Lateral Flow Test Development for Small Molecules


Applications are invited for a self-funded PhD.

The successful applicant is expected to start in September 2022, although this date is negotiable.

Since the Covid pandemic the population at large has become familiar with the lateral flow test as a simple device to determine the presence or absence of a particular target (in this case the covid-19 antigen). Another well-known lateral flow application is the pregnancy test which is used to detect a particular hormone within a urine sample, the presence of which is indicative of pregnancy.  

The central theme of this PhD relates to the design and fabrication of new lateral flow tests for the detection of small molecules of clinical and environmental significance. The underpinning theme of this research relates to new testing devices that are simple, economic and fast, with sufficient performance commensurate for the measurement in question.

For this interdisciplinary project you will be based in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Electronics ( where you will be part of  vibrant research group and have full access to a range of facilities for prototyping (e.g., SLA 3D printer, fibre laser, wax printer, etc.), fabrication (e.g., line dispenser, sputtering system, spin coater, etc.), analysis (e.g., gel imaging system, microscopy, etc.) and testing (e.g., UV-Vis, mass spectrometry, etc.).

You should have good experience with any of the following: paper-based sensors, biosensors, lateral (or vertical) flow assays, immunoassays, ELISA, lab on chip. Previous design and fabrication experience with paper-based sensors and/or lateral (or vertical) flow immunoassays is particularly advantageous. If you have a strong Bachelor’s degree, Masters degree or relevant experience (e.g., prior project experience, industry experience, or a demonstrable interest in the topic), you are encouraged to enquire. In exceptional circumstances those with a non-traditional educational background will be considered dependent upon relevant experience.

Applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you are interested, please email Prof Simon Maher ( and include a copy of your CV.

Nota bene: this is a self-funded project and requires that the applicant has their own source of funding (e.g., government scholarship).


Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Self-funded project

The project is open worldwide, to applicants of any nationality. Please note that this position is unfunded. Therefore, it is required that any applicant should have a funding source in place (e.g., government scholarship), in which case they are encouraged to contact the Principal Supervisor directly to discuss their application and the project.

The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and their living expenses, as well as a research bench fee of approximately £2000 per year.

Details regarding the PhD tuition fees (i.e., postgraduate research) can be found on the University website.