of 3.5 years and includes a stipend at the standard UK research council rate and covers of the full cost of Home (UK) tuition fees. Please note that, due to funding restrictions, only those eligible for UK home fees status may apply.

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