Clothworkers’ Foundation Scholarship Extraction and Identification of Natural Dyes for Sustainable and Historical Applications

Supervisors: Dr. Richard Blackburn (Centre for Technical Textiles) and Professor Chris Rayner (School of Chemistry)
Blackburn group website:
Rayner group website:

Open to UK residents only who have achieved (or expect to achieve) a 2i in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Colour Chemistry or a related subject. This project is funded by The Clothworkers’ Foundation. The studentship covers all fees and includes a tax-free stipend of at least £15,000 p.a. for 3 years. The starting date is flexible and can be any time between 1st October 2013 to 1st April 2014. 

Prior to the advent of Perkin’s Mauveine in the mid-nineteenth century, and the synthetic dye industry that followed, textiles would have been dyed using plant-based colorants with some metal mordant compounds. Examples of historical textile artefacts exist in most museums and from the perspective of the textile conservator, understanding of dyes used is very important. This project will conduct research to develop the most sophisticated extraction techniques to identify the most sensitive dyes and analyse dyes never previously examined. Knowledge gained on the extraction and stability of natural colorants will afford opportunities for modern-day application in area such as cosmetics, food, and medicinal chemistry. 

This project would suit any student interested in natural products chemistry, biochemistry, green chemistry, colour chemistry, or analytical chemistry.

The project will examine the following areas of research:

  1. Mild extraction methods to preserve glycosylation and dye structure (madder)
  2. Mild extraction methods to preserve glycosylation and dye structure (weld)
  3. Environmental stability and digital regeneration.

Please visit the Apply button below for more information.

Closing date is 31st July 2013.

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