Highly conductive, and washable graphene-based ink for e-textiles

Eligibility: UK/EU/International graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/International (including EU at international rates from Sept 21)

Duration: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 27 May 2023

Interview date: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2023

For further details contact: Maryam Naebe or Andrew Cobley


This PhD project is part of the Cotutelle arrangement between Coventry University, UK and Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

The successful applicant will spend the 1st year at Deakin University and the following year at Coventry University and then the final 1.5 years at Deakin University

The supervision team will be drawn from the two Universities.

The successful PhD Student will be awarded a studentship from Coventry University with the supervision team being drawn from Deakin University and Coventry University. The PhD Student will graduate with two testamurs, one from Deakin University and one from Coventry University, each of which recognises that the program was carried out as part of a jointly supervised doctoral program. The programme is for a duration of 4 years.

Project details

The technologies for manufacturing e-textiles are rising due to their significant deliverable across different industry segments, such as medical, sports, military, automotive, aerospace, fashion, built environment and energy harvesting [1]. Current market e-textiles are mostly achieved by specialised sewing, weaving, braiding or embroidery of conductive yarns, which are complex processes and consumes longer time [2]. Therefore, printing or coating of textiles by conductive inks is growing attention due to its process simplicity and additional benefits, such as flexibility and comfort. In this purpose graphene oxide (GO)-based inks are a superior choice due to their proven success on higher conductivity and better washability [3-5].

However, most of the graphene ink development processes use unsustainable toxic solvents, such as dimethylformamide (DMF) and N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP), a key obstacle for industrial production [3]. Besides, till now the e-textiles prepared are mainly based on manmade fibres or natural/manmade hybrid [2], though pure natural fibre, such as cotton or wool has received rare attentions. These natural fibres possess superior heat transfer and moisture management properties compared to synthetic fibres, making them more comfortable next to skin. Therefore, wearable e-textiles based on pure natural fibres are more desirable to the users.

This research is built on our previous work [4,5] and aims to provide a fundamental understanding on deriving graphene-based conductive ink through environmentally friendly solvents and its applicability on fabrics made from pure natural fibres such as cotton and wool, using industry-adaptable method, such as screen printing or dip coating. This project also aims to investigate the wearability, such as stability of the printed ink in repeated washing and against repeated extension and bending during its wear.

The innovation expected from the project will be particularly significant for e-textiles industry to derive additional benefits of using natural fibres and developing cleaner and more sustainable way of manufacturing. The project will also provide an excellent research training platform to a young scientist through PhD which will be an asset to the sustainable research sector.


[1] G.K. Stylios, Novel Smart Textiles, Materials 13(4) (2020) 950.

[2] S. Afroj, S. Tan, A.M. Abdelkader, K.S. Novoselov, N. Karim, Highly conductive, scalable, and machine washable graphene‐based E‐textiles for multifunctional wearable electronic applications, Advanced Functional Materials 30(23) (2020) 2000293.

[3] K. Pan, Y. Fan, T. Leng, J. Li, Z. Xin, J. Zhang, L. Hao, J. Gallop, K.S. Novoselov, Z. Hu, Sustainable production of highly conductive multilayer graphene ink for wireless connectivity and IoT applications, Nature communications 9(1) (2018) 1-10.

[4] MA Al Faruque, R Remadevi, A Guirguis, A Kiziltas, DF Mielewski, M Naebe, Graphene oxide incorporated waste wool/PAN hybrid fibres, Scientific Reports 11 (1) (2021), 12068.

[5] MA Al Faruque, A Kiziltas, D Mielewski, M Naebe, A Facile Approach of Fabricating Electrically Conductive Knitted Fabrics Using Graphene Oxide and Textile-Based Waste Material

Polymers 13 (17) (2021), 3003.


Tuition fees, stipend (£18,622 p/a) and additional allowances.


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities. 

Candidate specification

Applicants must meet the admission and scholarship criteria for both Coventry University and Deakin University for entry to the cotutelle programme 

This includes;  

  • Applicants should have graduated within the top 15% of their undergraduate cohort. This might include a high 2:1 in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 70% mark (80% for Australian graduates) in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 70% overall module average (80% for Australian graduates). 
  • A Masters degree in a relevant subject area, with overall mark at minimum Merit level. In addition, the mark for the Masters dissertation (or equivalent) must be a minimum of 80%. Please note that where a candidate has 70-79% and can provide evidence of research experience to meet equivalency to the minimum first-class honours equivalent (80%+) additional evidence can be submitted and may include independently peer-reviewed publications, research-related awards or prizes and/or professional reports. 
  • Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).  
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study.  

For an overview of each University’s entry requirements please visit:  



Please note that it is essential that applicants confirm that they are able to physically locate to both Coventry University (UK) and Deakin University (Australia).

How to apply

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus an up to 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project. 

All candidates must apply to both Universities.

To find out more about the project please contact:

Coventry –  Andrew Cobley

Deakin - Maryam Naebe

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