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Base Effects in Catalytic Cross-Coupling

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Applications are invited for a 4-year PhD studentship to work in the Ball group at the University of Nottingham’s Carbon Neutral Laboratories. The project will be conducted in collaboration with Syngenta, and will include the opportunity of up to three months placement at their Jealott’s Hill research station.

Catalytic cross-coupling between an aryl halide and a C-, N- or O-centred nucleophile is a mainstay of modern organic synthesis. While the effects of phosphine ligand structure on catalyst activity are well documented and well understood, the effect of the base (and its interplay with both the ligand and the reaction solvent) is less well appreciated. This project will seek to understand the effect of the base on challenging, agrochemically-relevant cross-couplings. The insight that this generates will be used to develop general and reliable conditions that can be applied from mg to kg scales.

During the course of this project, you will be trained in core practical techniques in synthetic organic chemistry, physical organic chemistry and catalysis, and will have the opportunity to broaden your knowledge through regular group meetings and seminars. You will have access to brand new facilities and equipment, including a new synthetic chemistry laboratory, NMR, IR and UV-vis spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, GC and LC, and X-ray crystallography.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to obtain, a 1st class or 2.1 honours degree (or international equivalent) in Chemistry. Experience in organic / organometallic synthesis or catalysis is desirable.

If English is not the candidate’s first language, they must provide evidence that they meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

Due to funding restrictions, this position is only available for UK or EU candidates.

Studentship Information

The studentship is expected to start on 1 October 2020.
The studentship covers both tuition fees and a tax-free student stipend at RCUK rates.
The project is supported by and in collaboration with Syngenta.
The duration is 4 years.

How to Apply

Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis and the position will be filled as soon as a suitable applicant is identified. Thus, early application is encouraged.

Informal inquiries and applications can be sent to Dr Liam Ball (); please send a copy of your CV and a cover letter detailing your previous research experience and current research interests.

An online application can be made via Please quote the studentship reference and Dr Liam Ball.

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