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Amorphous nanoparticles for the electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 into added-value chemicals

School of Biological & Chemical Sciences

London United Kingdom Computational Chemistry Materials Science Physical Chemistry Statistics

About the Project

The following PhD studentship is available in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences to start in September 2021.

Research Environment

The School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is one of the UK’s elite research centres, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). We offer a multi-disciplinary research environment and have approximately 160 PhD students working on projects in the biological, chemical and psychological sciences. Our students have access to a variety of research facilities supported by experienced staff, as well as a range of student support services.

The Nanostructures Design and Shaping Group led by Cristina Giordano ( focuses on developing methods for the design and synthesis of a wide range of nanomaterials, bridging our research with other fields of nanoscience, applied and theoretical, improving nanomaterials practical applications for the well-being of the society. Our synthetic designs encompass nanomaterials from simpler structures to complexes ones, from mere spherical nanoparticles to nanofibers, nanocomposites and nanohybrids, reaching sophisticated hierarchical structures.

Training and Development

Our PhD students become part of Queen Mary’s Doctoral College, which provides training and development opportunities, advice on funding, and financial research support. Our students also have access to a Researcher Development Programme designed to help recognise and develop the skills and attributes needed to manage research and to prepare and plan for the next stages of their career.

Project Details

The newly formed “Centre for CO2 Conversion” at QMUL is seeking PhD applicants for their fully funded mini Centre for Doctoral Training to start in September 2021. The rising level of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere is the single most important environmental challenge that our society must face. One of the most attractive solutions to reduce climate change emissions is the chemical conversion of CO2 into added-value chemicals (carbon monoxide, formic acid, ethanol, and others). The main challenge lies in the inertness of CO2, making catalysts requisite to decrease the energy required to convert CO2 to hydrocarbons.

AmorCO2RR is an academic-industrial collaboration between eight leading Queen Mary academics with external partners from industry (Johnson Matthey, RISE), governmental organizations (National Physics Laboratory) and other leading academic institutions (UCL, National University of Singapore). The objective of AmorCO2RR is to develop a novel class of amorphous catalysts for the photo-electrochemical CO2 conversion.

The successful applicant for this PhD student will synthetise a novel class of nanoparticles based on Earth-abundant metals and characterise their catalytic activity towards the chemical CO2 conversion into selected hydrocarbons.

Experience Required and Application Process

Applications are invited from outstanding candidates with or expecting to receive a first or upper-second class honours degree and a masters degree in an area relevant to the project: Chemistry or Materials Science. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in scientific software development, and the ability to think analytically and creatively. A strong interest in multidisciplinary projects are essential.

Applicants who are not nationals of a majority English speaking country are required to provide evidence of their English language ability. Please see our English language requirements for details.

Formal applications must be submitted online by the stated deadline including your CV, certificates and transcripts for previous degrees, a personal statement and 2 references. Please see further details on the application process and find the link for the online application form on our website.

The School of Biological and Chemical Sciences is committed to promoting diversity in science; we have been awarded an Athena Swan Silver Award. We positively welcome applications from underrepresented groups.

Funding Notes

This studentship is open to UK residents eligible for 'home' fee status and is funded by Queen Mary University of London. It will cover tuition fees, and provide an annual tax-free maintenance allowance for 3 years at the Research Council rate (£17,285 in 2020/21).

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