PhDs in Materials Science

Study for a PhD in the emerging field of Materials Science at a top ten UK University.

Develop your own PhD proposal

A student checks on the work of a 3D printer

Materials Science PhD

Our Materials Science PhD offers you an exciting opportunity to undertake and manage your own research project, gain valuable laboratory experience and forge important relationships in the professional sphere.

Areas of research fall within (but are not limited to) the diverse portfolio of our academic staff – chemistry, engineering, physics, health and medicine.

Materials Science PhD

Funded PhD Opportunities

Greater Innovation for Smarter Materials Optimisation (GISMO) PhDs

The Materials Science Institute, based at Lancaster University is an interdisciplinary institute tackling grand challenges in society and industry. The Institute has 9 fully-funded 3 year PhD studentships available to start in October 2020. The studentships are part of the £4.4m Greater Innovation for Smarter Materials Optimisation (GISMO) Project. GISMO is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and will engage over 250 innovative SMEs in the Cheshire and Warrington in the chemicals, aerospace, automotive, energy, applied healthcare, and life sciences sectors, solving industry-driven challenges through innovations in 'smart' materials.

Accordion

  • Catalytic processes to develop a circular hydrogen economy

    Launch your career in R&D with an industry-based three year funded PhD in new materials science, designing and delivering new, clean chemical technologies.

    Catalysis is estimated to be intimately involved in 60-80% of global GDP, and hydrogen is often used as a chemical commodity in GDP-relevant chemical transformations. However, the vast majority of the hydrogen used in this way is derived from non-sustainable sources. You will help to develop new, green methods to use hydrogen generated as a by-product of the energy industry in synthetic chemical processes, delivering simple and complex chemical matter of industrial, societal and medical relevance. This research project is part of a suite of industry-focused Materials Science Institute projects at Lancaster University. You will liaise closely with industry end-users, energy providers, and academic researchers, with the horizon target of designing and delivering new, clean chemical technologies as part of a fit-for-purpose sustainable circular hydrogen economy.

    Requirements

    Successful candidates will have a first- or upper-second class degree in chemistry or chemical engineering, with an interest in synthetic and catalytic processes.

    Why Apply?

    • Join a cohort of 9 PhDs and work in an exciting community of like-minded peers
    • Work directly with leading industry partners
    • Be mentored by internationally recognised researcher leaders
    • Work across various fields of materials science and gain extensive topic-specific training
    • Gain experience of modelling and problem solving for scientific and industrial applications
    • Help develop new products, processes and services
    • Build academic and industrial networks and have both a scientific and industrial impact with your research
    • Receive an enhanced stiped rate of £19,750 for two years then £17,600 for the final year
    • Gain a postgraduate qualification from a world-class university
    • Finish in a strong position to enter a competitive job market

    Funding

    The studentship for UK/EU citizens is fully funded with the first two years at an enhanced stiped rate of £19,750 and £17,600 in the final year of study.

    Application details

    To apply for this opportunity please apply by email to gismo@lancaster.ac.uk with the subject “GISMO: Catalytic Processes Hydrogen” and include:

    • A CV (2 pages maximum)
    • Cover letter
    • Contact details for 2 references
    • University grade transcripts

    Closing Date

    The closing date for applications is 6/4/2020, early submissions are encouraged.

    Contact Us

    For informal enquiries, applicants should contact Professor Joe Sweeney in the Chemistry Department.

  • Scalable methods for functionalisation of 2D materials for quantum security and green energy applications

    Launch your career in R&D with an industry-based three year funded PhD in new materials science, using quantum nanotechnology to develop new film materials

    Quantum nanotechnology is the exploitation and application of unique quantum effects which occur in very small structures such as enhanced optical emission, or quantised electrical or thermal transport. In most structures, practical quantum-enhanced effects are difficult to access due to either their size or temperature dependence.

    The aim of the project is to define the design parameters for a new class of highly functional quantum-enhanced thin-film materials which can operate in a wide variety of real-world environments. Comprising chemically functionalised 2-dimensional materials (2DM) such as graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides, these materials have applications such as thermoelectric energy generation or unique optical identities. This research project is part of a suite of industry-focused Materials Science Institute projects at Lancaster University.

