We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Please note that applicants are NOT required to express a preference at the point of application to join the CDT. For further information about PhD supervisors please visit supervisor websites.


Project Topics 2021 - Cohort 8

If there is further information connected to individual studentships click on the studentship title - highlighted in blue.

The following is a list of the projects that we anticipate being available. In the unlikely event that a project becomes unavailable it may be necessary to withdraw it from the list.

Prof Rosalind Allen and Dr Simon Titmuss (both University of Edinburgh)

Applying the principles of soft matter formulation to aid the search for new antibiotics

Dr Anders Aufderhorst-Roberts, Dr Kislon Voïtchovsky and Prof Ehmke Pohl (All Durham University)

Unpicking the Cellular Safety Belt: Structure-Mechanics Relations in Cytoskeletal Intermediate Filament Bundle Networks

Dr Matteo Degiacomi and Dr Chris Willcocks (both Durham University)

Machine learning for biomolecular assembly

Prof Lorna Dougan and Dr David Head (both University of Leeds)

Hierarchical biomechanics: towards a cross lengthscale understanding of folded protein-based hydrogels

Dr Clare Mahon (Durham University) with P&G

Biodegradable polymers for environmentally-friendly fabric care formulations

Dr Paul McGonigal (Durham University)

Synthetic Polymer Networks with Dynamic Topologies

Prof Glen McHale, Dr Gary Wells and Dr Rodrigo Ledesma-Aguilar (all University of Edinburgh)

Wetting of Metamaterial Surfaces

Dr John Royer and Dr Chris Ness (both University of Edinburgh)

Dense polydisperse suspensions – a matter of complexity

Prof Anwesha Sarkar, Dr Simon Connell and Prof Brent Murray (all University of Leeds) with PepsiCo

Nanomechanical properties of biocompatible particles: from bulk to interface

Dr Margarita Staykova, Dr Gary Sharples, Prof Tiago Moreira (all Durham University) and Prof Wilson Poon (University of Edinburgh)

Synthetic symbiosomes for living materials

Prof Jon Steed and Dr Sharon Cooper (both Durham University)

Universal platform for crystal polymorph discovery

Prof Jon Steed, Prof Mark Wilson and Dr Clare Mahon (all Durham University) with AstraZeneca

Understanding PROTACS (PROteolysis TArgeting Chimeras) as a new modality

Project Topics 2020 - Cohort 7

Dr Mike E Ries, Dr Peter J Hine, Prof Chris Carr and Dr Muriel Rigout (all University of Leeds)

Materials from Nature

Professor Daniel Read, Dr Johan Mattsson and Dr Costas Velis (all University of Leeds) – with Dow

Material evolution during repeated recycling of plastics

Professor Simon Connell and Dr Peter Adams (both University of Leeds)

Nanotechnology of fluorescent proteins in a lipid/polymer matrix: soft thin film materials for artificial photosynthesis

Dr Clare Mahon and Dr Richard Thompson (both Durham University)

Synthesis of well-defined biodegradable polymers and study of their materials properties

Professor Ed Llewellin and Dr Fabian Wadsworth (both Durham University) – with Rolls Royce

Volcanic ash in jet engines – bouncing, sticking, and spreading of molten glass droplets

Dr Jennifer Garden (University of Edinburgh) with Croda

Environmentally degradable soft/hard block copolymers

Dr Chris Prior (Durham University)

Developing statistical, topological and geometrical techniques for ab-initio protein structure prediction

Dr Davide Michieletto and Professor Alexander Morozov (both University of Edinburgh) – with Tilibit Nanosystems

Microrheology of DNA Origami

Professors Wilson Poon and Alex Lips (both University of Edinburgh) - with the Leverhulme Centre for Forensic Science, Dundee University

Dirty Linen: the forensic soft matter science of body fluids on fabric

Dr Beth Bromley, Prof. Kevin Weatherill, Dr. Matteo Degiacomi (all Durham University)

Listening to proteins with EARS: Enhanced Acoustic Raman spectroscopy of information flow across the interface between proteins and their environment

