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Chemical Engineering (PhD)

2024-25 (also available for 2025-26)

This course is eligible for Doctoral loan funding. Find out more.

Start date

1 October 2024

13 January 2025

14 April 2025

Duration

The maximum duration for a PhD is 3 years (36 months) full-time or 6 years (72 months) part-time with an optional submission pending (writing-up) period of 12 months.

Sometimes it may be possible to mix periods of both full-time and part-time study.

If studying on a part-time basis, you must establish close links with the University and spend normally not less than an average of 10 working days per year in the university, excluding participation in activities associated with enrolment, re-registration and progression monitoring. You are also expected to dedicate 17.5 hours per week to the research.

Application deadlines

For September/October 2024

07 June 2024 for International and Scholarship students

28 June 2024 for Home students

For January 2025

18 October 2024 for International and Scholarship students

15 November 2024 for Home students

For April 2025

24 January 2025 for International and Scholarship students

21 February 2025 for Home students

About the research degree

A PhD is the highest academic award for which a student can be registered. This programme allows you to explore and pursue a research project built around a substantial piece of work, which has to show evidence of original contribution to knowledge.

Completing a PhD can give you a great sense of personal achievement and help you develop a high level of transferable skills which will be useful in your subsequent career, as well as contributing to the development of knowledge in your chosen field.

Our research degrees are available as full-time, part-time and some are offered distance learning.

You are expected to work to an approved programme of work including appropriate programmes of postgraduate study (which may be drawn from parts of existing postgraduate courses, final year degree programmes, conferences, seminars, masterclasses, guided reading or a combination of study methods).

This programme of research culminates in the production of a large-scale piece of written work in the form of a research thesis that should not normally exceed 80,000 words.

You will be appointed a main supervisor who will normally be part of a supervisory team, comprising of up to three members to advise and support you on your project.

Entry requirements

The normal level of attainment required for entry is:

  • a Master's degree from a UK University or equivalent, normally with a classification of merit or distinction, in a discipline appropriate to the proposed programme to be followed, or
  • an upper second class honours degree (2:1) from a UK university in a discipline appropriate to that of the proposed programme to be followed, or
  • appropriate research or professional experience at postgraduate level, which has resulted in published work, written reports or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment.

If your first language is not English, you will need to meet the minimum requirements of an English Language qualification. The minimum for IELTS is 6.5 overall with no element lower than 6.0, or equivalent. Read more about the University’s entry requirements for students outside of the UK on our Where are you from information pages.

Why choose Huddersfield?


There are many reasons to choose the University of Huddersfield and here are just five of them:

  1. We were named University of the Year by Times Higher Education in 2013.
  2. Huddersfield is the only University where 100% of permanent teaching staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Authority.
  3. Our courses have been accredited by 41 professional bodies.
  4. 94.6% of our postgraduate students go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating.
  5. We have world-leading applied research groups in Biomedical Sciences, Engineering and Physical Sciences, Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities.

What can I research?

There are several research topics available for this degree. See below examples of research areas including an outline of the topics, the supervisor, funding information and eligibility criteria:

Outline

Arabinoxylans are potential co-products of biorefineries that could form a new class of functional food ingredients. The aims of this project are to extract AX from a variety of feedstocks under different processing conditions, and to characterise the extracts, in order to establish a feasible basis for commercial production of functional food ingredients in a biorefinery context.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of £10,000 per annum are required.

