PhD with Integrated Study in Fuel Cells and their Fuels

Start date
All year
4 years full-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Combined research and taught, Doctoral research

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:
£4,500 (UK students)
£23,580 (International Students)
Further fee information is available.

The PhD with Integrated Study in Fuel Cells and their Fuels is part of an EPSRC funded Doctoral Training Centre which is a partnership between University of Birmingham, University of Nottingham, Loughborough University, UCL and Imperial College London with studentships being awarded by each of the partners.


Please rest assured that we will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Information for future students and applicants

This programme 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; nurturing the student partnerships 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.

You will be involved in credit and non-credit based activities, across a flexible training programme which you can tailor to address your 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.

Why study PhD with Integrated Study in Fuel Cells and their Fuels?

  • 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.
  • 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.

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You 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.

Core modules, worth 70 credits

  • Energy Systems
  • FCH Technology
  • Materials for FCH
  • Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Safety I & II
  • Business Methods, Economics & Strategy
  • Project Management

These 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.  

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods.


Annual Tuition Fees 2021/22 academic year

  • £4,500 UK students, full-time
  • £2,250 UK students, part-time
  • £23,580 International students, full-time

Note: Fees to be confirmed by RCUK spring 2021. Learn more about fees and funding.

Eligibility Requirements (unless self-funded)

 Residence criteria

 To be eligible for the full award – consisting stipend and fees – the applicant must have:

  1. ‘settled’ status in the UK, meaning no restrictions on how long they can stay
  2. been ordinarily resident in the UK for a minimum of 3 consecutive years before the programme begins 
  3. spent no part of that residence wholly or mainly for receiving full-time education

 UK National Applicants who are UK nationals and who have lived all their lives in the UK will automatically satisfy all three residence criteria.

Postgraduate Doctoral Loan

A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD.

Follow the video link below to find out more
Postgraduate Doctoral Loan

Further information is available at the student finance zone.


We offer a range of postgraduate scholarships for taught programmes and research opportunities to ensure the very best talent is nurtured and supported at postgraduate level.

Additional scholarships can be found in the funding database.


How To Apply

Please email your CV to

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

A 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant subject (eg, Chemical Engineering or any other subject relevant to the research project, including Social Sciences) Learn more about entry requirements

International Requirements

International Students

English language

For students whose first language is not English, one of the following English language qualifications are required:


IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 80 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 51 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 169, with no less than 162 in any component

The Birmingham Centre for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Research, nationally and internationally recognised for expertise in fuel cells, the Centre focuses on research and development, applications and demonstrations of fuel cell and hydrogen systems and technologies.

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in for Fuel Cells and their Fuels builds on the success of the 'Hydrogen, Fuels Cells and Their Applications' centre, which was established in 2009 in collaboration with the Midlands Energy Consortium (MEC.) Drawing upon expertise and research facilities at the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham, Imperial College London and University College London, the CDT is a flagship collaboration undertaking research in a breadth of fuel cell related fields.

By exploring global energy problems, our aim is to train a new generation of scientists and engineers to address interdisciplinary challenges involved in the transition to a sustainable energy future.  To achieve this, within the CDT we are investigating the wide range of fuels used in fuel cells today. This includes direct use of natural gas, ethanol, gasification syn-gas and other biomass products in addition to hydrogen.

The School of Chemical Engineering at Birmingham is one of the three largest centres for the postgraduate education of chemical engineers in the UK. We have pioneered development and research in rapidly expanding new areas such as pharmaceuticals and bioproducts, food processing, hydrogen fuel cells and energy research.

The programme

  • Lasts for four years
  • Has taught modules (120 credits) in the first three years in Science, Engineering, Energy, Teambuilding, Business, Economics and Management
  • Provides research in fuel cell technologies
  • Provides a stipend with University fees paid by EPSRC
  • Involves industry

It is based within the Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) in Fuel Cells and Their Fuels. Drawing upon expertise and research facilities at the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham, Imperial College London and University College London, the CDT is a flagship collaboration undertaking research in a breadth of fuel cell related fields.

Student centred approach

The 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’.

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