Materials and meta data for electrolysis and hydrogen production

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Techniques like electrodeposition, thermal decomposition, electroless plating, pressing, sintering, and coating are the traditional catalysts manufacturing routes for electrolysers.

MRes | MPhil | PhD | MSc by Research
Start Date
Usually February and October - at individual School's discretion


To produce green hydrogen, there are mainly ten known types of electrolysis: (i) proton exchange membrane (PEM), (ii) anion exchange membrane (AEM), (iii) solid oxide water electrolysis (SOWE), (iv) alkaline water electrolysis (AWE), (v) photolysis, (vi) thermochemical, (vii) photoelectrochemical, (viii) geothermal closed loop, (ix) supercritical solutions (HPHT), and (x) untreated seawater electrolysis.

Within the coating route, there are methods (e.g., physical: physical vapor deposition, dip-coating, spin-coating, casting, filtration, lay-by-layer assembly, thermal spray; and chemical: coupling agents, sol-gel method, chemical vapor deposition, surface grafting, in-situ growth, electroless plating, electroplating) for functional catalytic membrane development.

Each electrolyser types, choice of materials and manufacturing comes with challenges, and therefore data centric approach (at least focusing on one manufacturing route, e.g., coating) may accelerate change in discovery and data practices.

With research gap in material selection strategies, proposed hydrogen production informatics will be critical to advancing applications exploiting their catalyst properties for hydrogen production. This is also directly aligned with post-COP26 global Hydrogen and Net Zero Strategy. With following objectives, we aim to develop a method in the field of materials used in all electrolysis types leading to the development of green hydrogen production informatics.

  • Electrolyser material data gathering from open access followed by data classification (i.e., numerical, categorical, time-series, text)
  • Create machine learning (ML) predictive tool to analyse sensitivity of the electrolyser performance with respect to materials, manufacturing, and electrolyser types. This will be carried by developing algorithm which can read the data, create dependent and independent data sets based on associated features, splitting the data in training, and testing sets, training the model using the algorithm, evaluating the classifier, and choosing the classifier with most accuracy).
  • Investigate the relationship between materials and information by apply combinatorial chemistry, material property, manufacturing, structure-property, materials data management and product life management, leading to meta data gathering and create value of each data points.


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Normal entry requirements are a first or upper second class honours degree from a University of the United Kingdom, or from an overseas University, or degree equivalent qualification, subject to the approval of Robert Gordon University.

Applicants holding other qualifications shall be considered on their merits and in relation to the nature and scope of the proposed research programme. 

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Any applicant whose first language or language of previous University-level instruction is not English must normally demonstrate competence in English. This should be a score of IELTS 6.5 with 6.5 in all elements, or an approved equivalent.

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For Academic Year 2022/2023

UK/EU Students

  • Full time - £4,596 per academic year
  • Part time MPhil/PhD - £2,760 per academic year
  • Part time MRes/MSc by research - £2,298 per academic year

International Students

  • Full time - £17,000 per academic year
  • Part-time MPhil/PhD - £10,200 per academic year
  • Part-time MRes/MSc by research - £8,500 per academic year

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Postgraduate research students will normally make their own arrangements for payment of fees. However you may qualify for a scholarship or financial award:

Funded Studentships

Occasionally, the University will also advertise avaliable funded studentships, for very specific topics or subjects:


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All applications should be made via the University's online application for research students.

Before you apply, find out more about the application process, deadlines, time frames, routes and durations:

Our Research degrees usually start in February and October each year. There are no formal deadlines for you to submit your application, though we recommend you submit it as early as possible in order to ensure we can help you join us at your preferred time. 

Completed application forms should be accompanied by:

  • Two academic references
  • A transcript or mark sheet for all graduate qualifications
  • A draft research proposal, or at least a short summary to indicate the potential area of research (Refer to Section 8 of the Application Form)

For applicants whose first language or language of university education is not English, applications must include:

  • Certificate of English language competency score of IELTS 6.5 and 6.5 in all elements, or an approved equivalent. 
  • Students who can demonstrate successful completion of tertiary (university or college) studies in a country whose national language is English, may be exempted from this requirement.

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