Postgraduate research opportunities Design of sustainable biocomposites


Key facts

  • Opens: Saturday 27 February 2021
  • Deadline: Monday 31 May 2021
  • Number of places: One
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Funding: Home fee, Stipend


This project aims to use molecular dynamics simulations to understand how the interaction between filler, coupling agent and polymer influence the composite properties.
Back to opportunity


All students (Home/EU and International) are eligible for University-funded Strathclyde Research Studentship Scheme (SRSS) awards. International students require IELTS overall 6.5 (all components above 5.5). Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering/science discipline, and be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
Back to opportunity

Project Details

Plastic waste has a hugely detrimental impact on the environment and there is mounting pressure on industry to replace traditional polluting petrochemical polymers with sustainably-sourced biopolymers. However, for many applications, sustainably-sourced polymers do not yet reach the performance of oil-derived polymers. The performance of polymers can be improved by the addition of filler particles to form a composite material. The fillers are usually coated with a coupling agent, to help disperse the filler and make the polymer easier to process. While the nature of the polymer-filler interface plays an important role in the overall composite properties, the interface properties are often overlooked, due to the fact that it is challenging to characterise the interface experimentally. Molecular simulations can provide valuable insight into the interface structure and dynamics and predict how the composite performance depends on the interface properties. This project aims to use molecular dynamics simulations to understand how the interaction between filler, coupling agent and polymer influence the composite properties.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:


Back to opportunity

Funding details

The Research Excellence Awards are specific PhD projects that support the University’s strategic research ambitions. The scholarship provides full funding for tuition fees and living costs at Home/EU level. International students are welcome to apply but would require to pay the difference between the home and international fee amount.

Application deadline: 31 May 2021 or as soon as a suitable candidate is found. 

Back to opportunity


Primary supervisor - Dr Karen Johnston 

Secondary supervisor - Dr Paul Mulheran



Back to course


Apply for this project here – please quote the project title in your application.

During the application you'll be asked for the following information and evidence uploaded to the application:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts and certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency if you are not from a majority English-speaking country as recognised by UKVI
  • two references, one of which must be academic. Please see our guidance on referees
  • funding or scholarship information
  • international students must declare any previous UK study

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University.

Useful resources

Your application and offer

Application System Guide

Fees and funding

Back to course

Contact us

James Weir Building, 75 Montrose Street, Glasgow, G1 1XJ