ReNU PhD Studentship in Closing the Carbon Loop with Biomass-waste Derived Carbon Nanodots

Job Overview

Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Job Type
Full Time
Date Posted
1 month ago

Additional Details

Job ID
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Job Description

Newcastle University

Qualification Type:PhD
Location:Newcastle upon Tyne
Funding for:UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount:Refer to advert
Hours:Full Time
Placed On:23rd November 2020
Closes:24th January 2021

Value of award: 100% of home tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,285. Successful international candidates may be required to make up the difference between the home and international fees.
Start date and duration: September 2021 for 4 years.
Application closing date : 24 January 2021.


The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU) is a collaborative doctoral training programme run by the Universities of Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham. Doctoral candidates will engage with added value training opportunities for example in business, innovation and internationalisation through a 4-year training programme that has been designed to maximise the benefits of a cohort approach to doctoral training.

This project takes a clean technology approach to produce sustainable fuels and feedstocks from carbon dioxide using sunlight (“artificial photosynthesis”). Carbon nanodots, derived from biomass waste, have remarkable optical and electronic properties. We will use their strong, tunable luminescence to produce a printable solar concentrator, which will enhance and direct sunlight towards a photocatalytic reactor for CO2 reduction to CO and formate. We will use scalable processing methods (3D printing and slot die coating) to prepare the waveguides and maximise the optical properties. This enhancement of light is necessary to overcome the thermodynamic and kinetic problems associated with CO2 reduction and increase the efficiency beyond what can be achieved by natural photosynthesis.

The project combines chemistry, chemical engineering, nanoscience, photophysics and catalysis. The surface of the carbon dots will be functionalised to improve their fluorescent properties, and the structure of the photocatalysts will be modified to improve the selectivity and solar to fuel efficiency. The system contributes to the circular economy of carbon, by converting waste back into fuels and high-value chemicals.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr Anh Phan (Newcastle University), Dr Elizabeth A. Gibson (Newcastle University) with Shahid Rasul (Northumbria University), Neil Beattie (Northumbria University)

Eligibility Criteria

  • Academic excellence 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Academic excellence in an appropriate subject area relevant to proposed project.
  • If English is not your first language, you must have IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)

Home and International students (Inc. EU) are welcome to apply. We have a limited number of International awards available, and applicants may be required to provide additional fees not covered by the UKRI Home fee contribution. Further information will be provided at application stage.

How to Apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system.

  • Insert the programme code 8208Fin the programme of study section
  • Attach a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words and include the advert reference number.
  • Attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.


For further information please email [email protected]

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