EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fuel Cells and their Fuels 'PhD with Integrated Study in Fuel Cells and their Fuels' Programme


Fuel Cells and Their Fuels

The programme is four years full-time and has taught and research components. Further information is available on the programme course finder entry.


This EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fuel Cells and their Fuels aims to attract students from a diverse range of disciplines from chemistry and engineering through to social scientists. Fostering the differing intellectual qualities, backgrounds, and cultures and nurturing the student partnerships is achieved through the cohort development strategy of the training programme.

This 4 year programme combines 120 credits of taught modules with a full research PhD. With the intention to produce future energy leaders, an insight into the needs of industry was paramount in shaping this training programme. Co-creation meetings with industrial partners identified five core skill requirements needed of future graduates for company employability. These were (1) team building (2) in-depth expertise on a particular topic (3) appreciation of the challenges of real world applications (4) industry prepared future employees (5) broad fundamental knowledge. These elements were introduced to the CDT programme by academic teaching and increased industry involvement and through the utilisation of other training activities such as seminars, mini-projects, placement opportunities and the soft skill training offered for instance through our institutional Graduate Schools. To support a student centred approach to developing the programme, students from the existing Hydrogen and Fuel Cell CDT were consulted on the current training programme. Ten key areas were identified through this process that students pointed out as important to them. These were (1) project management skills (2) training throughout the programme (3) more cross-university interaction (4) group activities (5) broad fuel cell knowledge acquisition (6) industry interaction (7) research skills (8) specific PhD knowledge acquisition (9) personal development (10) a ‘student voice’. 

Students will be involved in credit and non-credit based activities, across a flexible training programme which students can tailor to address their skills needs.  The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fuel Cells and their Fuels PhD programme has technical training elements, innovative training, cohort building, industrial context training, and public engagement activities. It is tailored to allow students to develop their technical skills across 4 years. Alongside the technical training, insight is given into working in industry and research, both nationally and internationally, not forgetting an understanding of societal challenges and the politics of climate change and industrial innovation at a national, as well as larger EU and worldwide level.

Across the first 18 months of studies students will take 70 credits of compulsory taught modules (delivered at UoB), adding another 50 credits of optional modules taken from any of the partner universities.

The mini-projects include a public engagement activity in the 1st year, an interdisciplinary project in year 2, and an industrial placement in the 3rd year, where the order of these projects has been chosen to allow students to make best use of their skills acquired at the relevant point in time.

Why study this course?

The fuel cell sector is rapidly expanding, with a continued demand for skilled people in the field of energy cells. By studying this course, researchers have the opportunity to become experts in sustainable energy technology. A rounded approach is developed throughout the course enabling greater skills to inform public opinion, political decision making and bridges the gap between academia and industry.

By studying from a breadth of knowledge and expertise in the consortium of universities, students have the opportunity to study an unmatched level of projects related to their own interests and skill sets, as well as interacting with other students across a diverse range of subject disciplines.


Students will undertake 120 credits from modules delivered across the partnership within the first 18 months of training. The taught component will give students the understanding needed for the multi-disciplinary approach typical for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen (FCH) R&D. Seven core modules (Energy Systems; FCH Technology; Materials for FCH; Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Safety I & II; Business Methods, Economics & Strategy; Project Management) worth 70 credits are complemented by optional modules (50 credits) in a wide range of subjects drawn from across the Centre, from specialised topics to the more cross-cutting modules such as Social Research, and Business Development. The modules on Entrepreneurial and Business Skills were identified by our industrial partners as developing key transferable skills and prepare the students for professional life after graduation.  

Fees and Funding


Doctoral Researchers will receive a tax-free stipend of £14,600 per annum. The home university is responsible for stipend payments, reimbursement of expenses and other financial matters.


Residence criteria

To be eligible for the full award – consisting stipend and fees – the applicant must have:(a) ‘settled’ status in the UK, meaning no restrictions on how long they can stay
(b) been ordinarily resident in the UK for a minimum of 3 consecutive years before the programme begins
(c) spent no part of that residence wholly or mainly for receiving full-time education

  • UK Nationals Applicants who are UK nationals and who have lived all their lives in the UK will automatically satisfy all three residence criteria.
  • EU Nationals EU nationals are not required to meet residence criteria (a) and (c). They may qualify for full awards if they fulfil criterion (b). Otherwise, they may qualify for ‘fees-only’ awards.

Professional memberships

Doctoral Researchers are strongly encouraged to apply for membership of relevant institutes or professional bodies. 


The Midlands Energy Consortium (MEC) comprises the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, University of Nottingham, University of Warwick and BGS. The consortium draws on the synergies, expertise and resources across three institutions' energy research activities.

To explore the energy research investment and collaborations led by the MEC, visit their website.

How to apply

To apply please send a copy of your CV to hfc@contacts.bham.ac.uk for consideration.  Your application will be considered by the CDT board for best fit with current available research topics and if there is suitable project you will be invited to attend interview.

If successful you will be offered a project at one of the partner institutions subject to EPSRC funding eligibility and admissions criteria at the University where you would be based.  

Supporting documents

All applications must be supported by the following documents, although these may be uploaded or sent separately from the main application form:

  • Copy of CV