Materials / Chemical Engineering: Cadmium metal mine pollutant removal through nano-absorbents and their recovery for photocatalysis applications : Masters by Research

Location: Swansea University – College of Engineering, Bay Campus.

Annual Stipend: £11,702

Application Deadline: 15th November 2019 (Start date – early January 2020)

Project Description (max 500 words):

 The aim of this project is to develop recyclable nano-filter 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 the 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 discharge. 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 application will work under the supervision of Dr Sughagar 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 skills sets including nanomaterial synthesis, chemical analysis (GC – MS, HPLC) from other collaborators (University of College of London). The successful student will also utilise our world-class facilities available at SPECIFIC, College of Engineering in 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.

The scholarship offers all eligible participants (student):

  • KESS Scholarship holders do not pay fees
  • A monthly stipend to £11,702 per annum
  • An additional budget to support your research of £3,000 for travel, conference attendance, minor equipment, consumables and training
  • An opportunity to access a suite of higher level skills training & attendance at a residential KESS Grad School
  • A minimum of 30 days a year working with the company partner on their allocated project
  • All participants must complete the KESS Postgraduate Skills Development Award


Candidates should have a 2.1 or above in the undergraduate degree in a closely related subject. They should also be eligible for UK/EU fees (see–advice/fees-and-money/Wales-fee-status for more information. For more information on eligibility criteria please refer to section C of the KESS 2 Participant Proposal From.

How to Apply:

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

To apply:

  1. Complete the KESS 2 Participant Proposal Form – and return to
  2. Complete the KESS 2 Supplementary form – and return to

You will also need to provide copies of the following documentation:

  • Degree certificate/s
  • Two references*
  • CV
  • English language certificate (if required)
  • All supporting documentation as detailed in Section C of the KESS 2 Participant Proposal Form
  • *The references can take the form of a letter on official headed paper, or via the Universities standard reference form. Alternatively, referees can directly email a reference from their employer email account to Please note that references received via private emails accounts (e.g. Hotmail, yahoo) cannot be accepted.

Please return both application forms and supporting documentation to the KESS office at the address stated on the KESS application form (original ink signatures only)

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

For other queries, please contact:

 Mandatory text, do not delete:

Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.

Due to ESF funding, eligibility restrictions apply to this scholarship. To be eligible, the successful candidate will need to be resident in the Convergence Area of Wales on University registration, and must have the right to work in the region on qualification.