ReNU PhD Studentship – Mastering the Interfaces of Solid-State Batteries

Newcastle upon Tyne

Value of award: 100% of home tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,285. Successful international candidates may be required to make up the difference between the home and international fees.
Start date and duration: September 2021 for 4 years.
Application closing date: 24 January 2021.


The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU) is a collaborative doctoral training programme run by the Universities of Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham. Doctoral candidates will engage with added value training opportunities for example in business, innovation and internationalisation through a 4-year training programme that has been designed to maximise the benefits of a cohort approach to doctoral training.

The quest for improved energy storage is one of the most important scientific challenges of our time. While lithium-ion batteries have transformed the portable electronics industry, substantial improvements are required to meet current and future energy storage demands, including the electrification of transport. One next-generation technology with the capability to make a step improvement in the performance of energy storage is the solid-state battery, which utilises solid electrolytes instead of the flammable liquid electrolytes found in current commercial Li-ion batteries. While this technology has the potential to revolutionise energy storage through improved energy density and safety, there are still many challenges to overcome.

Sufficient interfacial transport represents one of the most crucial barriers to the widespread utilisation of solid-state batteries. This project aims to understand ion transport at the interfaces within and between solid electrolytes and electrodes in solid-state batteries and to then apply this knowledge to overcome interfacial resistance. This will be achieved using state-of-the-art atomistic modelling based on molecular dynamics and density functional theory, in conjunction with experimental characterisation and industry. The successful candidate will have plentiful opportunities to interact with collaborators and spend time at numerous leading institutions and companies both in the UK and internationally.

Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Name of supervisor(s)

James A Dawson (Newcastle University), Karen E Johnston (Durham University)

Luca Scherrer (Sphere Energy) and Mauro Pasta (Oxford, SOLBAT PL)

Eligibility Criteria

  • Academic excellence 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Academic excellence in an appropriate subject area relevant to proposed project.
  • If English is not your first language, you must have IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)

Home and International students (Inc. EU) are welcome to apply. We have a limited number of International awards available, and applicants may be required to provide additional fees not covered by the UKRI Home fee contribution. Further information will be provided at application stage.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system.

  • Insert the programme code 8208Fin the programme of study section
  • Select PhD Energy Materials as the programme of study
  • Insert the advert reference number renu212 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • Attach a covering letter and CV, quote code renu212, and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
  • Attach a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words and include the advert reference number.
  • Attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.


For further information please email