Deadline

Home/EU -June 30th/October 31st and Overseas May 31st/September 30th

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

Currently, textile has been predominately produced from crude oil based synthetic polymers. With the increasing concerns on the environmental impact of using non-degradable polymers, there is growing research focus on the production biodegradable fibres from sustainable raw materials. In our research group, we has been exploring novel methods for the extraction of natural macromolecules which then can be subsequently used for synthesis of biodegradable fibre for medical and textile industries.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Home/EU – for September- June 30th, for January-October 31st and Overseas for September- May 31st, for January- September 30th

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

The digital transformation of process industries is one of the biggest shifts, towards Industry 4.0. Digitalisation of process industries has a tremendous potential to accelerate change in water, energy and other resources management. Novel approaches based on real-time modelling combined with data-driven approaches, allow monitoring industrial processes towards more efficient operation. By providing insights to resource consumption, and implementing proactive and more targeted maintenance, digital technologies can help operators to optimise reuse of resource and address sustainability challenges. The main objective of this PhD will be to develop a novel Dynamic Life Cycle assessment methodology, for the environmental impact assessment of industrial processes in near real time. Such an approach, if coupled with a digital twin, could facilitate the analysis and evaluation of industrial resource use, recycle & reuse and the assessment of resource efficiency at various scales and temporal frames of reference. The PhD will run in parallel with the H2020 EU project AquaSPICE, ensuring that the developed methodology will be validated in real-life case studies.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of £3000 per annum are required

Deadline

Home/EU – for September- June 30th, for January-October 31st and Overseas for September- May 31st, for January- September 30th

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

At present, around two million tonnes of pesticides are used per year on a global basis. Pesticides are considered a contributor to global food security because several pesticides cause long-term negative effects on human health and the environment. Several pesticides are known to be carcinogenic and/or mutagenic, affecting the respiratory system, bone, and nervous systems. Monitoring the presence of pesticide residues in food, water and soil is paramount to ensure the safety of consumers, especially in developing countries. Conventional analytical techniques (HPLC, GC, AAS) are expensive, bulky, time-consuming and require pre-treatment.

This project will involve the development of a highly sensitive, cost-effective, fast, reliable, and easy-to-use electrochemical sensor. The project will include fabricating, characterising, and optimising sensors capable of detecting pesticides without or with minimal pre-treatment.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of approximately £7000 per annum are required for this project.

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

Traditionally industrial biotechnology has relied on the brewing yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae where traditional outputs such as alcoholic drinks, bread, and biofuels are increasingly being joined by production of desirable platform chemicals and other products. Engineered strains of S. cerevisiae have been studied for production of various chemicals of industrial interest, many of these strains are available in the various strain banks.

In Prof. Du’s research group, over 200 marine yeasts have been isolated and characterised for their potential in industrial application. Marine yeast show statistically high tolerance to salt, organic acids and phenolic compounds as well as high fermentation efficiencies. The research groups have been working on the biofuels, biochemical fermentation for over 10 years, and published a significant number of peer reviewed papers in the field. Now, the research focus in this subject turns to the production of biofuels using marine biomass based substrates, enzymes and pharmaceutical compounds synthesis using GM modified yeasts and biosynthesis under harsh industrial conditions.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

Since the industrial revolution, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have increased by more than 50%. In March 2021 the atmospheric CO2 levels exceeded 417 parts per million. Pre-industrial levels were around 278 parts per million. This increase has led to global warming. The latest research suggests that is likely the world to warm from 2.6C to 4.1C as a consequence of doubling the CO2 concentrations. The effects of global warming are devastating causing more frequent and intense droughts, heat waves, melting glaciers and multiple dangerous climate changes. In order to mitigate these effects one approach is to convert the undesirable CO2 gas from industries and convert it into an added-value product.

This project will involve the fabrication of a CO2 electrolyser with the capacity of long-term operational hours, showing industrial viability. The project requires the design and optimization of the electrolyser and the fabrication of a gas diffusion electrode. The bench fee for this project is approximately £9000.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of approximately £3,000 per annum are required for this project.

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

This project will review current status of renewable materials’ application in textile and fashion industry, then evaluate the potential environmental and economic benefits of utilising novel renewable, recycle and biodegradable material in textile and fashion sector, and finally focuses on the assessment of a viable greener fashion business case study.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of £3000 are applicable

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

The word ‘symbiosis’ comes from the Greek ‘συν’ and ‘βιος’ and means ‘coexistence’, describing two different organisms living in close association, to the mutual benefit of both. Industrial Symbiosis draws on this concept to describe two industries living harmoniously together. It is one of the main tools considered by national and European environmental policy makers towards resource efficiency without deteriorating economic development.

