New generation insulation material for use within the building envelope

Key Information

Supervisors: TBC

TATA steel is Europe’s second largest steel producer and under its Building Systems division, has extensive insulating panel manufacturing capabilities throughout Europe. In the UK alone, the steel faced insulated panel market is worth over £200 million pounds per annum. This type of produce is governed by European Standard EN14509.

Since the Grenfell Tower disaster in June 2017, reviews of building regulations have resulted in all combustible materials being banned for high rise residential building. Further reviews for all building types are ongoing. With building designers not being allowed to use highly efficient thermally insulating product (i.e. PIR foams) in these types of buildings, demand is rising for non-combustible products (stone wool). With weight and thermal performance being approximately half of the combustible alternatives, the result is lower thermal efficiency in new and refurbished buildings and greater structural costs.

In order to meet government targets on CO2 and gain efficiencies within building design, TATA Steel UK would like to offer a Research Engineer the opportunity to investigate novel insulating materials that are non-combustible, <50Kg/m3, below 0.035 W/mK and lends itself to adhering to steel face skins.

The Research Engineer will have close links with the insulating panel manufacturing site in North Wales with a requirement for outcomes to be rolled out to other building Systems panel producers in Main-land Europe. This will require consideration of manufacturing capabilities and legislative drivers at each site.

Based at Swansea University the Research Engineer will be supported by the Academic Staff and have full use of research facilities. This is an excellent opportunity to be at the forefront of Academic Scientific Research with strong links to Industry, resulting in a breadth of experience from both fields within a range of disciplines.

Swansea University is a top 30 UK institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014) and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

The Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) in the College of Engineering is a Swansea University initiative which provides postgraduate research training in partnership with industry; providing access to world-class laboratories and a wealth of academic and industry expertise. The M2A is committed to delivering high quality collaborative research opportunities within an inclusive environment, funded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Swansea University and Industry partners. 

Interwoven through the research study are business, technical and entrepreneurial courses, designed to support and prepare participants for a senior role in industry or academia, on completion of their studies. Research Engineers may participate in our career mentoring system, offering opportunities to engage with M2A alumni and other senior staff from across the University.  

The Athena SWAN charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN bronze award holder and is committee to addressing unequal gender representation.

Applications from women are particularly welcomed. As a positive action to address gender imbalance, female undergraduates considering a career in research are invited to join our two-day laboratory taster session and learn about a typical day in the life of a research engineer.

Sponsoring Company TATA Steel - Building Systems
Company Website Eligibility

We welcome applications from candidates with an Engineering or Physical Science degree (minimum level 2:1), or a combination of degree and equivalent relevant experience to the same level to join the M2A community of research engineers.

To be eligible for WEFO funding, applicants should:

  • Be a UK or EU citizen (eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University) and have the right to work in Wales at the end of their studies.
  • Be resident within West Wales and the Valleys at the time of enrolment and for the duration of the candidature.
  • Must not be financially able to participate in study for a postgraduate research degree without the award of this funding.

 To be eligible for EPSRC funding, applicants should:

  • Be eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University.
  • Have settled status in the UK, meaning no restrictions on the length of stay in the UK; and be ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the grant, apart from temporary or occasional absences.
  • Not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. This does not apply to UK nationals and EU nationals who were ordinarily resident in the EU immediately before the period of full-time education.

Full fees at Home/EU rate for a period of four academic years. Maintenance stipend at £20K per annum for a period of four years.

Closing Date 15 March 2019

Start Date October 2019

Apply Now

Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk