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A Catalyst Discovery Machine

   School of Chemistry

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  Dr C Richards  No more applications being accepted  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Metal-ligand catalysts are transforming synthetic chemistry by enabling the rapid, efficient and sustainable generation of target compounds. These compounds in turn find application in numerous fields, most notably in the discovery of new pharmaceuticals for the treatment of disease. Existing catalyst discovery and optimisation procedures are frequently time consuming, non-systematic, and limited by the commercial availability of suitable ligands. This project will develop a high-throughput, versatile and step-wise approach to catalyst discovery for application to the synthesis of novel, pharmaceutically relevant, compounds. It will exploit recent developments within the Richards group on ligand synthesis/metal capture procedures with metallacycles, and also on the methodology for step-wise generation of stereochemical complexity. This project will suit an individual with a strong interest in pharmaceutically relevant synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry. In addition to gaining expertise in many key areas of compound generation, the project will provide additional core skills in spectroscopic and chromatographic analysis, stereochemistry, molecular modelling and x-ray crystallography.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at
A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. Applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


i) Planar Chiral Palladacycle Precatalysts for Asymmetric Synthesis.
R. A. Arthurs, D. L. Hughes and C. J. Richards, Org. Biomol. Chem. 2020, 18, 5466.
ii) Stereoselective Synthesis of all Possible Phosferrox Ligand Diastereoisomers Displaying Three Elements of Chirality: Stereochemical Optimization for Asymmetric Catalysis.
R. A. Arthurs, D. L. Hughes and C. J. Richards, J. Org. Chem. 2020, 85, 4838.
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