    The project is predominately practical experimental work and will utilise the Physics Department’s nanomaterials fabrication capabilities and a world-class suite of characterisation facilities including the ultralow-noise IsoLab. Working with colleagues from chemistry, quantum theory, and industry partners you develop a new paradigm for the formation of ultrathin, flexible heterostructures by combining the chemistry of single-molecular electroactive systems and scalable deposition of 2DM.

    Requirements

    This is a highly interdisciplinary project operating at the interface of Physics, Chemistry and device engineering. The successful PhD candidate will demonstrate an excellent academic record in physics, materials science or a related area. Knowledge of nanomaterials or experience in either quantum transport, scanning probe microscopy and/or self-assembly of organic monolayers would be advantageous but not compulsory as full training in a wide variety of techniques will be given. The candidate is expected to successfully work as part of a team, with good inter-personal skills and to successfully complete research projects suitable for the award of a PhD in physics including publications in high impact peer-reviewed articles.

    Why Apply?

    • Join a cohort of 9 PhDs and work in an exciting community of like-minded peers
    • Work directly with leading industry partners
    • Be mentored by internationally recognised researcher leaders
    • Work across various fields of materials science and gain extensive topic-specific training
    • Gain experience of modelling and problem solving for scientific and industrial applications
    • Help develop new products, processes and services
    • Build academic and industrial networks and have both a scientific and industrial impact with your research
    • Receive an enhanced stiped rate of £19,750 for two years then £17,600 for the final year
    • Gain a postgraduate qualification from a world-class university
    • Finish in a strong position to enter a competitive job market

    Funding

    The studentship for UK /EU citizens is fully funded with the first two years at an enhanced stiped rate of £19,750 and £17,600 in the final year of study.

    Application details

    To apply for this opportunity please apply by email to gismo@lancaster.ac.uk with the subject “GISMO: Functionalisation of 2D materials ” and include:

    • A CV (2 pages maximum)
    • Cover letter
    • Contact details for 2 references
    • University grade transcripts

    Closing Date

    The closing date for applications is 6/4/2020, early submissions are encouraged.

    Contact Us

    For informal enquiries, applicants should contact Dr Ben Robinson or Professor Robert Young in the Physics Department.

  • Green Hydrogen as a key part of attaining Zero Carbon 2050

    Launch your career in R&D with an industry-based three year funded PhD in new materials science investigating green hydrogen

    Currently, green hydrogen is seen by most industry professionals as an indisputably essential part to fully decarbonise complex societies, but are unsure as to which direction its progress and development will take. The successful applicant will work on the development of a roadmap for investigating the role of green hydrogen as a key part of attaining Zero Carbon 2050 (UK Government, 2018). The project will consider economic viability, investment and regulation aspects.

    In terms of charting its potential course in the UK, three hydrogen challenges need to be considered:

    • Production - How is it produced? Consider and compare the methods from an energetic, economic and environmental perspective.
    • Distribution and Storage - Currently there is no distribution network for hydrogen, which is one of the main reasons for its current high cost.
    • Usage - How would it be used as fuel for transportation, energy storage, industry, heating?

    The research would consider what are the specific regulatory and infrastructure measures, and incentives, which need to be put in place in order for the price to be brought down viability by:

    1. Looking at the specific existing infrastructure – transportation, energy, industry, heating – of the UK. Mapping the future pathways in light of the challenges presented above.
    2. Looking at the other countries/regions (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, South Korea and California) which have already adopted hydrogen to some degree – what is their current methodology and what is their future strategy on policy, investment and regulation.

    Requirements

    Candidates should have a 1st class degree (or equivalent) in engineering, economics or chemistry or an equivalent field. The candidate should have interests in policy analysis, sociotechnical system dynamics and ideally experience with simulation modelling and energy conversation and storage systems, such as batteries, fuel cells and/or electrolysers. Good knowledge or experience in the hydrogen or equivalent industry would constitute a strong advantage.

    The research would involve lots of dialogue and connection with key industry players and companies throughout the UK and the world, in order to make it as accurate and relevant as possible. The ideal candidate will have a strong network in this area.

