Global warming and climate change are consequences of greenhouse gases produced by burning fossil fuels. These gases trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere. By reducing these greenhouse gases, net zero emissions may be achieved. It is the United Nations’ (UN) aim to secure global net zero by the year 2050. Phasing out fossil fuels in favour of greener alternatives, such as hydrogen fuel, is therefore imperative. However, deployment of hydrogen as a fuel for power generation still requires significant research and therefore bridging technologies are also required to help achieve the UN aim.

Successful bridging technologies must be adopted as early as possible to ensure greenhouse emissions produced by power generating devices, such as gas turbines, are reduced. This includes research into hydrogen combustion for a wide range of applications, including aviation and industrial activities such as electric power generation and pumping activities.

This PhD project involves researching the bridging technologies on behalf of the industrial sponsor Siemens Energy Industrial Turbomachinery Limited, which is a manufacturer of industrial gas turbines (IGT). The successful research into those bridging technologies (which will include modelling and experimental work) will reduce greenhouse emissions by enabling operation of the IGTs at higher metal temperatures and with novel fuels. The proposed research therefore aims to develop coating technologies, which will provide component materials the ability to cope with higher operating temperatures, and may be further beneficial when hydrogen fuel, or other novel green fuels, become standard, as these fuels may induce higher operating temperatures.
The proposed research will be co-funded by the prestigious EPSRC iCASE (Industrial Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering) award and the industrial sponsor, providing a four-year tax free fully funded PhD studentship.

The successful candidate will work within a multi-disciplinary team supported by academics and industrial supervisors. Upon completion of the research, the successful candidate will have developed understanding/expertise in the bridging technologies and environmental issues, in coating, which may ultimately lead to a future in either academia or industry.

Cranfield University is a unique learning environment with world-class programmes, and close links with business, industry, and governments, all combining to attract the best students and teaching staff from around the world. In the last Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment, 81% of research at Cranfield was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. Siemens Energy drives innovation, develops new technologies, applies cutting edge manufacturing technologies – all to deliver the most advanced IGTs that will set new standards in terms of efficiency, reliability, and emission reduction. ‘Let’s make tomorrow different today’ is Siemens Energy’s genuine commitment to customers and employees on the way to a sustainable future.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work alongside the industry sponsor and gain significant experience in industrial research and development as well as to present at national and international conferences. Appropriate levels of technical training will be provided including design of experiments, a range of analytical skills, and other transferable skills (including presentation, organisational and project management). The combination of academic and industry contacts will be beneficial to the candidate’s learning experience, future employability, and career development.


At a glance

  • Application deadlineOngoing
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date02 Oct 2023
  • Duration of award4 years
  • EligibilityUK
  • Reference numberSWEE0210


Dr Joy Sumner (Cranfield University, e-mail:
Dr Neil Chapman (Siemens Energy Industrial Turbomachinery Ltd, email:

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first- or second-class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline. This project would suit an applicant with a chemistry, materials science/engineering, or mechanical/chemical engineering background.


Sponsored by the EPSRC and Siemens Energy Industrial Turbomachinery Ltd, this iCASE studentship will provide a bursary of up to £21,559 p.a. (tax-free) plus UK Home student fees for four years. 

Our Values

Our shared, stated values help to define who we are and underpin everything we do: Ambition; Impact; Respect; and Community. Find out more here. We aim to create and maintain a culture in which everyone can work and study together and realise their full potential.

Diversity and Inclusion

Our equal opportunities and diversity monitoring has shown that women and minority ethnic groups are currently underrepresented within the university and so we actively encourage applications from eligible candidates from these groups.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

For further information please contact: 
Dr Joy Sumner
T: (0) 1234 750111 Ext: 4121   

If you are eligible to apply for this studentship, please complete the online application form.

For further information contact us today:
T: +44 (0)1234 758082