Developing low-cost and sustainable multifunctional polymer composites for energy applications (MPhil)


**Please note that this is an MPhil Project**

As the world transitions towards clean energy, it is imperative to replace internal combustion engines (ICEs) with sustainable alternatives, including battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Although BEVs have gained popularity, their limited driving range and long charging times pose a significant challenge. FCEVs have the potential to address these limitations, offering longer driving ranges and faster refuelling times, particularly for long-distance travel. To fully realise the potentials of FCEVs, lightweight and durable materials are essential to improve their efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance overall performance.

Aim & objectives of this project:

This project aims to develop sustainable, lightweight, and multi-functional composites that enable and support the development of efficient, durable, and commercially viable FCEVs. Through the design of lightweight and durable materials, the project will address the current bottleneck in FCEV development by enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) bipolar plates. By doing so, this project will contribute to the global transition towards a cleaner energy future. The successful candidate will work in line with the following preliminary objectives:

  • Develop sustainable, lightweight, and multi-functional composites for weight-critical PEMFC components.
  • Employ a multiphysics approach to study the interactions between application-specific characteristics considering the influence of material selection and methods.
  • Provide key insights to inform the transferability of the developed technologies.

The ideal candidate

We welcome applicants with a background in material science, chemistry, engineering, or a related field, who possess a strong drive to conduct research, are self-motivated, and have the ability to work both independently and collaboratively as part of a team.

We value candidates who can demonstrate research aptitude and technical skills, which could be evidenced by a combination of academic achievements and strong technical writing skills (e.g.: journal papers and technical reports). While prior publications are desirable, we recognise that other relevant experiences can also demonstrate these skills.

Additionally, proficiency in using 3D CAD modelling software (preferably SolidEdge) and multiphysics simulation software (preferably COMSOL Multiphysics) will be beneficial for this position.

Please note: The position will be closed once a suitable candidate has been found. 

Further Information: 

The University of Edinburgh is committed to equality of opportunity for all its staff and students, and promotes a culture of inclusivity. Please see details here:

Closing Date: 

Friday, December 29, 2023

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 


  • First or second-class Honours degree, preferably in Materials, Production, Manufacturing, Mechanical, Chemical or Electrical Engineering or other relevant engineering disciplines.
  • General laboratory skills, experimental data collection and analysis.
  • Knowledge of data analysis tools and programming languages such as MATLAB or Python.
  • The ability to communicate effectively in written and spoken English is required, including the capacity to produce reports and contribute to deliverables.
  • Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Applications are welcomed from self-funded students, or students who are applying for scholarships from the University of Edinburgh or elsewhere

Further information and other funding options.