PhD studentship Development of Advanced Functional Coatings for Seeds


Directly Funded Project (European / UK students only)

Closing date: February 17, 2014

Functional coatings are applied to seeds to provide protection and to contain active ingredients that increase the crop yield. In one type of seed coating, the binder is made from polymer nanoparticles in water. This project will investigate some of the physical parameters that influence the properties of coatings with the aim of developing coatings that protect the seed but do not prevent the transport of moisture and nutrients and that release the active ingredient in the desired way. The structure and dynamics of the polymer phase is of particular interest. Advanced techniques of atomic force microscopy, electron microscopy, dynamic mechanical analysis, and vapour sorption will be used. Physical models of the processes will be used and developed further.

A successful project will contribute to the development of better performing seed coatings that will make a large impact on the world by increasing crop productions and having a positive effect on agriculture.

Research will be conducted in the Soft Matter Group’s modern laboratories that recently underwent investment of ca. £2.5M. The six academic staff and PhD students in the Soft Matter Group conduct research in a wide range of topics, spanning topics including nanomaterials, graphene, polymers, colloids, liquids in confinement, and biological physics.

Applicants with previous academic study in physical chemistry, materials science or physics are particularly suitable for this project. Applicants should have, or expect, an upper second-class honours degree or higher.

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The project is fully funded by Syngenta (, which a world-leading company with businesses in field crops, vegetables and flower seeds, seed care products, and chemicals for crop protection.  Only UK or EU citizens are eligible for funding.

Applicants should send a CV and covering letter to explain their interests in the project to Professor Keddie (e-mail: [email protected]).  Learn more about the Soft Matter Group here:

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