Materials/ Chemical Engineering: Fully Funded KESS II MSc by Research: Cadmium Metal Mine Pollutant Removal through Nano-adsorbents and their Recovery for Photocatalysis Applications

Closing date: 14 May 2021

Key Information

KESS II logoESF logo

*This scholarships is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.*

MSc by Research Scholarship for UK or EU applicants in the field of: Materials/Chemicals Engineering

Start date: July 2021

The aim of this project is to develop recyclable nanofilter to recover as during treatment targeted pollutants from metal mine water discharges and gain their utilisation in other commodity valuable applications.

The heavy metal pollution in water has a significant negative impact on water quality and ecological health of our waterbodies, which influences individual and community well-being, and economic development. The continual release of metals from underground workings through point source discharges as acid mine drainage and as diffuse source discrete discharges from spoil heaps and erosion of contaminated sediment cause derogation of quality on our surface and ground waterbodies. The removal of heavy metals is globally a high priority topic. So far, several conventional technologies such as chemical precipitation, adsorption, membrane filtration, and biological treatment have been applied for sequestration of heavy metal ions from water. Adsorption has proven to be one of the most attractive options, but developing a specific sorbent for particular metal ion pollutants is a crucial factor in adsorption process. Developing less expensive and durable adsorption filters remains a challenge. In this project, we will develop low cost, bio-waste derived nano-adsorbent for filtering priority substance cadmium from metal mine discharges. This part will be collaborative work with Natural Resources Wales and University College of London. Later, the possibility of these metal mine pollutant coated filters will be tested in photocatalysis applications (fuel generation, environmental clean-up).

The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Dr Sudhagar Pitchaimuthu and Dr Moritz F. Kuehnel. The project will involve both lab and field based studies. The student will have the opportunity to acquire a range of skill sets including nanomaterial synthesis, chemical analysis (GC-MS, HPLC) from other collaborators (University College of London). The successful student will also utilise our world-class facilities available at SPECIFIC, College of Engineering, Swansea University.

This R&D is particularly attractive as recyclable, nanofilters can be widely applied in water treatment, energy, environmental clean-up and energy applications.

Scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners including SMEs and micro companies, as well as public and third sector organisations. The scholarship provides 1 year funding with a 3 month period to complete the thesis. The achievement of a postgraduate skills development award, PSDA, is compulsory for each KESS 2 scholar and is based on a 40 credit award.


Candidates should have a 2.1 or above in their undergraduate degree in Materials Engineering/Chemistry/Chemical Engineering/Nanotechnology or a related subject. They should also be eligible for UK/EU Fees (see for more information).

We would normally expect the academic and English Language requirements to be met by point of application. For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit –

For more information on eligibility criteria please refer to section C of the KESS II Participant Proposal Form.

Any queries relating to Section C – Eligibility, please contact


The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend. The bursary will be limited to a maximum of £11,819 p.a. dependent upon the applicant's financial circumstances as assessed in section C point 4 on the KESS II Participant Proposal Form.

There will also be additional funds available for research expenses.

Please note that students receiving KESS II support are not eligible for Postgraduate Master's Degree loan.

How to Apply

Applicants are strongly advised to contact Dr Sudhagar Pitchaimuthu regarding information on the area of research by email (

To apply:

  1. Complete the KESS II Participant Proposal Form 2020-21
  2. Complete the KESS II Supplementary Form
  3. You will also need to provide copies of the following documentation:
  • Degree certificates
  • Two references*
  • CV
  • English language certificate (if required)
  • All supporting documentation as detailed in Section C of the KESS II Participant Proposal Form

*The references can take the form of a letter on official headed paper, or via the University’s standard reference form. Alternatively, referees can directly email a reference from their employment email account to Please note that references received via private emails accounts (e.g., Hotmail, Yahoo) cannot be accepted.

Please submit both application forms and supporting documentation to

Application forms may be submitted in Welsh and any application submitted in Welsh will be treated no less favourably than an application received in English.

For any other queries, please contact:

The deadline for applications by 4pm 14 May 2021.