    This project will require a self-motivated and high performing candidate. The expectation is for a candidate with excellent interpersonal skills who will perform research work of high quality and publish their work in leading internationally-referred journals.

    Why Apply?

    • Join a cohort of 9 PhDs and work in an exciting community of like-minded peers
    • Work directly with leading industry partners
    • Be mentored by internationally recognised researcher leaders
    • Work across various fields of materials science and gain extensive topic-specific training
    • Gain experience of modelling and problem solving for scientific and industrial applications
    • Work towards attaining Zero Carbon 2050
    • Build academic and industrial networks and have both a scientific and industrial and environmental impact with your research
    • Receive an enhanced stiped rate of £19,750 for two years then £17,600 for the final year
    • Gain a postgraduate qualification from a world-class university
    • Finish in a strong position to enter a competitive job market

    Funding

    The studentship for UK /EU citizens is fully funded with the first two years at an enhanced stiped rate of £19,750 and £17,600 in the final year of study.

    Application details

    To apply for this opportunity please apply by email to gismo@lancaster.ac.uk with the subject “GISMO: Green Hydrogen” and include:

    • A CV (2 pages maximum)
    • Cover letter
    • Contact details for 2 references
    • University grade transcripts

    Closing Date

    The closing date for applications is 6/4/2020, early submissions are encouraged.

    Contact Us

    For informal enquiries, applicants should contact Dr Denes Csala in the Engineering Department or Professor Harry Hoster in the Chemistry Department.

  • Design of novel alloys and microstructures for additive manufacturing

    Launch your career in R&D with an industry-based three year funded PhD in new materials science designing new alloys

    There is a growing need from industry for developing new materials for additive manufacturing/3D Printing. Through this PhD project, you will explore the ability to compositionally tailor alloys for additive manufacturing, with a focus on powder bed laser technologies. Thermodynamic and kinetic principles will be employed to design alloys, which will subsequently be produced and processed. Applications aimed for include high-temperature alloys for aerospace, ultra-strong steels for tooling, medical implants and nuclear applications.

    Testing of novel components will include mechanical, corrosion and fatigue. The newly designed alloys and their build will thus be compared with wrought counterparts, and the technology transferred to members of our regional consortium.

    Requirements

    The minimum academic requirement for admission is an upper second class UK honours degree at the level of MSci, MEng, MPhys, MChem etc, or a lower second with a good Master's, (or overseas equivalents) in a relevant subject. Background in thermokinetics and physical metallurgy is required.

    Knowledge in crystal plasticity and dislocation theory is preferred. A good basis in computer programming is essential for the post. Excellent oral and written communication skills with the ability to prepare presentations, reports and journal papers to the highest levels of quality. Excellent interpersonal skill to work effectively in a multi-disciplinary project area of research.

    Why Apply?

    • Join a cohort of 9 PhDs and work in an exciting community of like-minded peers
    • Work directly with leading industry partners
    • Be mentored by internationally recognised researcher leaders
    • Work across various fields of materials science and gain extensive topic-specific training
    • Gain experience of modelling and problem solving for scientific and industrial applications
    • Help develop new products, processes and services
    • Build academic and industrial networks and have both a scientific and industrial impact with your research
    • Receive an enhanced stiped rate of £19,750 for two years then £17,600 for the final year
    • Gain a postgraduate qualification from a world-class university
    • Finish in a strong position to enter a competitive job market

    Funding

    The studentship for UK/EU citizens is fully funded with the first two years at an enhanced stiped rate of £19,750 and £17,600 in the final year of study.

    Application details

    To apply for this opportunity please apply by email to gismo@lancaster.ac.uk with the subject “GISMO: Novel Alloys and Microstructures” and include:

    • A CV (2 pages maximum)
    • Cover letter
    • Contact details for 2 references
    • University grade transcripts

    Closing Date

    The closing date for applications is 6/4/2020, early submissions are encouraged.

    Contact Us

    For informal enquiries, applicants should contact Professor Pedro Rivera in the Engineering Department.

