Product development of fully recyclable single-use coffee cups

Get paid to do a Masters with the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation at Lancaster University (The Sunday Times' University of the Year 2018) and the Printed Cup Company.

1 Year Enterprise-led Funded Masters by Research, Ref. No.115

  • Get paid £15,000 tax-free
  • Have you tuition fees reduced. Your partner company pays £2,000 towards your fees, meaning UK/EU students pay £2,260, and International students pay £15,945.
  • Be part of the multi award winning Centre for Global Eco-Innovation with a cohort of 50 talented graduates working on exciting business-led R&D.
  • The Centre is based at Lancaster University, so you will gain your Masters from a Top Ten University, recognised as The Sunday Times University of the Year 2018.
  • Finish in a strong position to enter a competitive job market in the UK and overseas.

The Project

The volume of single-use beverage cups in production and in use is a major environmental problem. Of the 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups used every year, less than 1% are recycled. This is partly due to their material make up which restricts recycling opportunities. The waste produced by single use beverage cups and the energy taken up in the production process leaves a high carbon footprint across sectors which use these products.

Printed Cup Company offer bespoke and branded cups. The successful candidate will work alongside the company to develop a new material make up for single-use cups which fulfils the necessary product specification (for example holds liquid, maintains temperature) whilst allowing natural degradation over time.

This project will design and test new polymers for use as easily recycled components of disposable cups. Using chemical polymer synthesis, coated materials will be made and manufactured into prototypes of an innovative and recyclable single-use cup. The successful applicant will gain skills in analytical chemistry (including NMR, mass spectrometry), purification technology (including chromatography) and preparative chemistry; a strong interest in catalysis, materials and synthetic polymer chemistry, coupled with an enthusiasm for experimental work is essential.

Enterprise and collaborative partners

This Masters by Research is a collaborative research project between Lancaster University, with supervision from Prof Joe Sweeney and Printed Cup Company. Founded in 2005, the Printed Cup Company manufacture bespoke printed paper cups in Clitheroe, Lancashire. Alongside its sister company, Paper Cup Company, they have been specialising in branded paper cups for over 10 years.

Apply Here

To apply for this opportunity please email with:

This project is part funded by the European Regional development Fund and is subject to confirmation of funding. For further information about the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, please see our website.

Application deadline

Deadline: 23rd September 2018

Start dates of October 18 or January 19 available