University of Liverpool: Biofilm disrupters for the Maritime industry

The University of Liverpool (UoL) and Real Sphere Eco World Limited (Real Sphere) are seeking to appoint a suitable experienced and qualified individual to undertake a three year doctoral research programme. This opportunity will remain open until the position has been filled and so early applications are encouraged.

The objective of this PhD project is to research the physical and chemical properties of more environmentally conscious and safer alternative biofilm disrupters in maritime applications (a $3bn per annum industry). Current practices require invasive and hazardous materials to break up biofilm growth in water systems. The new alternatives would be less toxic, delivering significant health and safety benefits. Longer term these materials will also have multi-sector impact, in commercial and domestic properties and mass transit systems.

The project will focus on the development and characterisation of different antimicrobial materials to fully characterise the properties and application conditions of a new green and safe Real Sphere product for prevention of pathogenic environments in maritime structures, in addition to the improvement of its efficiency for antimicrobial protection of passenger and cargo ships. UoL will provide access to all large-scale equipment (scanning electron microscopes (SEM), transmission electron microscopes (TEM), confocal microscopes, and equipment located in the Materials Innovation Factory). The student will acquire experience in analysis of the thermal and chemical properties of antimicrobial formulations, spectroscopic analysis of chemical structures, characterisation of antimicrobial efficiency, surface characterisation and use of large scale analytical equipment. Additional training and support will be provided by Real Sphere to study the industrial production environment and to engage in physical trials at international shipyards, to understand the issues and industry standard methods of water testing.

The successful applicant will have an undergraduate degree in Chemistry that includes knowledge of physical and organic chemistry. An interest and prior experience in antimicrobial formulation, data analysis and experimental techniques (FTIR, DLS, TEM/SEM, TGA) and experimental work is preferred. Candidates should also have an ambition to work on an industrial focussed project and be Prepared to travel both within the UK and internationally, particularly to the EU.

This PhD is one of 13 industry-led collaborative R&D projects in UoL’s delivery of the Port City Innovation Hub (PCiH). The aim of the project is for you to work toward a PhD at the University of Liverpool through delivering ‘real – life’ solutions to industry. The PCiH supports businesses in the Liverpool City Region developing products or services within the maritime sector achieve economic growth. PCiH is a partnership with Wirral Council, Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Mersey Maritime as first phase activity in advance of the launch of the Maritime Knowledge Hub.

All PhD projects have been co-developed with SMEs and UoL to provide assistance in R&D where the company does not have internal expertise, resource or facilities to carry out the research. This will give you a strong advantage in entering a competitive jobs market in both the academic and commercial sectors.