This project aims to develop a methodological framework towards the holistic (i.e. economic, environmental and social) impact assessment of industrial symbiosis business models. More specificually, the proposed research project will address the following objectives: (a) Formulate a coherent, validated and tested methodological framework for identifying, assessing and evaluating IS schemes under uncertainty; (b) Map and assess the IS potential of selected regions in the UK and in Europe; (c) Establish the basis for an improved understanding of the socio-technical dynamics that influence IS uptake.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3000 per annum are required

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

Deposition of particles on pipe walls in oil transportation can plug the pipes thus causes losses in oil gaining or shutting down of the wells. With the management of particle deposition shifted from inhibiting to allowing formation but controlling aggregation and deposition, the way of dealing with them has also to be shifted to the latter with aggregation being the key. This project tackles the issues arising with this shift by a mathematical modelling approach based on the methods of population balance and computation.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Home/EU – for September- June 30th, for January-October 31st and Overseas for September- May 31st, for January- September 30th

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

This project will aim to assess the sustainability performance of novel berry products, with superior quality and nutritional characteristics and extended shelf life. A Life Cycle Assessment and a complementary Life Cycle Costing analysis will be performed to assess the environmental impact and economic performance of the novel processes and products, whereas a socio-economic study will identify possible drivers and barriers for the wide consumption of these products. The PhD will run in parallel with an EU-funded H2020 research project and might involve up to 12 months of secondment in one of the collaborating industrial partners.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £4000 per annum are required

Deadline

Home/EU – for September- June 30th, for January-October 31st and Overseas for September- May 31st, for January- September 30th

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

Across the world, a large amount of waste and by-products from the agri-food sector is being generated across the entire supply chain and disposed withour any further treatment. However, these waste streams may contain valuable bioactive compounds and/or could be further valorised before their disposal. Agri-food waste minimization is a key priority for modern economies, which can both reduce the environmental impact and create high value-added products, leading to a positive impact to the economy and the society.

This project aims to assess alternative options for the valorisation of agri-food waste. It will focus on greener methods used (e.g. green, solvent-free, extraction techniques) and novel substrates (e.g. waste from super-foods). A holistic sustainability assessment framework (including economic, environmental, and social impact) will be developed and applied to the proposed process.

The PhD will run in parallel with an EU-funded H2020 research project and might involve up to 12 months of secondment in one or more of the collaborating industrial partners.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3000 per annum are required

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

Macroalgae (seaweed) are a promising feedstock for industrial biotechnology, as they are available in abundance, do not occupy arable land or require fertilisers to grow. Seaweeds can be the basis for integrated industrial biotechnology as they contain various carbohydrates, proteins and minerals, which could be used as building block for the production of fine chemicals, platform chemicals, biofuels, pharmaceuticals or human nutritional additives. One of the promising product is alginate. It is traditionally used as a stabiliser, viscosity agent, water binding agent and gelling agent in the food industry. Recently, it has been explored for the synthesis of novel fibres for usage as a wound dressing in medical industry and raw materials in textile industry. It is estimated that the annual production of alginates exceeds 30,000 tonnes. However, current alginate extraction process is energy intensive, has high water usage, consumes large amount of organic solvent and has long retention time. This project aims to develop a greener process for extracting alginate to address the limitation listed above to improve the alginate extraction efficiency of the process. Then, the properties of the obtained alginate fibre will be characterised, and their application in pharmaceutical industry and textile industry will be explored.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

The increasing concern of plastic pollution in waterway attracts worldwide attention. It is estimated that the time required for plastics to degrade is approximately 500-1000 years. The most detrimental effects of plastic pollution can be found in the marine environment, as around 4.8 - 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the Earth’s oceans each year. This project aims to review state of art technologies in recycle and reuse of plastic waste materials, including making new plastic bottles, in construction industry and in textile industry. It will then focus on the novel approaches for the conversion of plastic waste, especially textile polyester waste into recycled materials for the production of value added products. Both biological plastic degradation process and thermo-chemical conversion process will be investigated.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Browse our listed funded opportunities. To find out more about the research we conduct, take a look at our Research, Innovation and Skills webpages, where you will find information on each research area. To find out about our staff visit ‘Our experts’ which features profiles of all our academic staff.

