PhD Engineering Scholarship: The Search for New Energy Vectors- Application of FPGAs to Computational Chemistry (2024)

A 3.5 year PhD Engineering scholarship under the supervision of Prof Peter Fussey.

What you get

You will receive a tax-free stipend at a standard rate of £19,237 per year and your fees will be waived (at the UK, EU, or International rate). In addition, to a one-off Research and Training Support Grant of £2,000.

Type of award

Postgraduate Research

PhD project

This project seeks to identify new energy vectors to replace fossil fuels. They will be sustainable, do not impact climate change and can be harnessed to release their energy in a controlled manner. 

There are many approaches to enable the transition of our energy systems to net zero CO2 emission systems. Energy density is an essential parameter in this transition and limits the applicability of hydrogen or electrification. Storage of energy in molecular systems – molecular energy vectors – isadvantageous in terms of energy density, storage and well-developed mechanisms of release.  

Hydrocarbons from fossil fuels have been highly successful as energy vectors due to their ability to store and release energy, combined with established systems for distribution. However, the use of fossil fuels is being phased out due to the contribution to climate change andthe need for a sustainable energy source. 

The proposed approach will harness computational chemistry to assess different chemical species against severalcriteria,e.g. specific energy storage and energy release rate, before moving on to consider criteria related to the application including; availability and synthesis, storage requirements andcontrol of energy release rate. 

The project consists of two phases:  

  • Structure generation and property assessment using graph theoretic methods and fast computational chemistry methods programmed on Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA’s) using HDL coder within the Simulink/Matlab toolset where possible.  

  • The output from the first phase will generate structures and properties, that can be combined with machine learning approaches to predict new systems, which will then be assessed in detail using high-level quantum chemical methods. 

We are looking for inquisitive minds capable of learning the computational chemistry methodologies, grasping the complex mathematical implementations of matrix algebra, configuring the calculations to exploit the FPGA architecture, utilisingMatlab/Simulink toolchains to develop the embedded solvers and then analysing the results and presenting them to non-experts across a wide range of industry sectors. 


This scholarship is available to UK, EU and overseas applicants. 

Eligible candidates will have an upper second-class (2:1) undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in a related field. 

The University of Sussex believes that the diversity of its staff and student community is fundamental to creative thinking, pedagogic innovation, intellectual challenge, and the interdisciplinary approach to research and learning. We celebrate and promote diversity,equality and inclusion amongst our staff and students. As such, we welcome applicants from all backgrounds.

Number of scholarships available



31 May 2024 23:59

How to apply

Apply online for a full time PhD in Engineering (SEP2024) using our step-by-step guide.

Please clearly state on your application that you are applying for the Search for New Energy Vectors- Application of FPGAs to Computational Chemistry under the supervision of Prof Peter Fussey.

Please ensure you application includes each of the following: 

  • A research proposal. For guidance on preparing your proposal, please see here. 
  • A personal statement.
  • Your CV.
  • Degree certificates and transcripts. 
  • 2 references, including a minimum of 1 from any institution studied at within the last 5 years.
  • If your first language is not English you will need to demonstrate that you meet the University’s English language requirements, see here for details of our accepted documentation. 

Contact us

For general enquiries, please email 

For project specific queries, please email



Application deadline: 31st May 2024 23:59 GMT 

Interviews: Mid June 2024

Offers issued to successful candidates: By the 1st July 

PhD entry: 16th September 2024


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
31 May 2024 23:59 (GMT)


The award is available to people from these specific countries: