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Aluminium, magnesium and calcium centred Lewis acids as Earth-abundant and sustainable catalysts

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  • Full or part time
    Dr David Liptrot
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies (CSCT) at the University of Bath has launched a joint PhD programme with Monash University, Australia.

This project is one of a number that are in competition for up to four funded studentships. More details are available here:

Home institution: Monash University

Supervisor at Monash: Drasko Vidovic (lead)
Supervisor at Bath: David Liptrot


Catalysis has and continues to be an integral part of fundamental research and, more importantly, chemical industry. Catalysed reactions, in general, reduce energy requirements, reaction times and waste formation in comparison to non-catalysed procedures. In recent years, owning to the evolution of green chemistry and sustainable development concepts, the use of Earth abundant and, hence, inexpensive elements has been the focus for catalyst preparations. Therefore, this project will be centred on the synthesis and subsequent activity of novel catalysts based on copious and inexpensive aluminium, magnesium and calcium elements. In particular, complexes containing aluminium (Monash), as the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, will be exploited as Lewis acid catalysts because this particular field has been plagued with the presence of Brønsted acids as reported in the literature. In fact, Vidovic group has demonstrated that the use of aluminium Lewis acids resulted in unprecedented results such as polymerization of functionalised olefins, which is not trivial to execute. Furthermore, Lewis acids derived from group 2 elements (Bath) have significant potential but remain relatively underexplored. Ligand systems suitable for aluminium should be readily modified to support divalent alkaline earth cations allowing the non-directional nature of these s-block elements to be compared, contrasted to and to complement the directional Lewis acids derived from group 13.

Application process

We invite applications from Science and Engineering graduates who have, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second class degree and have a strong interest in Sustainable & Circular Technologies.

You MUST express interest for three projects in order of preference – you can see all projects here: . Please submit your application at the Home institution of your preferred project (‘Home’ institution details can be found in the project summary). However, please note that you are applying for a joint PhD programme and applications will be processed as such.

Monash University

Expressions of interest (EoI) can be lodged through The EoI should provide the following information:
CV including details of citizenship, your Official Academic Transcripts, key to grades/grading scale of your transcripts, evidence of English language proficiency (IELTS or TOEFL, for full requirements see:, and two referees and contact details (optional). You must provide a link to these documents in Section 8 using Google Drive (Instructions in Section 8).

University of Bath

Please submit your application through the following link:
Please make sure to mention in the “finance” section of your application that you are applying for funding through the joint Bath/Monash PhD programme for your specified projects.
In the “research interests” section of your application, please name the three projects you are interested in and rank them in order of preference. Please also include the names of the Bath lead supervisors.

Funding Notes

Bath Monash PhD studentships include tuition fee sponsorship and a living allowance (stipend) for the course duration (up to 42 months maximum). Note, however, that studentships for Bath-based projects will provide cover for UK/EU tuition fees ONLY. Non-Australian nationals studying in Australia will be required to pay their own Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

Additional and suitably qualified applicants who can access a scholarship/studentship from other sources will be also considered.

How good is research at University of Bath in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.10

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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