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Research Studentship in ‘Thermal Runaway Processes in Li-ion Batteries’ - Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford

Research Studentship in ‘Thermal Runaway Processes in Li-ion Batteries’

EPSRC Industrial CASE Studentship

4-year DPhil studentship 

Supervisors: Prof Paul Shearing

This studentship is being jointly offered by the University of Oxford and an OEM under the EPSRC Industrial CASE award scheme.

Understanding the safe implementation of advanced batteries in automotive applications is critical to the decarbonisation of the transport sector in support of Net Zero ambitions, Whilst the failure of batteries is rare, the risk of thermal runaway (a catastrophic failure event), which can trigger cell-to-cell failure propagation requires further understanding for effective risk management.

Characterisation tools for advanced failure analysis, which include X-ray imaging, thermal analysis, acoustic sensing and calorimetry can be applied in concert to elucidate failure mechanisms under thermal, mechanical and electrical abuse scenarios.

In this project we will develop new experimental tools to elucidate the ‘state-of-safety’ of Li-ion batteries using correlative thermal, structural and acoustic probes. Secondly, we will develop new cell failure models; these will be validated against experimental data. In combination, this will develop a platform for comprehensive failure evaluation, providing new insight into the fundamental mechanisms of thermal runaway which can be utilised to engineer effective mitigation strategies, and to understand and inform the emerging international standards framework for cell and pack qualification.


This studentship is funded through the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology (CASE) Award Scheme and is open to Home students (full award – fees plus stipend). Full details of the EPSRC eligibility requirements can be found here.

Award Value

University course fees are covered at the level set for UK students (£9,500 in 2024-2025 academic year). The stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) will be c. £19,237 for the first year, and at least this amount for a further three years.

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • talented and highly motivated eligible students with a strong first degree in Engineering, Physical Sciences or related field;
  • demonstrated experimental skills;
  • an understanding of batteries, safety and related subjects;
  • excellent English written and spoken communication skills;

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • experience in finite element modelling;
  • hands-on experience with battery testing and characterisation  

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Prof Paul Shearing ( Candidates must submit a graduate application form and are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria. Details are available on the course page of the University website

Please quote 24ENGCHEM_PS in all correspondence and in your graduate application.

Application deadline: Noon on Friday 21st of June

Start date: October 2024