Fully Funded 3 year PhD Studentship funded by Mitsubishi Chemical – Chemical recycling of acrylic plastics

Nothingham University

United Kingdom

September 10, 2021


Fully Funded 3 year PhD Studentship funded by Mitsubishi Chemical –

Chemical recycling of acrylic plastics



Closing Date

Friday, 10th September 2021



About the Project

Applications are invited to undertake a 3-year PhD programme in partnership with industry to address key challenges in plastic recycling. The successful candidate will be based within the Faculty of Engineering at The University of Nottingham.

We are seeking applicants with a process engineering background to start in late 2021 or early 2022 on a project with Mitsubishi Chemical UK Limited (MC UK). The MC UK funded studentship is the result of a major expansion of a programme to decarbonise the entire acrylic polymer manufacturing value chain. Chemical recycling of current and legacy acrylic materials is a key challenge that needs to be met in order to realise the broader decarbonisation programme, and microwave heating has been identified as a key enabling technology that can meet this challenge. MC UK has partnered with the University of Nottingham to carry out this work due to its world-leading expertise in microwave heating technologies. The partnership aims to better understand the impact of material properties and processing conditions on recycled product and its ability to displace fossil resources in the acrylic manufacturing process. A continuous, industrial-scale demonstration process will be developed towards the end of the programme.

The aim of the PhD project will be to gain better understanding of how a range of different acrylic polymer feedstocks can be thermally recycled to monomeric components using microwave technology. This will include determination of polymer-microwave interactions using dielectric property measurements, microwave depolymerisation experiments and product analysis. Bespoke laboratory equipment will need to be developed to undertake the study and the successful candidate will work with university and industry experts to develop these new systems. The student will be supported by a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers in academia and industry, and broader opportunities to further understand and support the overall decarbonisation programme are also available over the course of the PhD project.

This is an excellent opportunity for an enthusiastic first or upper second class graduate in a process engineering discipline to develop expertise and key skills in the plastics recycling field, and establish relationships with international academic and industrial partners.

Informal enquiries are encouraged prior to making a full application. These should be addressed to Dr John Robinson (john.robinson@nottingham.ac.uk) or Dr Eleanor Binner (Eleanor.binner@nottingham.ac.uk)


Applicants should have, or be expected to gain, a high (1st or 2:1) Honours Degree in a related engineering or physical science discipline. Excellent organisational and communication skills are required, along with a keen interest to engage in industry focussed research.


The funding on offer comprises a minimum tax-free stipend of £15,609 per year and tuition fees paid at the UK rate.

Please apply here https: // www. nottingham.ac.uk/pgstudy/how-to-apply/apply- online.aspx

When applying for this studentship, please include the reference number (beginning ENG and supervisors name) within the personal statement section of the application. This will help in ensuring your application is sent directly to the academic advertising the studentship.

  • Information for candidates ( pdf doc )
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