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Cotutelle PhD Studentship

Particle mixing in dynamic microscopic waterscapes: Implications for microbial ecology

Start date: 03 October 2022

Duration: 3.5 Years

The project:

We are looking for an enthusiastic and dynamic individual with previous qualifications in a relevant field (including engineering, fluid dynamics, and physics) to undertake a PhD project to understand the particle mixing in dynamic microscopic waterscapes. The successful candidate will join the School of Engineering at Warwick University and Center for Fluid and Complex Systems at Coventry University.

Surfaces are typically covered with liquid films and droplets, that can evolve in time and space due to complex interactions between capillarity, interfacial tension, and depending on temperature and humidity controlling evaporation (drying) and condensation (wetting). The presence of microscopic particles can give rise to a plethora of fascinating phenomena, as well as to beautiful patterns, associated with self-organization and collective properties of disordered systems. While some phenomenon, for instance the depositional process termed “coffee ring effect”, has been intensely studied, other phenomena remain elusive. One seemingly simple example is mixing of two types of particles during drying/wetting cycles. Deciphering the dynamics of particle mixing, deposition and dispersion is not only a central problem in soft and condensed matter physics, but also governs a host of microbiological systems, where fluid flow affects the interactions between bacterial cells within microbial populations which in turn determine their ability to communicate, cooperate, and survive on surfaces ranging from plant leaves to antibacterial surfaces.

In this project, you will use experiments and numerical simulations to expose the underlying physics of droplets containing microscopic particles, and establish links to problems in microbiology and ecology.


The award will cover the tuition fees at the UK student rate, plus a stipend of £16,062 per annum for 3.5 years of full-time study. International candidates are welcome to apply, but you will have to seek alternative funding sources to meet the fee difference.


Candidates should have a degree in a relevant subject, including Engineering, Physics, and Fluid Dynamics. Experience with laboratory experiments and computer simulations is highly desirable. Applicants should normally possess at least an upper second-class honours standard or the equivalent and/or a Master's degree at Merit level or its equivalent.

How to apply:

This is a cotutelle PhD studentship that provides the applicant with a joint degree from the University of Warwick and Coventry University.

For further details about the project please contact Dr. Ran Holtzman or Dr. Soroush Abolfathi. Interested applicants should send an up-to-date curriculum vitae via email to Dr Abolfathi. Suitable candidates will be invited to an interview. The successful applicant will be then required to complete the formal electronic application form for doctoral studies at the School of Engineering, University of Warwick, in order for their qualifications to be addressed by the College Registry. Details of how to do so can be found here 

If you have any questions or would like more information on the above, please contact:

Dr. Ran Holtzman, Theme lead at the Center for Fluid and Complex Systems, Coventry University (

Dr. Soroush Abolfathi, Academic Co-lead, Global Research Priorities in Sustainable Cities, University of Warwick (

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The University of Warwick provides an inclusive working and learning environment, recognising and respecting every individual’s differences. We welcome applications from individuals who identify with any of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010.