Low temperature curing, printable, conductive inks to create natural fibre electronic textiles (E-Textiles)

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

PhD funding award: PhD Cotutelle

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/EU/International)

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

Application deadline: 9th March 2020

Interview date: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2020

For further details contact: Dr Latha Krishnan


This PhD project is part of the Cotutelle arrangement between Coventry University, UK and Deakin University, Victoria, Australia. The successful applicant will spend 1 year at Coventry University, the second year at Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), Deakin University and the remaining 1.5 years at Coventry University.

The supervision team will be drawn from the two universities.

Successful candidates will receive a full scholarship covering course fees and living costs. Students will study in both Universities and on successful completion will be awarded a PhD by both.

About the project

Electronic or E-Textiles are beginning to find diverse applications. The concept is that the textile itself becomes the substrate on which conductive areas can be placed. These conductive areas can be in the form of tracks (to create electronic circuitry), blocks (to produce sensors) or other shapes depending on the application. To achieve this aim methods are required to make areas of the textile conductive. Numerous approaches have been developed including printing conductive inks. However, these generally require a curing/sintering step which limits the range of textiles that can be printed and is particularly problematic when using fabrics formed from natural fibres.

This PhD programme will seek to develop a novel approach to making areas of natural fibre textiles conductive.  It is likely that the approach will involve stages involving the coating the natural-fibre textile with a dielectric paste followed by printing of the conductive ink. The conductive ink must be curable at low temperature and therefore novel approaches will be investigated to achieve this. Therefore, the formulation of the ink will be key and may involve the use of metal nanoparticles/nanowires (which will be synthesised during the study) or the blending of conductive polymers.

About the Functional Materials Research Group at Coventry University

The Functional Materials Research Group is an enthusiastic and dynamic research team with a very strong track-record and expertise in applied materials research to produce platform technologies addressing real industry needs.

For more information about the Research Centre, please visit the Research Centre web pages.

About the Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin University

The team at the Institute for Frontier Materials is made up of professors, research academics, research engineers, administrative staff, technical staff and IT technicians. They bring together engineering, chemistry, materials science, physics, biology, mathematics and other disciplines to develop new materials and engineering solutions.

Funding details

£15,009 (UKRI Stipend 2020/21 tbc) and full tuition fee covered.


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. 

The PhD will be a cotutelle with Deakin University. The successful applicants will develop expertise at both Deakin and Coventry in a textiles, nanoparticle/nanowire synthesis, ink formulation, printing technologies etc. In addition they will gain knowledge of a range of characterisation techniques for nanomaterials and textiles. By experiencing and living in 2 different countries the PhD will also provide the student with a wide cultural experience and they will receive a PhD from each institution.

Entry requirements

Successful applicants will have:

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree (second class honours upper division) in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 70% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 70% overall module average, and/or
  • A Masters Degree in a relevant subject area will be considered as an equivalent. The Masters must have been attained with overall marks at 70%. In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a mark at 70%
  • A minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)
  • Strong industrial experience is desirable
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study
  • It is essential that applicants have expertise and practical experience of chemistry
  • The candidate must be able to demonstrate experience of safe working practises in a chemical laboratory
  • An inquisitive nature and a willingness to learn
  • It would be advantageous (but not essential) if the applicant had a background in nanoparticle/nanowire synthesis
  • A knowledge of textile chemistry would be advantageous
  • Familiarity with some of techniques for nanomaterial and textile characterisation would be beneficial.
  • It would be advantageous if the applicant had knowledge of ink formulation and printing
  • Good communication, presentation and writing skills
  • Excellent team skills and able to work in a multi-cultural research group.

How to apply

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

Please note that applications must be made to both Universities.

Apply to Coventry University