Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies

EPSRC logoAbout the programme

We welcome applications from graduates of a wide variety of science and engineering disciplines who already have, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second class honours degree and have a strong interest in sustainable technologies.


How to apply

Applications are now open for the 2018 intake to the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Chemical Technologies. Apply early as the application process is quite competitive.


The Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Sustainable Chemical Technologies places fundamental concepts of sustainability at the core of research, training and outreach in applied chemical sciences

— Professor Matthew Davidson, Director, Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies

All students in the Centre receive foundation training to supplement their undergraduate knowledge, as well as training in sustainable chemical technologies and transferable skills. All will conduct high quality, challenging, truly interdisciplinary research directed by supervisors from a number of departments, including Biology & Biochemistry, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Pharmacy & Pharmacology and Physics.

If you need further information or would like to know how you can become involved in the Centre, either as a student or a partner, please do not hesitate to email us at csct@bath.ac.uk, or telephone 01225 385820.

Get more information on how to apply

See also:

Why study with us?

Practical & relevant research

Studying with us gives you the opportunity to contribute to technologies which are making a real difference to the world today. The centre focusses on the core areas of molecules, materials and processes to find practical ways of reducing environmental impact, developing cleaner energy sources, reducing reliance on rare elements and much more.

Interdisciplinary research

As a student in the Centre, your research will cross the boundary between traditional subject areas and may draw on elements of many disciplines, from biology to mechanical engineering. This interdisciplinary approach enables us to follow all the way through from new molecules to industrial applications.

We are looking for talented candidates from a broad range of scientific backgrounds with an interest in sustainability, not just chemists and chemical engineers.

Industrial and international collaboration

Each doctoral research project within the centre has, alongside the academic supervisor, an external supervisor from one of the many commercial companies and world-class academic institutions with which we are partnered.

These partners will provide valuable input and support to your project, and also offer placements where you can place your research in a wider industrial or international context.


In that first year you will conduct two short research projects from the wide range available, reflecting the Centre’s diverse research portfolio. This will allow you to “try out” more than one research area and supervisor before committing to your final PhD project.

Be part of a group

Traditional PhD programmes can be very isolating, but being part of a Centre for Doctoral Training is very different. You will study as part of a cohort of around 12 other students from a range of backgrounds and a shared interest in sustainable science and engineering. The Centre also has a strong social scene, with the existing students organising regular events.

More than just a PhD

Our doctoral programme is a four-year course, with the first year focusing on preparing for your main research in the remaining three. At the end of the first year, you will graduate with an MRes in Sustainable Chemical Technologies, providing evidence to future employers of your strong research and transferrable skills.

You will receive training and development opportunities in technical and research skills, as well as the wider commercial and societal aspects of sustainability, including environmental management and public engagement.

Great environment

We have a spacious open-plan office providing space for all first-year students and hot-desking for all other students. This office, along with our comfortable modern meeting room, is located in the Department of Chemistry’s main research building on the beautiful University of Bath campus.

Find out more about studying at Bath

Fully funded scholarships

Each year we award up to 12 fully-funded studentships to eligible candidates, including:

  • an annual stipend;
  • home/EU fees;
  • a laptop computer;
  • a generous consumables allowance;
  • additional funding to undertake a 3-month internship in the UK or abroad;
  • and an annual travel allowance to attend UK and international meetings.


These studentships are aimed at graduates of Science and Engineering disciplines (including biology, biochemistry, chemistry, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics, mechanical engineering and physics) who already have, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second class honours degree, and who have an interest in sustainable technologies.

Our main studentships are subject to the EPSRC student eligibility guidelines, but we can often find funding for excellent students who do not meet those criteria.

We often have a number of project-specific studentships available.

Substantial bursaries may be available, on a competitive basis, for a small number of international students with guaranteed funding from national scholarship schemes - details of the scheme and proof of funding are required.

All applicants are subject to the University of Bath's standard entry requirements.

What's funded?

Fully-funded EPSRC CDT studentships cover Home/EU fees and provide an annual stipend. Other levels of funding are available, including full and partial fee waivers.