You should enter the project title and supervisor in the online application form.

No research proposal is necessary for your application.

Student support

At the University of Huddersfield, you'll find support networks and services to help you get ahead in your studies and social life. Whether you study at undergraduate or postgraduate level, you'll soon discover that you're never far away from our dedicated staff and resources to help you to navigate through your personal student journey. Find out more about all our support services.

Researcher Environment

Our postgraduate researchers contribute to our thriving research [culture] community at Huddersfield, in return, we provide an experience that enhances your potential and inspires you to think big and become a globally competitive researcher.

Join our community of like-minded people who are passionate about research and gain access to world-leading facilities, advanced research skills training, and expert career advice.

Reduced inequalities

  • We recently ranked 6 out of 796 global institutions for reduced inequalities in the Times Higher Impact ratings – this recognises our research on social inequalities, policies on discrimination and commitment to recruitment staff and students from underrepresented groups.**

World-leading

  • We are in the top 50 UK universities for research power, and nearly two-thirds of our research environment is classified as world-leading and internationally excellent.***

As a researcher, you’ll gain access to our Researcher Skills Development Programme through The Graduate School, to help broaden your knowledge and access tools and skills to improve your employability. The programme is mapped against Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework (RDF), you’ll benefit from Vitae’s career support as well as our own programme. We also have a team dedicated to improving the academic English needed for research by our international PGRs.

Our training is delivered in a variety of ways to take advantage of online platforms as well as face-to-face workshops and courses. You can access a range of bespoke training opportunities and in-person events that are tailored to each stage of your journey;

  • Sessions on PhD thesis writing, publications and journals, post-doctoral opportunities, poster and conference presentations, networking, and international travel opportunities

  • opportunity to work and study abroad via the Turing Scheme through The Graduate School

  • Externally accredited training programme with Advance HE (HEA) and CMI

  • Online research training support accessed through a dedicated researcher module in Brightspace, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment

  • We also hold a series of PGR focussed events such as 3 Minute Thesis PGR led research conference informal events throughout the year.

**THE Impact Rankings 2022

*** REF2021

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

When you are offered a place on a research degree, your offer will include confirmation of your supervisory team, and the topic you will be researching and will be governed by our terms & Conditions, student handbook and relevant policies. You will find a guide to the key terms here, along with the Student Protection Plan.

Whilst the University will use reasonable efforts to ensure your supervisory team remains the same, sometimes it may be necessary to make changes to your team for reasons outside the University’s control, for example if your supervisor leaves the University, or suffers from long term illness. Where this is the case, we will discuss these difficulties with you and seek to either put in place a new supervisory team, or help you to transfer to another research facility, in accordance with our Student Protection Plan.

Changes may also be necessary because of circumstances outside our reasonable control, for example the University being unable to access it’s buildings due to fire, flood or pandemic, or the University no longer being able to provide specialist equipment. Where this is the case, we will discuss these issues with you and agree any necessary changes.

Your research project is likely to evolve as you work on it and these minor changes are a natural and expected part of your study. However, we may need to make more significant changes to your topic of research during the course of your studies, either because your area of interest has changed, or because we can no longer support your research for reasons outside the University’s control. If this is the case, we will discuss any changes in topic with you and agree these in writing. If you are an international student, changing topics may affect your visa or ATAS clearance and if this is the case we will discuss this with you before any changes are made.

The Office for Students (OfS) is the principal regulator for the University.