Hybrid industrial and PhD opportunities

Ambitious early career researchers with interests in corrosion protection have been given the opportunity to join a hybrid programme – allowing them to work in Europe while also studying a PhD at The University of Manchester.

The SUSTICOAT project will look at the development of sustainable organic coatings for corrosion protection – and aims to help academics who are starting their careers to develop a broad range of academic and industrial skills.

The pioneering scheme offers five early stage researchers (ESRs) the chance to work at multinational company AkzoNobel to develop formulations for specific applications – as well as the chance to enrol on a PhD programme at The University of Manchester.

The PhD element of the scheme will be run by the University’s School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science plus Manchester’s School of Materials.

 The project will provide training in both the innovation process required to go from scientific concept to commercial product – ie tackling research challenges that fall between Technology Readiness Levels 4 to 7 – as well as providing development in a range of specific scientific skills:

  • computational modelling
  • polymer synthesis
  • advanced characterisation
  • material science
  • chemical process engineering.

“A total of five projects will give the selected researchers the opportunity to develop skills in the translation of knowledge from academic to industrial use, developing prototype products to realise academic insights, correlating laboratory performance with both accelerated test and real application performance, as well as determining the performance window of substitute materials being introduced into a new market,” explained Dr Flor Siperstein from The University of Manchester. Students will spend the first 12 months of the project at The University of Manchester, followed by 18 months working in AkzoNobel laboratories in the Netherlands, Sweden or Italy depending on the project. Researchers will then return to the University of Manchester for the final six months of the project.” 

The SUSTICOAT project is to be set up a European Industrial Doctorate programme to enable Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to develop a broad range of academic and industrial skills while working in the field of sustainable organic coatings for corrosion protection.

Dr Simon Gibbon from AkzoNobel said: “SUSTICOAT allows us to build on The University of Manchester- AkzoNobel Corrosion Protection Partnership, with both partners taking the knowledge already generated and creating new knowledge that the ESRs will be able to validate within AkzoNobel.”

The project is a Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Innovative Training Network – European Industrial Doctorate.

This partnership has supported the AkzoNobel Laboratory for Corrosion Protection based at The University of Manchester.

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