PhDs in Sustainable Chemistry

Calling all chemists! Would you like to do a PhD that will build your key skills in sustainability and tackle a major challenge related to energy and climate?

We are currently advertising up to four fully funded PhDs in the EPSRC and SFI CDT for Sustainable Chemistry. This is an interdisciplinary doctoral training centre that will take on students from chemistry, materials science, engineering and physics.

For a short video on the theme and more information please visit

HeatToPower: New generation sustainable thermoelectric materials and devices

The theme is entitled HeatToPower: A new generation of sustainable thermoelectric materials and devices. Thermoelectrics are materials that fulfil two crucial purposes – one, to convert waste heat into clean electrical energy, and two, to provide cooling and refrigeration with no moving parts. Critically, thermoelectric materials can provide cooling without the refrigerant gases typically used by air-cons and fridges. These gases are on the order of 1000 times more warming as CO2, molecule-for-molecule. Removing these chemicals from our heat management needs is a critical sustainability challenge.

However, current thermoelectric technologies rely on ageing technologies that use elements that are increasingly short supply and whose limited availabilty holds back their mass adoption.

We therefore seek sustainably-minded organic or inorganic synthetic chemists who are excited to design and synthesise the next generation of sustainable thermoelectric materials and devices. We particularly value your expertise if you enjoy making new materials.

This theme is truly interdisciplinary and is run by a team of academics at the University of Nottingham across the faculties of Science and Engineering.

Examples of potential projects in the HeatToPower theme include:

  • Synthesis of charge transfer based organic conductors (e.g. acene-derived small molecules) and their use
  • Synthesis of polymeric conductors, especially sustainable routes to EDOT/PEDOT and their analogues
  • Development and synthesis of new, sustainable n-type conductors
  • Synthesis and structural optimisation of hybrid organic/inorganic nanocomposites, e.g. colloidal nanocrystal quantum dots

The structure of the PhDs is unique – the four successfully appointed students will undergo six months of theme-specific training in thermoelectrics and sustainability jointly delivered between the University of Nottingham and University College Dublin. This includes a group project where they will work as a team to solve a real research problem in thermoelectrics. They will then get a chance to write their own research proposal to channel their knowledge and ideas thus far it into a plan for the remaining part of their 48-month studentship.

Students in this theme will gain experience and training in a range of topics:

  • Motivations, challenges, and solutions in sustainable energy
  • Life cycle assessment of emerging technologies 
  • Interdisciplinary approaches to research at the Chemistry/Physics/Engineering interface
  • The theory and practice of thermoelectric devices and systems
  • Perspectives on industrial research and development

Furthermore, there are two other great themes running in the CDT this year meaning that you will be part of a vibrant cohort of twelve PhD students.

The scholarships are currently open and taking applications. For informal enquiries particularly relating to structure and scientific content of the CDT theme please contact

For questions on the mechanics of applying for the PhDs please contact

To apply please visit

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