Coating network and barrier property design strategies, for protection against hydrogen embrittlement

Closing Date:                10th March 2023

Project start date:         1st October 2023

Funding Provider:        UKRI EPSRC CDT Studentship

Subject Area:                Functional Coatings

Key Information

Project Supervisors

Academic Supervisors: Prof P Holliman and Dr M Dowd

Industry Supervisor: C Di Lullo

Aligned programme of study: EngD in Materials, Modelling and Manufacturing

Mode of study: Full-time

Expected Interview Date: Late April 2023


AkzoNobel, a global organisation with a world class portfolio of brands. Operating in more than 150 countries and committed to science-based targets, taking genuine action to address globally relevant challenges and protect future generations. Developing sustainable and innovative paints and coatings, for customers, communities, and the environment, starts with people. People. Planet. Paint

Project Aims:

As society moves towards net zero, hydrogen offers an alternative approach to heating, transport, and industrial processes. The ‘hydrogen economy’ to succeed being dependent upon current and new infrastructure for storage and supply. Hydrogen is of course known to cause embrittlement in some metals. Careful materials selection and the application of appropriate surface coatings may be the key to safe and economical solutions.

This project aims to develop design criteria for polymeric and / or inorganic coating linings, to offer protection against hydrogen embrittlement. Additionally, methods to measure hydrogen permeation, and the impact of such permeation on tensile properties of the substrate material, will be considered.

Sponsor Company: AkzoNobel


COATED M2A recognises applicants have a variety of backgrounds with different educational and research experiences. We do not expect applicants to be proficient users of any techniques/equipment mentioned, at the time of application. Our focus is to upskill our participants and training will be provided.

COATED M2A in the Faculty of Science and Engineering is a Swansea University initiative which provides postgraduate research training in partnership with industry, providing access to world class laboratories and a wealth of academic and industry expertise. COATED M2A is committed to providing top quality research opportunities within an inclusive environment, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Swansea University and Industry partners.

Interwoven through the research study are business, technical and entrepreneurial courses, designed to support and prepare participants for a senior role in industry or academia, on completion of their studies.

The Athena SWAN charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN silver award holder and is committed to addressing unequal gender representation. Applications from women and other under-represented groups are particularly welcomed. 

All applications will be anonymised prior to short listing.

Are you considering making an application and have questions you’d like answered? Come and have a 1-2-1 chat with us at our applicant surgeries (Link). We encourage all applicants to review our ‘hints and tips’ document found here.


Candidates must normally hold at minimum (or expect to obtain by the start date) an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University), or a combination of degree and equivalent experience to the same level.

NB: If you are holding a non-UK degree, please see Swansea University degree comparisons to find out if you meet the eligibility. 

English Language requirements: If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with at least 6.0 in each individual component) or Swansea recognised equivalent. Details on the Swansea University English Language entry policy can be found here.

Studentships for October 2023 entry are open to candidates of any nationality; however, please note:

·       International students (including EU countries) can apply, but due to UKRI funding rules, no more than 30% of the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Functional Industrial Coatings projects can be allocated to international students. Once the cap is reached, studentships will only be open to applicants eligible for tuition fees at the UK rate, as defined by UKCISA regulations.

·       Further details about eligibility, including information about the ‘international cap’ can be found at: Eligibility (identifying if you are a home or international student) – UKRI.

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


This studentship covers a full award and includes a tax-free stipend (currently £22,000 per annum) and tuition fees, each for a period of four years, subject to meeting University progression requirements.

Also, a generous budget is available to support training, project costs, industry placements and travel to enable you to network and showcase your research at an international conference.

How to Apply

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

  1. Course choice (section 1) – for administrative purposes only, please select PhD Materials Engineering and your application will be considered for the Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Materials, Modelling and Manufacturing programme

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.

  • Start year (section 1) – please select 2023
  • Personal Statement (section 6) – select ‘Add Personal Statement Text’ and set out your skills and experience and the relevance of these to the project within the text box provided. Please refer to the ‘hints and tips’ guide for details of how to structure your personal statement. Shortlisting decisions will be made on information supplied in section 6 of Apply only. Please do not attach a cover letter as it will not be considered.
  • Funding (section 8) –
  • ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
  • ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS310 – Embrittlement’

*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 studentship 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.

As part of your online application, you MUST upload the following documents (please do not send these via email):

  • Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date/interim transcripts are sufficient)
  • 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).

Furthermore, we invite you to complete the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Monitoring Form (online form).  Data is solely collected for statistical purposes and is not viewed by those that shortlist.

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact

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