Chemical Engineering: Fully Funded SUSPRS PhD Scholarship: Negative Pressure and Cavitation as Stability Limits in Biological Systems (RS639)

  • DeadlineDeadline: 21 June 2024
  • WalesWales


Closing date: 21 June 2024

Funding providers: Swansea University Strategic Partnership Research Scholarships (SUSPRS) with Université Grenoble Alpes, France

Subject areas: Chemical 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: 

This is a joint PhD programme between Swansea University and Université Grenoble Alpes.

Established in 2012/13, the Swansea and Grenoble (UGA) Institutional Strategic Partnership was one of the first major strategic partnerships between a UK and French university. It is a unique, institutional-wide multi-disciplinary collaboration, which includes joint research and publication, student and staff exchange, joint PhDs and joint master’s programmes. Over 30 Joint Doctoral Degrees have been developed through the strategic partnership to date, across diverse subject areas, including medicine, engineering and law. Candidates spend 50% of their time in both Swansea and Grenoble and are jointly supervised by academic staff from both universities. Successful candidates receive a double degree from the Université Grenoble Alpes and Swansea University.  

The preservation of normal form and function of biomolecules is critical for sustaining life. When living organisms are exposed to conditions beyond a critical point, irreversible degradation or denaturation can occur. This project seeks to study the behaviour of protein solutions under varied conditions of both temperature and pressure and aims to observe the effect of these conditions upon physical attributes which are linked to natural function. The project will principally focus on biologically extreme conditions including negative pressure and/or supercooling of aqueous protein solutions i.e. studies will focus on the behaviour of biological materials under metastable conditions with respect to the phase diagram of water. 

The programme of research seeks to develop pressure systems suitable for the study of biological samples, model the thermodynamics and nucleation expected at extreme conditions and take into account various transitions of proteins with respect to changes in thermodynamic conditions.

It is anticipated that the use of advanced scattering and characterisation techniques will be employed to probe modifications to both protein structure and mechanical properties, for example the use of FT-IR spectroscopy and rheometrical techniques will precede applications for beam time at the neutron facility at Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble. 

Project work will be conducted at both Swansea University Bay Campus and UGA in association with the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Physics (LIPhY), respectively.

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 Physics, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry or related subject. 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. 

Applicants must hold a master's qualification to comply with Grenoble’s admissions requirements. 

English Language: IELTS 6.5 Overall (with no individual component below 5.5) or Swansea University recognised equivalent. Full details of our English Language policy, including certificate time validity, can be found here. 

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.


Please note that the programme requires some applicants to hold ATAS clearance, further details on ATAS scheme eligibility are available on the UK Government website. 

ATAS clearance IS NOT required to be held as part of the scholarship application process, successful award winners (as appropriate) are provided with details as to how to apply for ATAS clearance in tandem with scholarship course offer. 

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 tuition fees and an annual stipend of £19,237.

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 Years / 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 ‘RS639 - Negative Pressure’

*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 Dr Matthew Barrow (

*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?

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

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