PhD in Chemical Engineering: Implications of Electric Vehicle Safety in Conflict and Terrorist Scenarios

Newcastle University

 PhD in Chemical Engineering: Implications of Electric Vehicle Safety in Conflict and Terrorist Scenarios

Award Summary

100% home fees covered, and a minimum tax-free annual living allowance of £18,622 (2023-24 UKRI rate). In addition to this there is a minimum of a 3-month placement provided by DSTL.


The research will involve extensive field tests at external sites (e.g. the DNV, RAF Spadeadam in Cumbria) The project will support and build on recent ad hoc interaction between DSTL and the Faraday Institution on the topic of failure mechanisms for electric vehicle batteries when subjected to stimuli of relevance to defence and security. It will be the first study with the Faraday Institution funded by defence and the first defence-funded PhD in this specific field.

You will be based in the School of Engineering at the Newcastle University, under the supervision of Prof Christensen and Dr Mrozik. In addition, you will also be given visitor access to University College London to conduct research in the Electrochemical Innovation Lab under the supervision of Prof Shearing. You will be hosted by the Counter Terrorism and Security Division of DSTL and have access to DSTL researchers who are experts in defence and security research, working with explosives and who understand explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and explosive threats, improvised and conventional. You will also have access to state-of-the-art equipment including video technology, spectroscopy and chemical analysis.

Overall, the project will provide a unique research environment for the student not offered elsewhere in the UK. 

Number Of Awards


Start Date

18th September 2023

Award Duration

4 years

Application Closing Date

24th July 2023


Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC ) and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory  (DSTL)


Professor Paul Christensen & Dr Wojciech Mrozik

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to gain, a minimum 2:1 Honours degree or international equivalent in a subject relevant to the proposed PhD project (various engineering fields, chemistry, energy or related)

Applicants whose first language is not English require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills.

The studentship covers fees at the Home rate (UK and EU applicants with pre-settled/settled status who meet the residency criteria).

Due to the nature of DSTL work, only UK nationals applying to this post would qualify to participate in the 3-month placement or attend DSTL funded external trials. Preference will be given to UK nationals willing to attain UK Security Clearance.

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal

Once registered select ‘Create a Postgraduate Application’. 

Use ‘Course Search’ to identify your programme of study: 

·      search for the ‘Course Title’ using the programme code: 8030F

·      Research Area: Chemical Engineering

·      select PhD Chemical Engineering (full time) – Chemical Engineering’ as the programme of study

You will then need to provide the following information in the ‘Further Questions’ section: 

·      a ‘Personal Statement’ (this is a mandatory field) – upload a document or write a statement directly in to the application form 

·      the studentship code ENG117 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field 

·      when prompted for how you are providing your research proposal – select ‘Write Proposal’. You should then type in the title of the research project from this advert and provide your own statement.

Contact Details

Informal enquiries to [email protected]

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