2 x PhD positions through the Central Facilities on the Harwell Campus and the UK Catalysis Hub

There will be up to two opportunities for PhD positions through the Central Facilities on the Harwell Campus and the UK Catalysis Hub. In each case half the funding will generously be provided by STFC (Central Laser Facility or ISIS Neutron and Muon Source).

The allocation of these awards will be made by Central Facilities and the Hub MG following a call for expressions of interest from Hub members. 

The closing date for expressions of interest is 31st March.


  1. An expression of interest is a 1 page at the most comprising a project title, aim and a work plan.
  2. Please also include the (agreed) source for the other half of the funding which will need to be provided by the applicant –
  3. Please identify a co-supervisor from the relevant facility who will be involved in the writing of the proposal and act as a equal co -supervisor for the PHD project. 
  4. Also included should be details of any collaborators.  

The project should involve the best use of the world class facilities RAL (ISIS and CLF) and Catalysis. The Facilities involved are ISIS Neutron & Muon Source (ISIS) and Central Laser Facility (CLF).  

Successful recipients will be asked to produce a 1-page proposal for the project: It is expected that the PhD student will be based at the Research complex at Harwell for the duration of the project and spend the majority of their time at Harwell. 

The Projects must focus on the

  • Development of facility capabilities or the utilisation of capabilities. They must focus on facility-development, Neutrons or Lasers, which may include technique, software or sample environment development which is of wider use within the facility beyond the immediate PhD student project. Purely scientific projects or those with weak development aspects will be rejected.
  • Catalysis and be based around the themes of the UK Catalysis Hub.
  • Optimising, predicting and designing new Catalysts.
  • Catalysis at the water and energy nexus.
  • Catalysis for circular economy and sustainable manufacturing.

Please note it is required:

  • The other party would have to have confirmation of the other half of the funding: please include this with your 1 page descriptive proposal and up to 1 page workplan.  The support from facilities will cover up to a cash value up to £60k. It is expected that the other source of funding will cover consumables and chemicals required for the project as well as the stipend and normal costs for a PHD project.
  • The project would be focused on the relevant facility and catalysis.
  •  The PhD student would be based at Harwell, and be involved with the UK catalysis Hub and facilities attending conferences, inductions and project meetings.
  • The Student will have named Co-supervisor from the relevant facility who has been involved in the development of the proposal.  This co-supervisor must be a full and equal participant in the project alongside the university supervisor and play a full and equal role in the studentship project and supervision, including the interviewing of potential candidates.
  • Once the successful proposals have been awarded the successful applicants will find a candidate and arrange contracts for the project through their university with the relevant facility (ISIS or CLF) directly.

How to apply:

Please return all proposals and documentation as an attachment (word or PDF) to Project Manager – Josie Goodall (josie.goodall@rc-harwell.ac.uk) with the reference “CATALYSIS HUB PHD PROPOSAL 2019” in the Subject line.

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