Due to the ongoing uncertainty with regards to Covid-19 we are following Swansea University policy and the M2A team are currently working from home. The M2A remains open and can be contacted via the usual phone number, email and social media channels. If you have applied for one of our projects the interview schedule may be affected. We will contact applicants in due course with further information.

Advanced food packaging for a sustainable future

Key Information

Academic supervisor: Prof Davide Deganello
Industrial supervisor: Craig Hardwick

Join us for our Virtual Open Day on March 17th 2021 to discover more about the M2A and what we have to offer as a scheme.

Development of new and advanced solutions for improved packaging of fresh food is fundamental to tackle important issues including the likes of improved recyclability, food safety, shelf lifetime, reduction of spoilage, and improved customer experience. Modern, low environmental impact packaging plays a key role in the development of a long-term, sustainable, and environmentally friendly supply chain.

Klöckner Pentaplast (KP) is at the forefront of plastic packaging solutions. Founded in 1965, KP has 32 plants in 18 countries, employing over 5,900 people. They are committed to serving customers worldwide, and to promote responsible innovations by supporting a circular economy approach where plastics are a source of valuable raw material.

For the fresh food packaging sector, core product groups include:
1.    Thermoformed trays. These are manufactured by thermoforming extruded rigid sheet (Polypropylene and PET), foam (expanded polystyrene) and the thermoforming of these sheets into food packaging.
2.    Associated Extruded films.

Project Aims:
The development of fresh food packaging for a fully circular economy requires new technologies to provide environmentally friendly solutions while reducing waste by enhancing food safety, shelf life, and product desirability of any fresh product.

The project aims to develop new solutions addressing important elements of this research question:
•    Sealing and barrier properties for mono-material thermoplastic packaging: Sealing between film lid and tray is critical for safety and shelf-life of the product. Moving towards a circular approach for resources, conventional approaches are questioned, with films and trays traditionally made of different materials which then cause challenges associated with recyclability. The project will focus to develop new solutions for complete package recycling at end of life, compatible with modern and future environmental needs.
•    Antifogging: In transparent food packaging, fogging inside the packaging is an important source of waste product, affecting the visibility and essentially reducing product desirability for the consumer. Through exploration of the phenomenon, the project aims to provide and test scalable viable solutions to this issue.

The project would be of particular interest for student’s intent on developing skills and expertise in sustainability, materials, and functional coatings. The student will develop the project in close association with company and its development team, with the company already maintaining experience of industrial supervision of doctoral candidates.

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 world­class laboratories and a wealth of academic and industry expertise. The M2A is committed to providing top quality 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 opportunity 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.

Before submitting an application for the project, please see our Hints & Tips document which can be found here.

Sponsoring Company Klöckner Pentaplast Group
Company Website Eligibility

We welcome applications with Materials or Chemical Engineering preferred, but other physical sciences accepted (Engineering disciplines, Physics, Chemistry). 2.1 or 1st class degree preferred, or equivalent relevant experience that would enable the candidate to fulfil the role.

Full eligibility can be found at https://www.materials-academy.co.uk/eligibility


Fees at Home / EU rate, and Stipend £20,000 per annum, for each of the four years.
For full details on funding eligibility, please refer to the Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) Website (Student Eligibility | M2A).
Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is not open to ‘International’ candidates.

Closing Date 5 April 2021

Start Date October 2021

Download Application Pack

Applications and informal enquiries about this studentship should be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk