PhD Studentship - George Bethell Scholarship: Development of bacteria-enhanced graphitic carbon-nitride-polymer composite membranes for photocatalytic degradation of pollutants in water

Updated: 25 days ago
Location: Nottingham, SCOTLAND
Deadline: 31 Aug 2021

Closing Date
Tuesday, 31st August 2021

Applications are invited for a fully funded George Bethell PhD studentship (3 years) within the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham. The student will work with an interdisciplinary supervisory team with expertise in membrane-based separation and biotechnology.

Project title: Development of bacteria-enhanced graphitic carbon-nitride-polymer composite membranes for photocatalytic degradation of pollutants in water

Supervisory Team: Begum Tokay, Samantha Bryan

We explore to develop a visible light photo responsive polymer membrane using graphite for the degradation of organic contaminants from wastewater. We aim to integrate graphite in polymer matrix and use algae and cyanobacteria, enabling the interaction between graphite and biological agents, for better dispersion. This will be the key to enhance the degradation of pollutants in water as algae and cyanobacteria are photosynthetic too and they can degrade pollutants in water further. The synthesis of graphite and the procedure for incorporation in polymer matrix will increase the ability to quickly alter the membrane for higher degradation efficiency. 

In this project, the optimum design of bacteria enhanced graphine-polymer membranes will be developed for maximum degradation capability in photocatalytic separation. The incorporation of the graphine in polymer phase will be optimised with a range of polymers, graphine amounts and additives. The requirements for the photocatalytic membranes will be a high graphine loading capability, strong interaction between components and high degradation capability of pollutants in water, including high water flux. A suitable surface modification technique will be explored in order to allow attachment of UV active bacteria for further degradation of pollutants. A set of bacteria will be screened to ensure the stability of the membrane and interaction of the materials for water remediation applications.

The ideal candidate will have knowledge in materials/chemical engineering, chemistry, membrane/materials science or related subjects and be interested in membrane development, polymer membranes, photocatalysis and separations. The studentship is an exciting research collaboration between supervisors based within the Advanced Materials Research Group ( ) and the Sustainable Process Technologies Research Group ( ). The student will have access to equipment and expertise at the forefront of the membrane development and of bioengineering/biotechnology research areas.

Eligibility: Due to funding restrictions, the position is only available for home/UK candidates.

Candidates must possess or expect to obtain, a 2:1 or first class degree in an Engineering or Physical Sciences related discipline. 

Candidates will be available to start on 1st October 2021.

Closing date: 18th August 2021


The funding on offer comprises a minimum tax-free stipend of £15,609 per year and tuition fees paid at the UK rate.

Informal enquiries should be sent to Dr Begum Tokay (  ). Please quote the project tile and reference.

Please apply here: . 

When applying for this studentship, please include the reference number (ENG1491 and supervisors name) within the personal statement section of the application. This will help in ensuring your application is sent directly to the academic advertising the studentship.

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