Once registered, all CDT students will receive a laptop computer, a generous consumables allowance, additional funding to undertake a 3-month internship in the UK or abroad, and an annual travel allowance to attend UK and international meetings.

Course information

General structure

The Integrated PhD in Sustainable Chemical Technologies is a 4-year research degree, split into two main parts:

  • Year 1 consists of two small research projects with different research groups within the centre, combined with training in technical aspects of Sustainable Chemical Technologies as well as transferrable skills and business and societal aspects of sustainability;
  • Years 2-4 focus primarily on the main PhD project, with some advanced training courses and a range of ongoing supporting activities.

Approximately 75% of your time will be spent on high-quality, interdisciplinary research, with around 15% specialist training in sustainability concepts and 10% transferrable skills training.

DTC Course Structure


In the first year, you will undertake two distinct research projects, one of which will usually (but not always) lead directly into a PhD project. You may defer your final choice of PhD project and supervisor until the end of Year 1 at which point all projects will be confirmed by the Centre Management Board.

The two projects have equal weight in the assessment process. However, the first project will take place during Semesters 1 and 2 while the second must be completed over the summer ("Semester 3"). This is because the majority of training also takes place in Semesters 1 and 2.

All projects will have a supervisory team drawn from two or more academic departments at the University of Bath. Your main project will also have input and support from an industrial or international partner.

Project selection

The project selection process begins in the first week of term, and follows the following pattern:

  1. Supervisors propose projects, and make summaries available online as well as making short presentations — there are a large number of potential projects, spread over the full range of our research;
  2. You then have the opportunity to discuss options with supervisors and research groups and visit their labs — we strongly encourage this so that you can make an informed choice;
  3. You select 4 preferred projects;
  4. Projects are then allocated after careful consideration by the management board — in many cases it's possible to give you your first choice.

Training & supporting activities

We offer a wide variety of optional courses in areas related to sustainable chemical technologies, on top of mandatory core training which will give you a solid grounding in the basic technical skills required to complete a PhD in the centre.

Supporting activities include:

  • Opportunities to undertake an international, industrial or stakeholder internship;
  • A strong public engagement programme;
  • An annual showcase event;
  • Involvement in organization of a seminar series; and
  • Participation in international meetings and conferences.

Read more about our training programme

Study environment

The Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering are close to each other on the same campus in modern purpose-build laboratories (having received recent University investment of over £20m). An extensive range of state-of-the-art equipment underpins a dynamic research environment. Postgraduate communities in both departments are vibrant and growing.

As part of the Centre, SusLab and iSusLab provide an attractive and functional working environment supporting a genuine sense of community within the centre.

SusLab is a physical base for the Centre providing flexible accommodation including:

  • Desk space for all Year 1 students;
  • A hot-desking layout suitable for PhD students, staff and visiting academics to work individually and in small groups;
  • An informal discussion and social area; and
  • A more formal meeting and training room to accommodate 15 people.

Research projects

All students on the Integrated PhD in Sustainable Chemical Technologies course undertake two short MRes projects in their first year, followed by a full PhD research project in years 2–4.

