Cleaner Futures: New porous frameworks for Sustainable Biomass Catalysis


This PhD studentship is an exciting opportunity to join a large project involving academic and industrial partners to develop new materials for the catalytic transformation of biomass-derived chemical feedstocks into monomers for carbon-neutral plastic manufacture. Using a range of synthetic approaches, including robotic high-throughput approaches and modern informatics methods, the successful candidate will explore routes to large-pore framework materials, such as zeolites and zeotypes, with suitable catalytic properties. The project will combine synthetic chemistry, advanced structural analysis (crystallography), characterisation with sorption and spectroscopic methods and testing of catalytic properties. The successful candidate will also develop skills in teamwork and scientific communication as part of a team that work closely together.

This is a multi-disciplinary PhD that sits at the interface between Chemistry, Materials Science and Manufacturing. The student will be based in the state-of-the-art laboratories of the Materials Innovation Factory ( at the University of Liverpool, as part of a larger project involving teams at University of Oxford and in industry. The MIF is not only home to outstanding University research facilities but is also the permanent base for many industrial scientists.            

Wider context: This PhD studentship is part of a large project that aims to provide the scientific foundation that will allow the UK consumer chemical sector to become sustainable and carbon neutral. The consumer chemical industry makes products that go into cosmetics, vitamins and health supplements, soaps, detergents, household chemicals, perfumes and foods. While some steps have already been taken to make this sector more sustainable, the use of virgin petrochemicals and other non-sustainable and/or polluting feedstocks remains prevalent. The project will develop routes to synthesise (and recycle) feedstock chemicals that do not depend on virgin petrochemicals. These new materials will not only need to be sustainable and carbon neutral, they also need to offer high performance, be cost effective to produce in bulk quantities and must not have long-term persistence in the environment after use. This will require new catalysts and catalytic processes. 

For any enquiries please e-mail Dr Troy Manning on:  

Apply by visiting: and click on the 'Ready to apply?' Apply online' button. Please ensure you quote the following reference on your application: New porous frameworks for Sustainable Biomass Catalysis (Reference CCPR023).


Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Funded studentship

The Studentship is funded by the EPSRC as part of a business-led research collaboration between leading UK businesses and their long-term strategic University partners. The eligibility details of both are below.

EPSRC eligibility

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

The award will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years. The maintenance grant is £15,609 pa for 2021/22, with the possibility of an increase for 2022/23.