Dr Mark Miller (Durham University)

Dynamic percolation in composite materials

Dr Paul Thornton (University of Leeds) – with AstraZeneca

Highly-Functional Poly(amino acids) for Controlled Therapeutic Delivery

Dr Natasha Shirshova and Prof. Lian Hutchings (both Durham University)

Block copolymers to promote a bicontinuous morphology in epoxy/ionic liquid formulations during reaction-induced phase separation

Dr David Harbottle, Prof. Kevin Roberts, Dr. Robert Hammond (all Leeds University) – with Infineum

Dispersion Modelling of Polyaromatic Compounds

Professor Stefano Brandani (University of Edinburgh) – with Air Liquide

Characterisation of Nanoporous Materials Using Adsorption at Cryogenic Conditions

Dr John Sanderson (Durham University) – with GSK

Drug Stability in Soft Matter Systems

Dr John Royer and Dr Aidan Brown (both University of Edinburgh) - with Crover

A Robot that Swims Through Granular Materials

Dr Kislon Voitchovsky (Durham University) and Prof. Teuta Pilozota (University of Edinburgh) - hosted in Durham

Bio-inspired active nano-membranes

Dr Paul McGonigal (Durham University)

Polymeric Fluorescence Standards from Medium-Independent Emitters

Dr Matt Kitching (Durham University)
March of the Materials: Molecular walkers for dynamic responsive polymers

Project Topics 2019 - Cohort 6

If there is further information connected to individual studentships click on the studentship title-highlighted in blue.

Professor Wilson Poon and Dr John Royer (both University of Edinburgh) – with Solvay

High throughput characterization of suspensions

Dr Kislon Voitchovsky (Durham University) – with GSK

Nanorheology of Soft Interfaces

Dr Halim Kusumaatmaja (Durham University) - with Exxon

Wetting Dynamics of Three-Phase Systems on Textured Surfaces

Dr Matteo Degiacomi and Dr Mark Miller (both Durham University)

Machine learning molecular simulations with physical constraints

Professor Michael Rappolt (University of Leeds)

The Structuring Role of Water in Bio-Interfaces

Dr Margarita Staykova and Dr Halim Kusumaatmaja (both Durham University)

Towards Artificial Tissues

Dr Paul McGonigal and Dr Richard Thompson (both Durham University)

Control of Friction and Lubrication using Redox-Active Surface Monolayers

Dr Olivier Cayre and Dr Thomas Hughes (both University of Leeds)

Developing Impermeable Nanocapsules for Efficient Remote Delivery of Cytotoxic Drugs at Precise Locations

Dr Jennifer Garden (University of Edinburgh) – with DuPont Teijin Films

Sustainable Replacements for Conventional Polymers

Professor Davide Marenduzzo and Dr Michael Chen (both University of Edinburgh)

Molecular Simulation and Experimental Studies of Interactions between Nanoparticles and Biological Membranes

Professor Stefano Brandani and Dr Lev Sarkisov (both University of Edinburgh)

Water Adsorption for Characterisation of Nanoporous Materials

Dr John Sanderson (Durham University) – with GSK

Drug Stability in Soft Matter Systems

Dr Michael Ries and Dr Peter Hine (both University of Leeds) - with Futamura

Valorisation of waste materials

Professor Colin Bain (Durham University) - with Syngenta

Formulations for Crop Protection

Dr Oliver Cayre (University of Leeds) - with Borchers

Functional Particle Design for Value-Added Product Formulations

Dr Johan Mattsson and Dr Peter Hine (both University of Leeds) – with Victrex

Towards a Predictive Design of PAEK-based Polymers – From Fundamental Polymer Physics to Advanced Materials Applications

Dr Karen Johnston and Professor Lian Hutchings (both Durham University) – with DuPont Teijin Films

