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Functional Nanomaterials

Bristol Centre for Functional Nanomaterials (BCFN) is a nationally-funded (EPSRC) Centre for Doctoral Training. Our four-year integrated PhD programme begins with a structured year of training, giving you all the foundation skills necessary for you to prosper in your PhD research.

There is a very strong emphasis on exploration and students are actively encouraged to try different research themes before choosing their PhD topic.

Other features of the first year:

+ Interdisciplinary research projects giving you practical training in all the key characterisation and fabrication techniques in a variety of different labs

+ Expert-led group-work, practical sessions and lecture courses in advanced topics

+ Real training from scientists working in world-leading companies so you can see real-world applications of research

+ A visit to a leading centre overseas

+ A six-month extended project on a topic of your choice, during which you will choose your PhD project

+ Extensive skills training in leadership, creativity, writing, presenting, group work, leading discussions, etc.

After the first year, students usually move to an academic department in the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Health Sciences or Life Sciences for their PhD project but remain a BCFN student and keep close ties through taking part in teaching, regular seminars and events.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in physics, chemistry, materials science or a related subject (eg MSci, MPhys, MEng, MChem). Applicants with a upper second-class honours BSc degree may be considered if they can demonstrate very good potential for research.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Course modules

The first year of our four-year programme has been designed to provide you with all the skills needed for effective interdisciplinary research in functional nanomaterials. Training and research run in parallel, with the first six months weighted towards lecture courses and skills training. The second half of the year focuses on the extended project, which has the possibility of becoming your PhD project. There are also regular industrial training modules and transferable skills sessions.

After your first year you will start work on your PhD project. You will continue to take part in a wide range of BCFN activities, including research seminars, transferable skills training, international travel opportunities and the annual BCFN conference.

In the first year you will be based in the BCFN PhD cohort office in the School of Physics. From the second year onwards you will be located in the academic departments of your supervisors.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for the first year of the EPSRC Functional Nanomaterials CDT programme. (

Sponsorship information

UK nationals are eligible for an EPSRC studentship, which covers tuition fees and living costs. This also applies to EU nationals who have lived in the UK for at least three years.

We welcome applications from self-funded students from anywhere in the world.

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