  • Quantum molecular materials and plasma polymerisation for smart surfaces and green energy

    Launch your career in R&D with an industry-based three year funded PhD in new materials science, developing surface materials for green energy

    The aim of this project is to develop and exploit cutting edge functionalised surface materials for green energy technologies. Molecular surface coatings provide a fascinating playground for exploring and tuning electrical, catalytic, and even antimicrobial properties, with the promise of pioneering completely new fields of quantum technology and materials science.

    The project will address two main challenges:

    1. Fabrication of ordered, pristine functional molecular surface films retaining molecular quantum properties
    2. Development of new highly advanced methods for physical and chemical characterisation at the atomic scale.

    This will be achieved through step-by-step fabrication of atomically precise surface molecular structures through thin-film growth and plasma polymerisation, and incorporation with novel edge-functionalised 2D materials. Scanning probe methods, capable of imaging a single atom, will be applied to characterise the materials detailed atomic and electronic structure and will involve the development of a microscope capable of nm-IR chemical mapping.

    This work will take place in world-leading facilities including Lancaster’s Materials Science Institute, Quantum Technology Centre and the award-winning multimillion-pound IsoLab, providing some of the most advanced environments for characterisation in the world. You will get the opportunity to become trained in a broad range of state-of-the-art techniques. This includes advanced scanning probe microscopy methods capable of imaging single atoms and characterising nanoscale electronic and chemical properties, plasma polymerisation, x-ray spectroscopy, ultra-high vacuum and nano-fabrication.

    Requirements

    This PhD position will suit candidates with a background in Physics, Chemistry or Materials Science.

    Why Apply?

    • Join a cohort of 9 PhDs and work in an exciting community of like-minded peers
    • Work directly with leading industry partners
    • Be mentored by internationally recognised researcher leaders
    • Work across various fields of materials science and gain extensive topic-specific training
    • Gain experience of modelling and problem solving for scientific and industrial applications
    • Help develop new products, processes and services
    • Build academic and industrial networks and have both a scientific and industrial impact with your research
    • Receive an enhanced stiped rate of £19,750 for two years then £17,600 for the final year
    • Gain a postgraduate qualification from a world-class university
    • Finish in a strong position to enter a competitive job market

    Funding

    The studentship for UK /EU citizens is fully funded with the first two years at an enhanced stiped rate of £19,750 and £17,600 in the final year of study.

    Application details

    To apply for this opportunity please apply by email to gismo@lancaster.ac.uk with the subject “GISMO: Quantum Molecular Materials” and include:

    • A CV (2 pages maximum)
    • Cover letter
    • Contact details for 2 references
    • University grade transcripts

    Closing Date

    The closing date for applications is 6/4/2020, early submissions are encouraged.

    Contact Us

    For informal enquiries, applicants should contact Professor Rob Short in the Chemistry Department or Dr Samuel Jarvis in the Physics Department.

  • Understanding Biofilms: Plasma polymer coatings to control/ prevent biofilm formation and understanding the chemical pathway to their formation by spectroscopy

    Launch your career in R&D with an industry-based three year funded PhD in new materials science, researching biofilms for healthcare.

    Management of biofilms is critical for healthcare. In the context of severe burns, microbes are life-threatening, and with the rise of superbugs ie bugs that can resist antibiotics (known as antimicrobial resistance, AMR), novel approaches are required to prevent biofilms forming.

    The first component of this PhD project is to further our understanding of the chemical pathways of biofilm formation and their contribution to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) development.  Biofilms are a structured consortium of microbial cells encased in a matrix of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). As no current antimicrobial therapy can eradicate mature biofilms, it is therefore critical to know how these biofilms form – in order to develop strategies to prevent formation.

    A second objective, based upon the above, is to fabricate novel surface coatings that can resist biofilm formation.  The principal method for making coatings will be by a plasma (electrically-excited gas) technique. These films, known as plasma polymers, will either release nitric oxide (a key signalling molecule implicated in dispersing biofilms) or films that mimic nitric oxide.

    It is known that the strength of microbe adhesion is affected by surface roughness and by surface topographical features. We will, therefore, attempt to design topography into coatings. Nano and microscale features, such as micropillars, will be achieved through a range of chemical and physical techniques such as chemical and plasma etching and advanced manufacturing techniques including laser ablation and additive manufacturing. The topographies will be assessed using a new confocal microscope and SEM. The adhesion will be measured using pull-off and peel tests on biofilms and coatings using mechanical testers and bespoke rigs.

