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PhD Studentship: Supramolecular Gel Electrolytes

Applications are invited for a EPSRC Industrial CASE PhD studentship that is available from January 2018 in the group of Professor Oren Scherman, working on a project sponsored by CDT Ltd (part of the Sumitomo Chemical Group). The project will investigate supramolecular gel electrolytes, aiming to exploit functional materials for energy storage devices. Research will explore the chemical scope of the supramolecular materials as well as the surrounding ionic environment. Over the past two decades, there has been a considerable demand for the preparation of highly conductive, flexible, and transparent (solid) polyelectrolytes, which can be used in fuel and solar cells, batteries and sensors as well as the interface between robotics and AI. Supramolecular polymer networks have been developed extensively in the Scherman group, which consist of guest-pendant copolymers and macrocyclic host molecules for dynamic crosslinking. These materials exhibit high toughness, extreme stretchability, high mechanical strength and facile room temperature self-healing. The networks are also transparent and ionically conductive on account of their structure.

The project will require a multi-disciplinary approach across the areas of molecular, supramolecular and materials chemistry as well as nanotechnology. Candidates must have strong motivation to work on a multidisciplinary project and a desire to learn a range of skills from traditional organic and polymer synthesis to supramolecular chemistry as well as polymer and materials characterization. Moreover, the student will spend some time at the CDT premises in Cambridge, gaining experience of industrial energy discovery and development.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain) the equivalent of a UK first class or upper second-class honours degree (and preferably a Masters) in chemistry or other relevant discipline. The studentship provides a maintenance grant and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Applicants must satisfy the eligibility and residence requirements of the UK Research Councils. Owing to restrictions imposed by the sponsor, non-EU citizens cannot be considered.

Applications should emailed in the form of a single pdf file (less than 2MB), and should include a CV, detailed academic transcripts, a cover letter highlighting what you can bring to the project, and the contact details for two academic referees. Applications should be sent to both Professor Oren Scherman (email: and Dr Elisabetta Spigone (email:

Please quote reference MA12356 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

Closing date

Sep 25th 2017

Reference number


Athena SWAN