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Sustainable solutions to plastic pollution

Our group assess various products and processes using life cycle and sustainability assessment methods to identify opportunities to reduce environmental impact leading to innovation in material choices, lean manufacturing, end of life scenario modelling and field trials.

We work with manufacturers and end-users to address the exponentially growing problems such as plastic PPE waste (worsened by COVID), addressing consumer needs, to find fit for purpose more sustainable alternatives from renewable resources. Life cycle-based thinking is put into action with the prototyping of new products using 3D printing which are then tested and trialled on the larger scale at manufacturing sites around the world with industrial collaborators. Other sectors include aerospace materials (carbon fibre composite end of life modelling and sustainable natural composites).

You will be assigned a product(s) or process to troubleshoot by Life Cycle and Sustainability Assessment methods to ISO standards (industry recognised methods) and work with industry to reveal threats and opportunities regards the sustainability of their products/process.

Real solutions will be generated by the student, with the ultimate goal of changing business practice under the auspices of ISO14001 and regulatory compliance (e.g. ELV and WEEE directives) from the business perspective, whilst contributing towards the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

NOTE: Specific products/processes are not named/described for proprietary reasons. These projects are ideal for those wishing to break out into environmental and engineering consultancy. These projects are not funded and you would be applying on a self-funded basis. Part-time PhD study applicants are also welcome. 

Please include details in your CV and statement of your level of LCA experience and practical laboratory skills (e.g. 3D printing, materials processing)

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.