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Durham University

Research & business


New PhD opportunities in science and engineering

(5 February 2019)

Smart surfaces, recyclable plastics and new medicines are some of the subjects students will be able to study and research, thanks to a £5.3 million funding boost.

Applications are now open for students to start PhDs in September this year, within the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Soft Matter for Formulation and Industrial Innovation (SOFI2 CDT), led by Durham University.

Training programme

Our CDT students will learn about all aspects of soft matter through team-working on challenges set by industry partners, receive extensive skills training in areas such as public communication, and complete a mini-MBA. They will also have the opportunity to spend three months on an overseas placement.

The studentships are part of a joint programme with the Universities of Leeds and Edinburgh, alongside companies such as GSK, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble.

Research opportunities

Soft matter affects almost every aspect of human activity: what we eat, what we wear, the cars we drive, the medicines we take, and what we use to keep clean and healthy.

It also has a role in many industrial processes such as in digital manufacturing, regenerative medicine and personalised product design.

Our PhD students will discover how to design, characterise, manufacture and deploy soft materials with applications from foods to detergents, medicines to skin creams, paints to engine oils, textiles to TV screens.

The £5.3 million funding has been awarded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) with additional funding from industry partners.

PhD student experience

Previous PhD students within the doctoral training centre have gone on to work in industry and academia, both in the North East and further afield, including within Mondelez International (the company that makes Cadbury’s Chocolate) and the Durham-based Centre for Process Innovation.

For example, Axa Pineiro Romero carried out research into how agrochemical sprays dry on leaf surfaces which involved working with Nouryon, formerly known as AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, and spending four months in Sweden. She now works at Domino Printing Sciences in Cambridge.

Three other centres of doctoral training that involve Durham University have also received funding bringing further postgraduate study opportunities to the North East.

Find out more