• School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University

      B4 7ET Birmingham

      United Kingdom

    Accepting PhD Students

    PhD projects

    <p>We are currently looking for PhD students on the following projects:</p>
    <p>- Advanced polymer coatings for in situ sensors in wind turbine blades<br/>
    - Advanced polymer block copolymers for water purification using biological mimicry<br/>
    - Next generation gel electrolytes for renewable energy storage<br/>
    - Advanced sustainable bioplastics from renewable resources using machine learning approaches</p>

    Personal profile


    Professor Topham is the Head of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry (CEAC), Director of the Aston Institute of Materials Research (AIMR), Guest Professor at the South China University of Technology (SCUT), Guangzhou, P.R. China, Secretary of the IUPAC Subcommittee on Polymer Terminology (SPT), Chartered Chemist (CChem), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). He joined the Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry subject group as Aston in August 2008 as a Lecturer in Chemistry, became a Senior Lecturer in August 2012, a Reader in Polymer Chemistry in August 2013 and a Full Professor in August 2017.

    In addition to the above, he has been awarded the prestigious position of representing Hydrogen in the Periodic Table of Younger Chemists for the celebration of IUPAC100 and IYPT (2019): https://iupac.org/100/pt-of-chemist/, was the MacroGroup UK Young Researchers Medal 2014recipient and is member of the Soft Matter Panel for the Diamond Light Source.

    Following the completion of a PhD in 2006 with Professor Anthony J Ryan OBE, he undertook a post-doctoral research position working for Unilever, under the supervision of Professor Steve Armes.

    Professor Topham’s research focuses on the synthesis, development and application of well-defined polymer systems, including “smart” polymers, biocompatible and biodegradable materials and tethered polymer brushes, within the Advanced Materials Research Unit at Aston University. Controlled polymerisation techniques are combined with synthetic organic chemistry to fabricate novel (co)polymers, which display varying phenomena, depending on the material itself and the environment in which it is placed. Characterisation techniques of their nanoscale behaviour involve x-ray scattering and neutron reflectivity amongst more traditional methods. Current research interests include microphase separation (polymer self-assembly), triggerable materials, biopolymers and biodegradable polymers, biomaterials, electrospinning (nanofibrous fabrics) and organic solar cells.

    Research Interests

    Polymer Science


    Polymer nanotechnology (block copolymer self-assembly)

    Organic Photovoltaics (solar cells)


    Teaching Activity

    Chemical Kinetics (CH1103, CE1103)

    General Chemistry (CH1112)

    Polymer Science (CH2128)

    BSc Applied Chemistry Research Project Leader (CH3011)

    Literature Research Projects (CH3117)

    MEng Final Year Research Projects

    ERASMUS Student Research Projects


    • Chartered Chemist (CChem), 2017
    • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), 2016
    • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, SFHEA, 2015
    • Aston University Early Career Researcher of the Year, 2010
    • Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice in Higher Education, Aston University, 2010
    • PhD in Polymer Science, University of Sheffield, 2006
    • MChem, Upper second class. University of Sheffield, 2002

    Contact Details

    Phone number: 0121 204 3413 
    Email: p.d.topham@aston.ac.uk 
    Room number: MB128 

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
    • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
    • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
    • SDG 14 - Life Below Water


    • QD Chemistry
    • polymer synthesis
    • polymer physics
    • polymer nanotechnology
    • organic photovoltaics


    Dive into the research topics where Paul Topham is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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