Valorisation of Industrial Hemp Waste Material Through the Recovery of Secondary Compounds with Therapeutic Properties (PhD Scholarship)

Valorisation of Industrial Hemp Waste Material Through the Recovery of Secondary Compounds with Therapeutic Properties

Aberystwyth University, IBERS

Project ID: AU30026
Annual Stipend: £14,340
Application Deadline: 30th July 2018

This project builds on an existing collaboration between the academic and industrial partners that aims to valorise industrial hemp by developing a process of recovery of secondary compounds with known therapeutic properties from waste materials. Currently industrial hemp is grown solely for fibre which is recovered from stem tissues with other tissues going to waste. The fibre is used to produce building materials, textiles and other composite products. The discarded material contain a range of therapeutic compounds that can help support and improve the economic sustainability of hemp biorefining. Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) are the main cannabinoid compounds in hemp tissues (up to 3%) while the psychotropic compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is only present in trace amounts. Therapeutic products containing CBD have been categorised as medicine by the MHRA. These products are used for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Other compounds present in hemp tissues also have potential therapeutic properties; CBDA is reported to have anti-inflammatory properties and to be a possible treatment for epilepsy.

These components in leaf and flower waste tissues offer the prospect to improve revenue for industrial hemp growers. For this to be viable, it is necessary to identify the best feedstock, stage of growth, harvesting time and storage procedures. These must be synchronised with maximising fibre production. This project aims to identify best feedstocks and optimal stage of harvesting compatible with fibre and secondary metabolite production. The project will develop an extraction process which can be carried out at industrial scale and will be combined with methods for separation and isolation of target compounds. The objective will be to develop a scalable process to produce products of sufficient purity for applications in the human health industry. The tested hypothesis is that whole process from field crop to final product can be developed at pilot-scale which can be implemented by the industrial partner in commercial operation. This project will provide a training in the field of biorefining and in analytical techniques including HPLC-MS, GC-MS and NMR.

The prospective applicant should have a minimum of a 1st or good 2:1 in a relevant degree, and be available to take up the studentship by 1st October 2018. The project is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) through the European Union’s Convergence programme administered by the Welsh Government. KESS II PhD scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners. (Applicants need to only apply, they do not need to search for partners.)

To apply, please submit the following to the Postgraduate Admissions Office (address below) by 6th June 2018:

  1. A completed Research Programme Application Form, two references. Application and reference forms may be downloaded from
  2. A completed KESS II Participant proposal form (put the reference number AU30026 in the top right hand box of the application form) and an up-to-date CV. KESS II application forms are available to download at the link below.

  1. A PhD proposal of up to 1,000 words where you expand on your experience and interests and describe why you are a good candidate for this research studentship. Please refer to the Project Description.


Value of Award: A stipend of £14,340 (rising in accordance with inflation for the remaining two years). Each scholarship has an additional budget for travel, equipment/consumables and training to support your research. KESS II PhD Scholarship holders do not pay fees.

Length: Full-time for 3 years. (Theses must be submitted 6 months after the funded three year study period.)

Training: The achievement of a Postgraduate Skills Development Award (PSDA) is compulsory for each KESS II scholar (The PSDA is based on a 60 credit award, which is an additional award to the PhD).

Eligibility: To be eligible to apply for a KESS II award, you must be resident, upon starting the scholarship, in the Convergence Area of Wales and you must be able to take paid employment in the Convergence area on completion of the scholarship.

The Convergence Area means the following counties of Wales:

Isle of Anglesey
Neath Port Talbot
Rhondda Cynon Taff

For further student eligibility criteria related to the individual projects, please view the details of the individual project above.

Informal enquiries should be made to Ana Winters at or 01970 823207

Address for applications:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Recruitment & Admissions
Student Welcome Centre
Aberystwyth University
SY23 3FB

Quote Reference AU30026

Closing date for applications 30th July 2018