Information about current students and supervisors

Current PhD projects

2015 –2018

Title Student Supervisors
Decorated cellulose surfaces – opportunities for novel, sustainable ingredients for formulated products and tissue engineering scaffolds Jamie Courtenay Dr Janet Scott, Professor Karen Edler and Dr Ram Sharma
Interface engineering for indium-free transparent electronics Dan Davies Professor Aron Walsh, Dr Duncan Allsopp and Dr Ben Morgan
Synthesis, characterization and applications of novel hierarchical porous materials Huan Doan Dr Valeska Ting, Dr Asel Sartbaeva and Dr Ulrich Hintermair
xtraction and modification of greener surfactants from natural sources and their use in development of delivery methods for active compounds Naomi Elstone Professor Karen Edler, Professor David Leak and Dr Tom Arnold
Engineering Perovskites for 3 rd Generation Solar Cells Dominic Ferdani Dr Simon Lewis and Professor Alison Walker
Biogenic Alcohols and Sugars as Sustainable Reductants: A Combined Spectroscopic and Theoretical Approach to the Development of
New Homogeneous Catalysts for Dehydrogenation, Hydrogen Transfer and Reverse Water-Gas-Shift Chemistry
Andrew Hall Dr Ulrich Hintermair, Dr Antoine Buchard and Dr John Lowe
Deep Eutectic Solvents: Structure, Surfactants and Synthesis Oliver Hammond Professor Karen Edler and Dr Salvador Eslava
Sustainable C-H Functionalisation by Improved Catalyst Design Callum Heron Professor Christopher Frost, Dr Emma Patterson and Dr Antoine Buchard
Enhancing lipid production for sustainable production of biofuels using yeast biotechnology and nanobubble engineering to exploit renewable feedstocks Robert Hicks Dr Daniel Henk and Dr Chris Chuck
Group 4 Catalysts for Polyethylene Furanoate (PEF) synthesis Michael Joyes Professor Matthew Davidson, Dr Matthew Jones, Dr Darrell Patterson and Dr Emma Patterson
Computational and Experimental Studies of Single-Use-Technology Bioreactors Richard Maltby Dr John Chew and Professor David Leak
Developing a marine biorefinery for the production of fuels and fertilizer from the hydrothermal liquefaction of macroalgae Sofia Raikova Dr Chris Chuck and Dr Marcelle McManus
Ceria-based Engine Exhuast Catalysts Shawn Rood Dr Salvador Eslava, Dr Kevin Robinson and Dr Laura Torrente-Murciano
New sustainable materials from terpenoid feedstocks Kasia Smug Dr Pawel Plucinski, Professor Matthew Davidson and Dr Ulrich Hintermair
Overcoming the efficiency bottleneck of metal sulfide solar cells Suzanne Wallace Professor Aron Walsh, Professor Chris Bowen and Professor Mark Weller

2014 –2017

Title Student Supervisors
Photofloworganocatalysis for sustainable redox chemistry Matthew Camilleri Dr Dave Carbery and Dr Laura Torrente Murciano
Development of a self-sustainable and cost-effective tool for water quality monitoring in developing countries Jonathan Chouler Dr Mirella di Lorenzo, Dr Petra Cameron and Dr Barbara Kasprzyk-Horden
Processing, forming and modifying cellulose to produce materials and composites with specific properties and tested biodegradability James Coombs OBrien Dr Janet Scott, Dr Davide Mattia, Dr Laura Torrente Murciano and Dr Paul Murray
Catalytic conversion of terpene feedstocks into value-added chemicals and commodity chemicals Bill Cunningham Dr Steven Bull and Dr Pawel Plucinski
Design of Safe Hybrid Hydrogen Storage Tanks Leighton Holyfield Dr Tim Mays and Dr Andrew Burrows
Biomaterials for the Cardiac Environment Emma Lampard Professor Tony James, Dr Darrell Patterson and Dr Steven Bull
Terpene Derived Monomers for New Polymers Helena Quilter Dr Matthew Jones, Dr Davide Mattia and Professor Matthew Davidson
Development of Innovative Nanoporous Carbons from Renewable Lignin Feedstocks and Investigation of Novel Characterisation Techniques Jemma Rowlandson Dr Valeska Ting and Professor Karen Edler
Molecularly defined electro-catalysts for energy conversion and biomass valorisation Emma Sackville Dr Ulrich Hintermair and Dr Frank Marken
Sustainable production of 2-phenylethanol from Metschnikowia pulcherrima Tristan Smith Dr Daniel Henk and Dr Chris Chuck
Adventures in Graphene-Based Electronics James Stephenson Dr Alain Nogaret and Dr Andrew Johnson
Optimizing energy harvesting processes in metal halide photovoltaics Oliver Weber Professor Mark Weller and Dr Chris Bowen