Exploring Polymer Electrolytes for use in Li-ion Batteries

Professor Karl Coleman (Durham University) - with Applied Graphene Materials

Graphene Nanocomposites and Coatings

Project Topics 2018 - Cohort 5

If there is further information connected to individual studentships click on the studentship title-highlighted in blue.
Dr James Walton (Durham University) - with Procter & Gamble
Physical Organic and Synthetic Chemistry of Silicone Polymers
Associate Professor David Harbottle, Dr Paul Thornton and Dr Thibaut Charpentier ( all University of Leeds) and Dr Helen Sarginson (Croda Europe ltd)
Stabalization of polyaromatic molecules by targeted polymeric dispersants.
Dr Mathew Horrocks and Dr Marc Vendrell (both University of Edinburgh)
Super-resolution microscopy probes for neurodegenerative disorders
Dr John Royer and Professor Wilson Poon (both University of Edinburgh)
Local stresses in Dense Suspensions
Dr John Bothwell (Durham University)
Antibody characterization of complex biological polymers
Professor Lian Hutchings (Durham University)
A Sustainable Approach to Breathe New Life into Living Anionic Polymerization - The Synthesis of Functional Polyterpenes
Dr Sharon Cooper (Durham University)
Improved nanomaterials for heterogeneous catalysis via separation of nucleation and crystal growth processes
Dr Matthew Kitching (Durham University)
Spatial and Temporal Control of Chemical Reactivity through Dynamic Compartmentalization
Dr Jennifer Garden (University of Edinburgh)
New Routes to Catalytically Convert CO2 to Polyurethanes ( contact Dr Jennifer Garden for more information: )
Dr Olivier Cayre, Dr Nicholas Warren and Professor Elwyn Isaac (all University of Leeds)
Using precision polymerization techniques to develop novel carriers for enhanced delivery of bioinsecticides
Dr Rammile Ettelaie and Professor Brent S. Murray (both Umiversity of Leeds) - with Unilever
In silico design of plant-based replacements of animal proteins fro superior colloidal action
Professor Colin Bain (Durham University) and Professor Andrew Bayly (University of Leeds)
Printing of complex fluids
Dr Russell Taylor (Durham University)
Monomers for biodegradable plastics - green production by heterogeneous catalysts
Dr Beth Bromely and Dr Kevin Weatherill (both Durham University)
Enhanced Acoustic Raman Spectroscopy (EARS) of self-organising biomimetic molecules.
Dr Aidan Brown (University of Edinburgh) - with Fixed Phage
Using Viruses to Kill Bacteria.
Profesor Helen Gleeson, Professor Steve Evans and Professor Richard Bushby (all University of Leeds) - with Merck
Novel Liquid Crystal Droplets for Detecting Toxins.
Dr David Head and Dr Lorna Dougan (both University of Leeds)
Determining rational design principles for biopolymer hydrogels.
Dr Paul McGonigal (Durham University)
Manipulating Interactions across Lipid Membranes.
Dr Mamatha Nagaraj and Dr Johan Mattsson (both University of Leeds) - with Merck
Liquid Crystalline Soft Photonic Materials for Multimodal Optics.
Professor Suzanne Fielding (Durham University)
Instability and chaos in complex matter.
Dr Dipa Roy and Professor Vasileios Koutsos (both University of Edinburgh)
Enhancing interlaminar toughness and electrical conductivity in multifunctional composites: Understanding the interface.
Professor Wilson Poon (Univesity of Edinburgh) and Dr Margarita Staykova (Durham University)
Living materials made of bacteria and lipid membranes.
Dr Mike Ries, Dr Peter Hine, Professor Chris Carr and Dr Muriel Rigout (all University of Leeds)
All Cellulose and All Keratin Composites.
Dr Anwesha Sarkar, Dr Rammile Ettelaie, Dr Mel Holmes and Professor Alan Mackie (all University of Leeds)
Kinetics of lipid digestion of Pickering emulsions: Theory and Experimental Approaches.
Dr Gary Sharples and Dr Robert Pal (both Durham University)
Novel phage-encoded disruptors of bacterial cell division.
Dr Margarita Staykova and Dr Kislon Voitchovsky (both Durham University) - with GSK
Mechanics of Skin
Dr Richard Thompson (Durham University) - with STFC ISIS
Nanoscale surface segregation in flowing polymers