Chemical Engineering: Fully Funded EPSRC iCase and TATA Steel PhD Scholarship: Circular Economy of Insulation Foams (RS626)

  • DeadlineDeadline: 3 June 2024
  • WalesWales


Closing date: 3 June 2024

Funding providers: EPSRC iCASE and TATA Steel

Subject areas: Materials science, manufacturing, engineering

Project start date: 

  • 1 October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September)


Aligned programme of study: PhD in Chemical Engineering

Mode of study: Full-time 

Project description: 

Tata Steel’s Building Systems UK (BSUK) business manufactures a range of insulating sandwich panel products for building façades. With a design life of 25 years, these products offer an outstanding combination of light weight, low thermal conductivity and high fire resistance performance characteristics over an extended period. However, there is a growing need to ensure complete product circularity and this project will explore a number of innovative end-of-life recycling options. 

This iCASE PhD will focus on three key aspects of insulation foams. First, a detailed characterisation of aged panels (from accelerated testing or field exposure) will be used to develop better understanding of breakdown mechanisms. This will be used to design and test mitigation technologies that will extend panel lifetimes beyond the current 25 years. The research will involve microscopy and/or spectroscopic analysis to identify any leached by-products alongside detailed thermochemical analysis to compare with baseline data from pristine samples.

Secondly, foam recycling will be explored through combinations of the following potential options: using spent foam in new composite materials (e.g. polymer-polymer, polymer-foam or polymer-inorganic composites), the production of new feedstocks by thermochemical treatment of spent foam and/or the conversion of spent foam into new products (e.g. packaging material). Thirdly, techno-economic analysis of recycling processes will be used to assess and compare viability. Potential scale up of the most promising recycling systems will also be explored.

For more details please see here:

Entry Requirements

Candidates must hold a UK bachelor’s degree with a minimum of Upper Second Class honours or overseas bachelor’s degree deemed equivalent to UK honours (by UK ECCTIS) and achieved a grade equivalent to UK Upper Second Class honours in Engineering or similar relevant science discipline. If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements (see country specific qualifications). Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency. 

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to applicants eligible to pay tuition fees at the UK rate only, as defined by UKCISA regulation.

If you have any questions regarding your academic or fee eligibility based on the above, please email with the web-link to the scholarship(s) you are interested in. 


This scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and an annual stipend of £19,237 plus an additional set payment of £1,500 per year.

Additional research expenses will also be available.

How To Apply

To apply, please complete your application online with the following information:

  1. Course choice – please select Chemical Engineering / PhD / Full-time / 3 Year / October

    In the event you have already applied for the above programme previously, the application system may issue a warning notice and prevent application, in this event, please email where staff will be happy to assist you in submitting your application.

  2. Start year – please select 2024
  3. Funding (page 8) –
  • ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
  • ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS626 - Insulation Foams’

*It is the responsibility of the applicant to list the above information accurately when applying, please note that applications received without the above information listed will not be considered for the scholarship award.

One application is required per individual Swansea University led research scholarship award; applications cannot be considered listing multiple Swansea University led research scholarship awards.

We encourage you to complete the following to support our commitment to providing an environment free of discrimination and celebrating diversity at Swansea University: 

As part of your online application, you MUST upload the following documents (please do not send these via e-mail). We strongly advise you to provide the listed supporting documents by the advertised application closing date. Please note that your application may not be considered without the documents listed:

  • CV
  • Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date are sufficient)
  • A cover letter including a ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ to explain why the position particularly matches your skills and experience and how you choose to develop the project.
  • Two references (academic or previous employer) on headed paper or using the Swansea University reference form. Please note that we are not able to accept references received citing private email accounts, e.g. Hotmail. Referees should cite their employment email address for verification of reference.
  • Evidence of meeting English Language requirement (if applicable).
  • Copy of UK resident visa (if applicable)
  • Confirmation of EDI form submission (optional) 

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Professor Peter Holliman (

*External Partner Application Data Sharing – Please note that as part of the scholarship application selection process, application data sharing may occur with external partners outside of the University, when joint/co- funding of a scholarship project is applicable.

Who is eligible to apply?

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to applicants eligible to pay tuition fees at the UK rate only, as defined by UKCISA regulation.

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