Materials Science: EPSRC DTA Funded PhD Studentship at Swansea University: Bioinspired design through advanced microscopy

  • Phd
  • Full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend
  • 3 November 2017

Swansea University is a UK top 30 institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014), and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.
Objectives of the project:
Working within the Advanced Imaging of Materials (AIM) facility and research group, and in collaboration with National Museums Wales, the successful PhD candidate will use correlated X-ray microtomography and electron microscopy to investigate biological architectures, in particular mineralised structural biomaterials. This class of materials is extremely interesting to materials scientists. They are formed in ambient conditions and with limited resources in a specific environment, yet have properties that often exceed those of human-made materials which are conversely manufactured using costly processes and use expensive or limited material resources.
There is huge potential to use natural materials and architectures for engineering design, yet these may be relatively enigmatic, or undiscovered. This project will use X-ray microCT/microscopy as a ‘prospecting’ tool with museum collections develop bioinspired lightweight structures for the aerospace, automotive, design, and other advanced manufacturing sectors. Investigate nano/micro structures, while the project will consider their form and function, and adapt this for potential engineering applications that benefit society.
There is a rapidly developing area of research, where biological form is used to inspire design strategies for major engineering structures. This has very recently been demonstrated in reverse, where computationally-optimized designs resemble biological structures (Aage, N., Andreassen, E., Lazarov, B. S. & Sigmund, O. Nature (2017)).
The PhD is within Dr Johnston’s research group, part of the new £10M Advanced Imaging of Materials (AIM) research group and multidisciplinary research facility, with a focus on correlative imaging.
This project will also work closely with project partner, National Museums Wales, utilizing both their expertise and collections.  
The successful candidate is expected to start their studentship between 1 October 2017 and 13 January 2018.


Applicants should hold a first or upper second class honours degree (or its equivalent) in materials science, engineering, zoology, physical sciences, mathematics, physics, chemistry, or biosciences, or a Master’s degree in a similar subject area to the project.
Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is open to UK/EU candidates only. 
For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit –


Do you wish to become an international student next year?
Demonstrate your English skills with IELTS.


The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax free stipend of ÂŁ14,553 p.a for three and a half years, in line with standard RCUK stipend levels.
There will also be additional funds available for research expenses.


Please visit our website for more information.

Sign Up for Scholarship Updates

Get an email every week that 10.000's of students use to get the latest scholarships.