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PhD - Understanding and scale up of secondary nucleation in pharmaceutical crystallisation


Research Field
Formal sciences
Professions and applied sciences
Funding Type
Career Stage
First Stage Researcher (R1) (Up to the point of PhD)
European Research Programme
Not funded by an EU programme



Nucleation of crystals from solution is a crucial part of many manufacturing processes, in global sectors including pharmaceuticals, medicine, foods, chemicals and advanced materials. Nevertheless, despite many years of detailed study, nucleation remains poorly understood at the fundamental as well as the practical application level.

This project, co-funded by industrial partners GSK, aims at furthering our understanding of the key role so-called secondary nucleation plays in pharmaceutical manufacturing process design. Secondary nucleation is where new nuclei are triggered and controlled by the addition of pre-existing nuclei to a manufacturing process. This project aims at furthering our understanding of how secondary nucleation works and can be optimised at scales relevant to industrial manufacture. There are two major physical aspects of the process that become important under manufacturing conditions but whose effects are not well understood: firstly, the impact on nucleation and growth of the turbulent shear flow typical in industrial reactors; and secondly the effect of mechanical impact between existing seed (and secondary-nucleated) crystals in the typical manufacturing feedstock consisting of a slurry of seed crystals. The project will contribute both fundamental insight into material behaviour and phenomenology, and progress in advanced industrial manufacturing methods.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:

What is funded

The studentship covers full fees at the Home student rate as well as a tax-free stipend for four years. International students may apply if they are able to contribute the difference between home and international fees.


Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering/science discipline, and be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research.


Organisation name
University of Strathclyde - Chemical and Process Engineering
Organisation Country
More Information

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