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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L016443/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Catalysis
Principal Investigator: Hutchings, Professor G
Other Investigators:
Plucinski, Dr P Golunski, Professor S Wass, Professor DF
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Biocatalysts Ltd BP (International) CatScI Ltd
DOW Evonik Industries AG (International) ExxonMobil
GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) HySA Systems Invista Textiles (UK) Ltd
Jaguar Land Rover Johnson Matthey Sasol Technology
Selden Research Ltd Solvay (International Chemical Group) World Gold Council
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Cardiff University
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 April 2014 Ends: 30 September 2022 Value (£): 4,504,581
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Heat & Mass Transfer
Reactor Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Oct 2013 EPSRC CDT 2013 Interviews Panel N Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The report 'Higher Degree of Concern' by the Royal Society of Chemistry highlighted the importance of effective PhD training in providing the essential skills base for UK chemistry. This is particularly true for the many industries that are reliant on catalytic skills, where entry-point recruitment is already at PhD level. However, the new-starters are usually specialists in narrow aspects of catalysis, while industry is increasingly seeking qualified postgraduates equipped with more comprehensive knowledge and understanding across the cutting edge of the whole field.

The 2011 EPSRC landscape documents acknowledged the existing strengths of UK catalysis (including the concentration of academic expertise in the south-west), but recognised the critical need for growth in this strategic and high-impact field of technology. Over the following 18 months, the universities of Bath, Bristol and Cardiff worked closely together to put in place the foundations of an alliance in catalysis, based on the distinctive but complementary areas of expertise within the three institutions. This bid will build on this alliance by creating a single training centre with unified learning through teaching and research.

Building on the best practice of existing and established postgraduate training, and benefitting from the close geographical proximity of the three universities, each intake of PhD students will form part of a single cohort. The first year of the PhD will involve taught material (building on and expanding Cardiff's established MSc in catalysis), a student-led catalyst design project, and research placements in research laboratories across all aspects of catalysis science and engineering (and across all three institutions). This broad foundation will ensure students have a thorough grounding in catalysis in the widest sense, fulfilling the industry need for recruits who can be nimble and move across traditional discipline boundaries to meet business needs. It will also mean the students are well-informed and fully engaged in the design of a longer PhD project for the next three years. This project will be the same as the more traditional PhD in terms of its scholarship and rigour, but still include wider training aspects.

A further benefit of the broader initial training is that students will be able to complete PhD projects which transcend the traditional homogeneous, heterogeneous, engineering boundaries, and include emerging areas such as photo-, electro- and bio-catalysis. This will lead to transformative research and will be encouraged by project co-supervision that cuts across the institutions and disciplines. We have identified a core of 28 supervisors across the three universities, all with established track records of excellence which, when combined, encompasses every facet of catalysis research. Furthermore, full engagement with industry has been agreed at every stage; in management, training, project design, placements and sponsorship. This will ensure technology transfer to industry when appropriate, as well as early-stage networking for students with their potential employers.

Key Findings
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