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EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Chemical Synthesis (TECS)

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Technology Enhanced Chemical Synthesis (TECS)

Fully funded four-year PhD studentships commencing in September 2022 are available for exceptional chemistry graduates.

Our PhD programme combines world-leading research in Chemical Synthesis with state-of-the-art training in technology and automation to prepare you for a career in modern synthetic chemistry, whether in industry or academic research.

Programme Overview

Based in the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol, our alternative to the traditional PhD offers a four-year programme of research in synthetic chemistry including a unique training period designed to strengthen your research techniques and introduce new technologies for Chemical Synthesis through lab rotations. You will also benefit from training in a range of transferable skills (including presenting, teamwork and problem-solving) to enhance your employability.

Training Period

Our Initial training period lasts 8 months and involves:

  • Interactive advanced synthesis workshop sessions with academic experts
  • Staff-led group problem sessions – solve chemical problems in 'real time'
  • Hands-on experience of robotic programming with Chemspeed synthesis robot
  • Python coding courses: use machine learning, AI and VR to handle chemical data
  • Exploring and critiquing current chemical literature in Journal Club sessions
  • Training in industry-standard Design of Experiments techniques for chemical optimisation
  • Mini-projects: immersive research experience in two different research groups
  • Weekly brainstorming sessions to explore a portfolio of proposed projects

PhD Research Project

After successfully completing the training element, you will embark on a lab research project in areas of Chemical Synthesis such as those listed below. During this time, your scientific development will continue to be enhanced by interactions with industry and with internationally renowned research groups, entrepreneurship training, and professional and academic courses provided by our industrial partners. The breadth of our training means your doctorate will further provide you with the skills to succeed as a well-rounded candidate for employment in both industry and academia.

Example PhD Project areas:

  • Development of expedient new synthetic methods
  • Synthesis and bioactivity of natural products
  • Electrochemical and photochemical synthetic technology
  • Green synthesis and catalysis
  • New molecular scaffolds for medicines and agrochemicals
  • Computational modelling and automation
  • Synthetic biology and molecular biomimicry: molecular receoptors, pores and motors
  • Design and synthesis of new bioactive and functional molecules
  • Main group chemistry: from designer ligands to new materials


In accordance with UKRI, UK and international students (EU/EEA, Swiss nationals and overseas) are eligible for fully-funded studentships for the 4-year duration of the programme to cover stipend and fees. Please read our Admissions Statement to ensure you meet the Admissions criteria before applying.


Applications are welcomed from students with or expecting to gain a first or upper-second class honours MSci/MChem (or equivalent). This is one of the CDTs hosted by the School of Chemistry offering training in a number of different disciplines.

Applications now closed.

Student testimonials

Joe (2019 cohort) says: There is such a wide range of projects from all aspects of organic and inorganic chemistry that you feel you can choose the area that you find most interesting.

Alice (2019 cohort) says: Every week we participate in problem sessions which I have particularly enjoyed, as I have been able to get to know many of the leading academics and gain an insight into areas I haven’t worked much on before.

Mehul (2019 cohort) says: The course has opened my eyes to the usefulness of new technologies to augment synthetic chemistry. Since no prior knowledge of or experience with these technologies is required, the sessions on automation and AI have been accessible to all students.

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Chemical Synthesis (TECS)

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