Zimmer and Peacock sponsoring an Engineering Doctorate with Coated M2A at Swansea University

One of the best ways of joining ZP is to study a ZP sponsored PhD. This week we are announcing a PhD sponsored by ZP and co-supervised by our colleagues at Swansea University. There is an added benefit of this Swansea based PhD in that ZP has an office on campus so you can work with the ZP onsite team.

Zimmer and Peacock are proud to be sponsoring an Engineering Doctorate (ENGD) with Coated M2A at Swansea University. 



Worth around £108 billion to the national economy, the UK agri-food industry provides over 3.7 million jobs. As a whole, the agri-food sector generates around £18 billion of gross export earnings for the UK each year. The sector is keen to respond to policy issues relating to the environment, energy consumption, health, food safety, wastage, and wellness as well as to consumer choice.

Precision agriculture is a novel and advanced farming management technique, the main goals of which are optimisation of resources and maximisation of crop yields. In agriculture, soil macro and micronutrients, pH level, soil water potential, pesticides, pathogens are critical parameters in the assessment of soil quality. Quantification of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium macronutrients in agriculture farming soils can be used to respond to measurements by optimising yields from high-quality plant growth, whilst helping to minimise excessive use of nitrogen fertilizers which are often responsible for environmental pollution. 

In 2019, the gas sensor market was valued at $2.19 billion globally and is anticipated to show tremendous growth in the next decade (CGAR growth of 6.4% from 2019 to 2024). Increased demand for gas sensors from end-users (automotive, environmental, health, agriculture) can be attributed to increased awareness around emissions, promise for environmentally responsible action, increase health and safety regulations, and increased provisions for food safety. 

Current gas capability sensors are based on metal oxide capacitors and utilize state-of-the-art printing techniques. With regards to limitations, the obstacle in current gas sensing technology is in their selectivity between different gases. Developments are geared towards detecting trace amounts of gas analytes with higher selectivity.

Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) are materials that have variable porosities and subsequently can detect different types of gases, such as CO2, CO, NOx, selectively and efficiently. Application smart coatings based on MOFs in hybrid sensor devices enable selectivity to be built into the hybrid sensor. The incorporation of MO coatings as part of the active material is highly innovative and can ultimately improve the sensing ability of the gas sensor devices.

The agri-food and gas sensor markets are new avenues to us here at ZP. We are keen to exploit these new opportunities through developing these novel platform hybrid sensors through this EngD project. 

The automotive industry is one of the largest economic sectors by revenue, with some 70.5 % million cars being produced worldwide and the British market alone having an £82 billion turnover in 2018. This presents a great financial opportunity that we are keen to exploit. The sensors could be manufacturers for end-users such as Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin. Automotive sensor applications include tracking the concentrations of gasses such as CO2 for monitoring of in-cabin air quality, for the detection of possible leaks in the coolant of air conditioning systems, and for maintaining cabin freshness (which affects driver alertness). Our sensors would offer superior sensing abilities and integrated multi-sensor platform technology, attractive properties to incentives companies such as Land Rover to invest into our sensors over their existing single sensor technology.


Project aims:

This project will involve development of functional coatings for a range of Smart Electrochemical sensors, for use in both agriculture and automotive applications in the detection of specific analytes and gases. The novel sensor system will involve a combination of hybrid coated Screen Printed Electrode sensing technologies in a multiplex sensor array. An in situ sample collection, sensing and data transfer system will also be developed. 

• Develop hybrid smart sensor devices that combine functional coatings with semiconductor and printed devices in a highly innovative approach and offers huge potential benefits in terms of sensitivity, selectivity, miniaturisation, and high-volume low-cost manufacturing.

• Develop functional coatings for a range of Smart Electrochemical sensors with industry partner Zimmer and Peacock, that can be employed both in Agri-Food, Environmental and Automotive applications.

• Sensors will be developed for analytes including phosphorous, potassium, Calcium, Sodium, Nitrogen, Copper, Iron, methane, and nitric oxides.

• Develop working sensors

• Develop new product ranges for Agri-food and Gas sensing markets

• Develop software App to accompany sensing hardware


Completion of a PhD with us at Zimmer and Peacock is a fantastic route into a potential future job within the company itself.  Working closely with ZP during the course of the PhD will give the student a chance to experience the workplace and facilities, as well as getting to know the team and their roles. 


The closing date for any students interested in applying to this project is the 25th of February 2022. Students who are interested can see if they are eligible and apply through the following link: