The CDT in Molecules to Product offers an exciting opportunity to undertake a 4-year PhD programme with bespoke training courses spanning the duration of the PhD that contribute to enhancing your understanding of the product development lifecycle alongside developing your professional and business know-how.

You will undertake 1-week training courses as a cohort in areas that span the CDT themes alongside courses that develop your entrepreneurial, professional and business skills. Further to these you will undertake courses that complement your research project. These may be studied at other UK institutions or internationally.


When you apply we will be asked to select a primary and secondary theme. Projects will typically link across themes with all working towards addressing the vision of the CDT; ultimately creating a step change in the way industry works. Research projects cover a range of structures from those where you will work solely within an academic environment through to those in partnership with industry including multinationals and SMEs (small to medium enterprises). 

During the initial 3 months, you will work with academic and industry supervisors to develop a project, while undertaking initial training courses. You will commence full time work on your PhD project at the beginning of the 4th month of the programme. Further training courses will be undertaken throughout the remaining duration of your studies. 

The ethos of the PhD research projects is summarised below. As can be seen different projects are grouped under an overarching Research Challenge. These challenges cover areas of the product development lifecycle which need to be addressed but are too big for an individual to address in isolation. Your research project will therefore focus on specific aspects of the research challenge but you will be contributing to the new design and supply approach that will revolutionise the product development lifecycle. Your research projects will embrace one or more of the themes and draw on both your interests and strengths. 

The table below provides a limited number of exemplar projects.

To see some examples of projects currently being undertaken in the CDT, please see Project Descriptions.

Training Courses

While the training courses are non-credit bearing, they have been designed specifically to address the vision underpinning the CDT in Molecules to Product. A pass is required for progression and ultimately graduation.

Training courses are grouped into: Cross-Disciplinary Training, Professional and Business Skills, and Advanced Technical Skills. The combination of these courses will develop your understanding of all aspects of the product development lifecycle and develop you as a person in terms of your professional development.

Cross-Disciplinary Training comprises 5 compulsory week-long courses that will introduce and consolidate your understanding of cross-disciplinary challenges associated with the three CDT themes. Four of these training courses will be undertaken in the first 3 months of the CDT programme, with the final one undertaken in year 2.

There are a further five Professional and Business Skills courses. Four are week-long courses, covering professional skills (Year 1), decision making (Years 2 and 3), and innovation and enterprise (Year 3). Public engagement and outreach skills will be developed in years 2 to 4 of the programme.

You will select two Advanced Technical Skills courses to undertake in years 2 and 3. These will complement your research project, and may be selected from a range of courses run at the University of Leeds, at other UK or international institutions, or in industry.