2013 –2016

Title Student Supervisors
A sensor for online and onsite water quality monitoring Stephen Bradley Dr Mirella Di Lorenzo, Dr Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern and Dr Frank Marken
Chemical bonding in metal-organic frameworks: from fundamentals to design principles Jessica Bristow Dr Aron Walsh and Dr Valeska Ting
A protecting group free strategy for the sustainable synthesis of polyketide natural products Robert Chapman Dr Steven Bull, Dr Pawel Plucinski and Dr Matthew Jones
Lower energy recovery of dilute organics from fermentation broths Christopher Davey Dr Darrell Patterson and Professor David Leak
(Bio)catalytic synthesis of a novel diesel fuel substitute from industrially produced ferementation broths Joseph Donnelly Dr Christopher Chuck, Dr Marcelle McManus and Dr Chris Bannister
Cyclic carbonates from sugars and CO2: synthesis, polymerisation and biomedical applications Georgina Gregory Dr Antoine Buchard, Professor Matthew Davidson and Dr Ram Sharma
Biomaterial substrates for cardiac stem cell engineering Marcus Johns Dr Ram Sharma, Dr Janet Scott and Dr Sameer Rahatekar (University of Bristol)
Novel catalytic methodology for the sustainable synthesis of aza-heterocycles Caroline Jones Professor Jonathan Williams, Dr Pawel Plucinski and Dr Steven Bull
Polymers and copolymers for tissue engineering applications Sarah Kirk Dr Matthew Jones and Dr Marianne Ellis
PLA in SuperCritical CO2 Paul McKeown Professor Matthew Davidson, Dr Matthew Jones, Dr Uli Hintermair and Professor Steve Howdle (University of Nottingham)
Solution-processed solar cells from earth-abundant elements Tat Ming Mako Ng Professor Mark Weller, Dr Aron Walsh and Dr Philip Shields
Selective catalytic C-H activation for drug manufacture Andrew Paterson Professor Chris Frost and Dr Darrell Patterson
The development of new graphene-based materials Andrew Rushworth Professor Paul Raithby, Professor Simon Bending and Dr Andrew Johnson
New precursors for application in thin film chalcogenide materials Joseph Thompson Dr Andrew Johnson and Dr Daniel Wolverson
Novel materials for catalytic conversion of bio-oils Jonathan Wagner Dr Valeska Ting, Professor Mark Weller and Dr Chris Chuck

2012 – 2015

Title Student Supervisors
Development of new metal and metal chalcogenide precursors for application in energy production and storage devices Ibrahim Ahmet Professor Michael Hill, Dr Andrew Johnson & Professor Simon Bending
Investigating fouling & cleaning during the filtration of gum arabic to save water and reduce energy Emily Hayward (née Holt) Professor Chick Wilson, Dr Michael Bird & Dr Darrell Patterson
Building-integrated functional coatings Adam Jackson Dr Aron Walsh, Professor Laurie Peter & Dr Darrell Patterson
New approaches to the catalytic activation of arenes Helen Lomax Professor Jonathan Williams, Dr Steven Bull & Dr Darrell Patterson
Design of multi-catalytic processes for drug discovery William Mahy Professor Christopher Frost, Dr Steven Bull & Dr Pawel Plucinski
The application of hybrid membrane processes to fractionate gum arabic into streams of added value Harriet Manning Dr Michael Bird, Dr Karen Edler & Dr Darrell Patterson
ZnO nanostructured materials for dye sensitized solar cell applications David Miles Dr Davide Mattia & Dr Petra Cameron
Depolymerized lignin for the aviation and care product sectors – catalyst design and product testing Heather Parker Dr Matthew Jones & Dr Chris Chuck
Aqueous dye sensitised solar cells Adam Pockett Dr Petra Cameron & Professor Alison Walker
Graphene nanocomposites and biocomposites in cancer theranostics: towards prostate cancer biosensing James Tyson Dr Sofia Pascu, Professor Frank Marken & Dr Pedro Estrela
Care product emulsions and a palm oil substitute from a yeast cultivated on waste Fraeya Whiffin Dr Chris Chuck, Dr Darrell Patterson, Dr Karen Edler & Professor Rod Scott
Computer modelling of new cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries Stephen Wood Professor Saiful Islam & Dr Tim Mays


External Partners

View current industrial and international partners of the Centre

See also: What do industrial partners do?

Training partners

We have teamed up with several highly-regarded external training providers to complement the University's excellent teaching