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The Internet of Persuasive Things and Material Recovery for Completing the Circular Economy Cycle of Plastic Waste


This PhD studentship in Computer Science will combine computing science and plastic waste conversion technology to develop a novel, digital eco-system that can positively influencing people’s behaviour (at different stages of the plastic circular economy) with the aim of reducing dependence on natural resources. It is located in Open Lab (the University’s centre for cross-disciplinary research in digital technologies and a world leading humancomputer interaction research group) at the School of Computing in collaboration with the School of Engineering.


Plastic is versatile and convenient in our modern society evidenced by a steady increase in plastic demand. It is non-biodegradable but disintegrates into small fragments under the sunlight, which have polluted water sources and affected life under the water. Recycling of plastic is still very limited (more than 31% plastic waste ended in landfill in the EU/UK whereas >80% in USA.) Plastic is produced from petroleum-based feedstock, which potentially can recover materials for its next cycle, creating circular economy of plastic waste. The project will investigate the role of technology in collecting data of the plastic material lifecycle along with the human decisions made at key points in the process, and in persuading people throughout their different roles in the process lifecycle to make more responsible and environmentally friendly decisions. The project builds on the fields of interaction design, persuasive technologies, Internet of Things, data science and plastic material conversion technology.


You will develop the knowledge and expertise necessary to succeed in an interdisciplinary research environment. In partnership with your supervisory team, you will develop a Personal Development Plan, identifying areas for development and training. You will have the opportunity to attend international summer schools, workshops and courses, and to participate in Masters-level training, including MSc modules from Chemical Engineering and Computing.


This project is EPSRC funded, and the application deadline is 15th February 2019. For more information, see flyer available here, or contact either Dr Ahmed Kharrufa or Dr Anh Phan.




 Last modified: 11-Jan-2019