Investigating the Local Mode of Action of Anti-Perspirants using model systems and advanced probing techniques

Reference number: CCPR103


This EPSRC Case PhD studentship is a collaboration between the University of Liverpool and Unilever to understand the action of personal care products on skin at the localised chemical level.                   

Personal care products represent a £multi-billion global industry. Such products often require high level chemistry to work synergistically within a complex biological environment. However, the actual action of such products is not understood well due to the difficulty of tracking events within a living system. This project will aim to create a step-change in this field by utilising advanced fabrication to mimic biological systems and then deploying sophisticated techniques to understand the action of anti-perspirants with high chemical and spatial resolution.

The project will fabricate model sweat gland platforms based on recent biological and in-vivo measurement results. The effect of anti-perspirant actives within these mimic systems will be characterised with the advanced surface measurement methods including Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Electron Microscopies and localised vibrational techniques of IR and Raman microscopy.      

The PhD student will be based at the Department of Chemistry, University of Liverpool and will work within the Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces and the Surface Science Research Centre.

The PhD combines interdisciplinary science and global innovation.

Unilever is one of the biggest Beauty & Personal care companies in the world, with a broad and diverse portfolio of brands, e.g. Dove, Rexona, Vaseline, Lifebuoy, Signal, serving billions of consumers across the globe. The Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces at the University of Liverpool is at the forefront of translating scientific advances into innovation and is one of the four core partners of the £23M National Biofilm Innovation Centre (NBIC) ( The student will have the opportunity to enrol in NBIC’s Doctoral Training Centre which trains interdisciplinary PhD researchers at the Interface of Physical and Life Sciences.


This position is open to UK or a limited quota of EU/International students only with the equivalent of at least a 2.1 Honours degree in Chemistry, Materials Science, Biophysics or Engineering. An interview will be undertaken with suitable candidates before an offer is made. Fees and a stipend for up to 3.5 years will be paid provided eligibility is met.

How to apply

Applicants can direct informal enquiries to  Lucy Jones (email: You should submit an up to date CV and cover letter with names of at least 2 academic referees.

Formal applications should be made to, with the reference number CCPR103.


Open to UK applicants

Funding information

Funded studentship

This position is funded via an EPSRC Case award and is open primarily to UK students (see below for EU/International Students) with the equivalent of at least a 2.1 Honours degree in Biophysics, Chemistry, Biosciences, Materials Science or Engineering. An interview will be undertaken with suitable candidates before an offer is made. Fees and a stipend for 3.5 years will be paid provided eligibility is met.

EPSRC eligibility

Applications from candidates meeting the eligibility requirements of the EPSRC are welcome – please refer to the EPSRC website

This studentship is funded by the EPSRC DTP scheme and is offered for 3.5 years in total. It provides full tuition fees and a stipend of approx. £18,622 (this is the rate from 01/10/2023) full time tax free per year for living costs. The stipend costs quoted are for students starting from 1st October 2024 and will rise slightly each year with inflation.

The funding for this studentship also comes with a budget for research and training expenses of £1000 per year, and for those that are eligible, a disabled students allowance to cover the costs of any additional support that is required.

Due to a change in UKRI policy, this studentship is now available for Home, EU or international students to apply. However, please be aware there is a limit on the number of EU/ international students we can appoint to these studentships per year.