Develop your own self-funded PhD proposal
If you have your own research idea, we can help you to develop it. To begin this process you will need to find a PhD Supervisor from one of our research groups, whose research interests align with your own.
We offer a range of PhDs funded by different sources, such as research councils, industries or charities.
As a PhD student, you will become a valued member of a research group. Here you will work with internationally respected academics, post-doctoral research associates and technicians.
To apply for a funded PhD, please read the advertised project information carefully as requirements will vary between funders. The project information will include details of funding eligibility, application deadline dates and links to application forms. We will only consider applicants who have a relevant background and meet the funding criteria.
Modern society faces a plastic waste crisis, coupled with the urgent need to reduce our dependence on oil and gas. In tandem, the last decade has seen the design of ever ‘smarter’ and more functional materials and global demand for these materials is growing.
The appealing properties of plastics (flexibility, durability, elasticity, high strength-to-weight ratio) are often a result of their structural complexity. There is a limit to the variety of properties that can be obtained from a homopolymer (a polymer made from one type of monomer). Combination of two or more monomers gives access to materials with properties intermediate between the constituent homopolymers; the type of copolymer (block, alternating, random) influences the available property range. Block copolymers consist of linked homopolymers and enable the properties of the homopolymers to be combined in the new material. However, traditional synthetic methods to make these copolymers can require multiple reaction steps and purifications.
This project is lead by Dr Rachel Platel. Research in the Platel Group centres on the synthesis of biodegradable polymeric materials and materials from renewable feedstocks.
A 3.5 year EPSRC DTP funded PhD position is available in the Chemistry Department at Lancaster University, focussed on the synthesis of biodegradable copolymers with defined sequences and their one-pot synthesis from a mixture of monomers. Constructing sequenced polymers usually involves multiple reaction steps and labour-intensive purifications. Building on recent work, we aim to assemble of a variety of polymer structures in one-step, with a single catalyst, starting from mixtures of monomers. We will also explore the underlying reaction mechanisms.
During the project you will receive training in ligand and metal complex design and synthesis, and polymer synthesis, including the manipulation of air and moisture sensitive reagents using Schlenk and glovebox techniques. You will use a range of molecular characterisation techniques (NMR and IR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and X-ray crystallography) as well as techniques for polymer characterisation (gel-permeation chromatography, differential scanning calorimetry, MALDI-ToF mass spectrometry, thermogravimetric analysis).
Applicants will hold, or expect to receive, a 1st class or 2:1 UK Master's or BSc degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry or a closely related subject and possess theoretical and practical skills commensurate with a science-based undergraduate degree programme. Candidates with a 2:2 may be considered if they can demonstrate excellent research skills in their application and references.
The successful candidate will demonstrate a strong interest in catalysis and/or the synthesis and characterisation of polymers. They will enjoy working in a laboratory environment, have a willingness to learn, a collaborative attitude and excellent written and oral communication skills in English.
How to apply (Please read carefully)
Dr Rachel Platel welcomes informal email enquiries before submitting an application (email@example.com). Please note that we cannot receive applications by email as they must be processed centrally.
Applications should be made via Lancaster University’s online application system
Please indicate on your application that you are applying for this funded PhD project by declaring the title of the advertisement where prompted. You may use the project description as your research proposal to apply for this studentship.
The studentship will cover fees at the UK or International rate plus the standard maintenance stipend (£17,600 per year tax free in 2022/23).
The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation offers a range of funded PhD opportunities in a wide range of sciences, including Chemistry, Biochemistry, Natural Sciences and more. The Centre was established in 2012 based on the University’s pioneering decision to place its world-class environmental research at the heart of driving innovation for clean and sustainable growth.Graduate Researchers