Postgraduate research opportunities

Development of novel grouting technology for subsurface engineering and the net-zero carbon revolution

This lab-based project will focus on developing novel delivery mechanisms for injecting low viscosity grouts into the subsurface so as to reliably improve the engineering properties and pave the way for the net-zero carbon revolution.

Number of places



Home fee, Stipend


12 May 2021


18 June 2021


3 years


Applications are invited from candidates who have achieved a first class or upper second class honours in a relevant degree, including Civil Engineering/ Geotechnical Engineering/ Chemical Engineering/ Environmental Engineering/ Materials Science/ Applied Physics or an equivalent qualification at Masters level and must be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research.

Project Details

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship to investigate the development of novel grout delivery mechanisms for subsurface engineering applications. Such engineering applications include energy storage (in the form of compressed air and hydrogen), geothermal energy, carbon sequestration, and the construction of radioactive waste disposal facilities; all of which are key to transitioning to a low carbon future, and all of which will require grouting to control permeability and strength in and around the below-ground engineering works.

Researchers at the University of Strathclyde are at the forefront of developing new grouting technologies for use as barriers to fluid flow in the subsurface. This PhD project will build on this expertise and focus on the grout delivery mechanism through micro- to macro-scale lab experiments and through use of state-of-the-art X-ray computed tomography, environmental scanning microscopy, and the extensive lab facilities available in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department.

Specifically, this project will explore the use of highly hydrophobic fumed silica particles for creating self-assembling micro-capsules of the chemicals used in two-component grouts. By separating the chemicals, the reaction can be delayed and controlled which would bring numerous practical benefits.

The successful applicant will be joining the Centre for Ground Engineering and Energy Geosciences which is a dynamic multidisciplinary forum for young researchers and currently holds over £4M of ongoing research projects in ground engineering, funded through UK Research Council, European Community, and industrial sources. In addition to research, the applicant will also carry out formal training leading to a Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development and they will have the opportunity to learn from experts in areas such X-ray CT acquisition and image processing, numerical flow modelling, and in setting up and designing lab experiments.

Funding Details

The studentship covers full UK PhD tuition fees for 36 months and a tax-free stipend of £15,609 per year for the full three-year duration. International Students applying must be able to provide evidence and pay the difference between the UK Home Fee and the International Fee.

EU Students must start by July 2021 to be eligible for the UK Home Fee rate.


Primary: Dr James Minto, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Strathclyde.

Additional: Dr Matteo Pedrotti, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Strathclyde.