Fully Funded PhD Research Studentship Ionic Liquids as Solvents : To Generate New Wool-Based Products

Faculty of Engineering  

(3 years)

Wool is one of the UK’s primary products, although currently much UK-produced wool has a relatively low market value. Increasing the value of UK wool, through the development of innovative new products, is thus a key target for improving the viability of the local farming sector.  Wool protein, including low-grade wool, can be dissolved in ionic liquids to make it accessible to chemical modification or combination with other biopolymers. This is attractive for two reasons: Modification/combination allows new materials of high value to be produced from otherwise cheap starting materials, such as biomedical implants, wound dressings or high-value textiles; and the more than a million simple ionic liquids (ILs) available have a variety of physical properties that make them a highly-attractive system for process engineering.

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship to join the growing Biomechanism Engineering research team based in the Research Division of Process and Environmental Engineering (Faculty of Engineering) at the University of Nottingham, a global top 75 University. The student will work in a dynamic research environment and as part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers working towards a more complete understanding and utilisation of biochemical processes for a range of applications. The student will work closely with our collaborators at UNSW in Australia, along with chemists and physicists in the UK.

The student will design and undertake both quantum chemical and molecular dynamics computations, with the aim of understanding both wool solubility in a range of ionic liquids, and reactivity of wool components. There will be an opportunity to do additional experimental work locally, as well as to undertake neutron scattering experiments at the ISIS synchrotron facility in Oxfordshire, and present the research locally and at international conferences. Training in experiments, theory and research methodology will be provided.

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Requirements of the studentship:

i)     Students should have, or expect to obtain, a first-class or good 2:1 honours degree, or a distinction or high merit at MSc level (or international equivalent), in chemistry, biochemistry, computational chemistry, chemical engineering, biochemical engineering or closely related disciplines such as computer science, physics or mathematics, with relevant background.

ii)    Students should be able to demonstrate an interest in biochemical mechanisms and computational modelling, and should have excellent written and oral presentation skills. Previous experience with ionic liquid chemistry, quantum chemistry, molecular dynamics and/or software tools such as Gromacs and Gaussian would be beneficial.

The studentship will cover full PhD tuition fees and a tax free stipend for three years (£13,590 for the 2012-13 academic year), restricted to UK/EU students. The studentship is expected to start in September 2013, or as early as possible after this date.

Informal enquiries prior to making an application may be addressed to Dr Anna Croft, email: [email protected].

To make an application, please send a covering letter stating clearly how you fulfil the requirements of the studentship, your research interests and include a CV, an academic transcript, and the names and addresses of two academic referees, to [email protected], via the ‘Apply’ button below.

Please quote ref. ENG/682. The position will remain open until filled.

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