    Ultimately the project will provide novel coatings that can be applied to a wide range of materials, that would eventually include wound dressings in critical environments (e.g. in severe burns, operating theatres etc.) where infection must be avoided. Plasma coating will be achieved in an RF barrel reactor that the PhD will build and learn how to operate. The coatings will be analysed using the recent purchased £700,000 x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. In addition, Infrared and Raman micro-spectroscopy - combined with chemometric analysis will be used to understand the dynamics of EPS accumulation in biofilms in a 3D construct.

    Requirements

    This PhD position will suit candidates with a background in Engineering, Chemistry or Materials Science.

    Why Apply?

    • Join a cohort of 9 PhDs and work in an exciting community of like-minded peers
    • Work directly with leading industry partners
    • Be mentored by internationally recognised researcher leaders
    • Work across various fields of materials science and gain extensive topic-specific training
    • Gain experience of modelling and problem solving for scientific and industrial applications
    • Help develop new products, processes and services
    • Build academic and industrial networks and have both a scientific and industrial impact with your research
    • Receive an enhanced stiped rate of £19,750 for two years then £17,600 for the final year
    • Gain a postgraduate qualification from a world-class university
    • Finish in a strong position to enter a competitive job market

    Funding

    The studentship for UK /EU citizens is fully funded with the first two years at an enhanced stiped rate of £19,750 and £17,600 in the final year of study.

    Application details

    To apply for this opportunity please apply by email to gismo@lancaster.ac.uk with the subject “GISMO:  Understanding Biofilms” and include:

    • A CV (2 pages maximum)
    • Cover letter
    • Contact details for 2 references
    • University grade transcripts

    Closing Date

    The closing date for applications is 6/4/2020, early submissions are encouraged.

    Contact Us

    For informal enquiries, applicants should contact Professor Ihtesham Rehman or Dr David Cheneler in the Engineering Department.

  • Design, manufacture and evaluation of novel hybrid metallic structures manufactured by multi-material 3D printing

    Launch your career in R&D with an industry-based three year funded PhD in new materials science making novel structures using 3D Printing

    3D Printing has the potential to make massive environmental impacts, revolutionizing mass manufacturing, changing medicine and healthcare, transforming the home, and reaching disconnected markets worldwide.

    The PhD will use the latest dual-feed laser deposition process to create hybrid structures composed of different materials (for example metal-metal and metal-ceramic). The unique process combines the ability to use wire and powder feed to deposit different materials in different locations within a 3D build.  You will develop an understanding of how to design novel hybrid (smart) structures, control the process to achieve the target designs and verify their performance through simple physical and mechanical evaluations.  Designs will be informed in partnership with industry.

    Requirements

    Minimum of Upper Second Class MEng (Hons) or MSc in Mechanical / Manufacturing / Materials Engineering or similar technical discipline.

    Why Apply?

    • Join a cohort of 9 PhDs and work in an exciting community of like-minded peers
    • Work directly with leading industry partners
    • Be mentored by internationally recognised researcher leaders
    • Work across various fields of materials science and gain extensive topic-specific training
    • Gain experience of modelling and problem solving for scientific and industrial applications
    • Help develop new products, processes and services
    • Build academic and industrial networks and have both a scientific and industrial impact with your research
    • Receive an enhanced stiped rate of £19,750 for two years then £17,600 for the final year
    • Gain a postgraduate qualification from a world-class university
    • Finish in a strong position to enter a competitive job market

    Funding

    The studentship for UK /EU citizens is fully funded with the first two years at an enhanced stiped rate of £19,750 and £17,600 in the final year of study.

    Application details

    To apply for this opportunity please apply by email to gismo@lancaster.ac.uk with the subject “GISMO:  Novel Hybrid Metallic Structures” and include:

    • A CV (2 pages maximum)
    • Cover letter
    • Contact details for 2 references
    • University grade transcripts

    Closing Date

    The closing date for applications is 6/4/2020, early submissions are encouraged.

    Contact Us

    For informal enquiries, applicants should contact Professor Andrew Kennedy in the Engineering Department.