Marta Falkowska

Marta Falkowska


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Probing confinement effects in catalytic systems
Designing catalytic pyrolysis of biomass for green hydrogen production

Personal profile


MSC Eng Chemical Engineering - Warsaw University of Technology (2011)

BSc Management - Warsaw University of Technology (2015)

PhD Chemistry and Chemical Engineering - Queen's University Belfast (2017)


Marta was appointed as a Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw Fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Manchester in 2022. Before this, she gained industrial experience while working as an Associate in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project centered around the chemical recycling of polymers. Prior to that, she was involved in an EPSRC-funded project as a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Chris Hardacre's group at The University of Manchester. The project aimed to advance the understanding of chemical reactions by utilizing a combination of total neutron scattering and NMR techniques to study reactions in situ within catalysts' pores. During her PhD project affiliated with Queen's University Belfast and co-sponsored by the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, Marta was guided by a group of supervisors including Professor Chris Hardacre, Dr Tristan Youngs (ISIS), Dr Daniel Bowron (ISIS), and Dr Haresh Manyar (QUB). During her studies, she employed total neutron scattering to delve into the complexities of liquid phase heterogeneous catalysis. Her research focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the structural properties of solvents, their mixtures, the effects of confinement and reaction kinetics probed in situ. Since her PhD project, Marta has continued working closely with the Disordered Materials Group at ISIS, firstly thanks to being based at ISIS during her PhD project, and later as a visiting scientist to the DMG. 

Research interests

My area of research is focused on unraveling the properties of disordered materials at the molecular level through the utilization of scattering techniques accessible at renowned UK-based scientific facilities, namely the ISIS Pulsed Neutron and Muon Source and the Diamond Light Source. I examine the molecular ordering in nano-confined fluids, such as carbon dioxide within the pores of absorbents and reagents inside catalysts pores. These complex multi-component and multi-phase systems demand intricate sample preparation and challenging data collection and analysis. To gain insights into the impact of confinement on the structural properties of these fluids, I compare their molecular ordering with the corresponding bulk forms. Some of the bulk fluid systems under investigation include toluene, benzene, cyclohexane, cyclohexene, isopropanol, and their mixtures (e.g. benzene-cyclohexane), ionic liquids, and isopropanol-water. These studies aim to determine the effect of ionic interactions, hydrogen bonding networks, and π-π interactions on the structural properties of these liquids. In addition, I employ time-resolved neutron scattering techniques alone and in conjunction with NMR to study the kinetics of heterogeneous catalytic reactions in situ. I have been engaged in various reaction engineering projects, such as the photocatalytic conversion of ethylene glycol, hydrogenation of benzoic acid derivatives, and polyethylene terephthalate hydrolysis. Currently, I am exploring feasible approaches to produce hydrogen from lignocellulosic biomass through catalytic pyrolysis.


Currently available PhD projects:

- Absorption of gases in nano-confined liquids

Details of the projects can be found in the associated links. Please contact me if you are interested in applying or discussing other opportunities (incl. applying for PhD scholarships available through our University)

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Associate Member of The Institution of Chemical Engineers

Member of Catalysis Hub and a member of Early Career Researchers Committe for Net Zero

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 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

External positions

Visiting Scientist to Disordered Materials Group, ISIS Neutron and Muon Source


Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Advanced materials
  • Energy


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