Synthesis and characterisation of mesoporous phosphate-based glasses for biomedical applications

Start date
1 January 2023
4 years
Application deadline
Funding source
Funding information

Full UK tuition fees covered for 4 years. Stipend at £18,609 p.a. increase pending.


Applications are invited to apply for a 4-year UKRI/EPSRC funded PhD studentship at the University of Surrey in collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) on the synthesis and characterisation of a new class of mesoporous bioresorbable biomaterials.  

The project will explore novel template strategies based on the sol-gel and coacervation processes for the synthesis of mesoporous phosphate-based glasses (MPG) with exceptionally high surface areas, tunable pore size and distribution. In particular, the proposal aims to synthetize sol-gel MPG with two dimensional (2D, hexagonal) channels of pores and three dimensional (3D, cubic) arrangements of interconnected pores in solution by using supramolecular chemistry. Compared to the current state of bioresorbable materials, an ordered arrangement of mesopores will facilitate the absorption and delivery of therapeutic molecules. Highly mesoporous materials are therefore excellent candidates for biomedical applications, in particular for targeted delivery of therapeutic molecules/ions into the damaged site and simultaneous tissue regeneration (hard and soft). MPG will be embedded with antibacterial metallic ions (e.g. Ag+, Cu2+, Zn2+); ion release and antibacterial activities will be investigated and correlated with the porous structure.

Structural and morphological characterization of the mesoporous nanocomposites will be investigated using a multi-technique approach involving surface/pore size and volume analysis via physisorption, thermal analysis, transmission and scanning electron microscopy (TEM/SEM), X-ray diffraction, and X-ray absorption diffraction/spectroscopy at synchrotron radiation facilities.

Spanning across materials science, chemistry, biology and medicine, this proposal is truly multidisciplinary. The PhD candidate will develop a range of complementary skills in fabrication (sol-gel, supramolecular templating, coacervation), antibacterial testing and cutting-edge characterisation techniques in addition to unique training and expertise in measurements at the micro and nanoscale at NPL. The successful applicant will have access to the professional training courses and support offered by NPL’s Postgraduate Institute for Measurement Science (PGI) and Surrey’s Doctoral College.

This studentship is for a January 2023 start.

Related links
The National Physical Laboratory

NPL is the UK's National Metrology Institute, developing and maintaining the national primary measurement standards. The successful candidate will have access to a suite of microstructural characterisation tools and mechanical test systems capable of measurement and characterisation across different length scales. They will also have access to training in metrology and access to facilities and expertise housed at our main Teddington site. 

Eligibility criteria

This studentship is for students with UK or EU settled status only. Candidates must have a first class or 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in a relevant scientific discipline, including Biomaterial Science, Chemistry, Physics, Chemical Engineering and Material Science and a strong interest in bio/nanomaterials.

Language requirements

For non-native English speakers: An average score of 6.5 with each individual category at least 6.0 in an Academic IELTS test not older than two years, or equivalent English language qualification.

How to apply

Applications can be made through the Chemistry PhD page via the “apply" tab. Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application.

Please contact Dr D. Carta ( before applying.

Chemistry PhD

Application deadline

Contact details

Daniela Carta

31 AZ 03

Telephone: +44 (0)1483 689587


Dr Sofia Marchesini


Dr Tony Fry



Studentships at Surrey

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