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Catalyst Diversity for Asymmetric Synthesis (RICHARDSCU20SCIEP)

Project Description

Metal/ligand-based catalysts are transforming asymmetric synthesis by enabling the rapid, efficient and sustainable generation of target compounds. These compounds in turn find application in numerous fields including material science, and the discovery and manufacture of pharmaceuticals. The main challenge in this area is achieving high enantioselectivity. This requires identification of a suitable chiral ligand in a process which is expensive, time-consuming and frequently unsuccessful.

This PhD project will expand and exploit novel methodology developed in the Richards group for catalyst generation using metallacycles in a ligand synthesis and metal capture procedure. Coupled with the use of stereoselective C-H activation to access metallacycles, this provides a very efficient two-step procedure applicable to rapid catalyst diversification. Exemplification of the new technology will include the synthesis of potentially bioactive compounds for use in drug discovery programmes. This 3.5 year PhD studentship is fully funded by an EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership and will lead to expertise in organic and organometallic synthesis, catalysis, spectroscopy and a variety of additional analytical techniques.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

This is a PhD programme.

The start date of the project is 1 October 2020.

The mode of study is full-time. The studentship length is 3 years with a 1-year registration period.

Entry requirements:

Acceptable first degree in Chemistry.

The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is in a competition for an EPSRC studentship. Funding is for 3.5 years and will be available to successful candidates who meets the UK Research Council eligibility criteria. These requirements are detailed in the Research Council Training Grant Guide which can be found at View Website (see Annex 1 for Residential Guidelines for Research Council Studentships). In most cases UK and EU nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the course are eligible for a full-award. Other EU nationals may qualify for a fees only award.


Ferrocenyloxazoline-Derived Planar Chiral Palladacycles: C-H Activation, Transmetalation, and Reversal of Diastereoselectivity.
R. A. Arthurs, D. L. Hughes and C. J. Richards, Organometallics, 2019, 38, 4271.

Application of Transmetalation to the Synthesis of Planar Chiral and Chiral-at-Metal Iridacycles.
R. A. Arthurs, D. L. Hughes, P. N. Horton, S. J. Coles and C. J. Richards, Organometallics 2019, 64, 1099.

Stereoselective and Stereospecific Reactions of Cobalt Sandwich Complexes. Application to the Synthesis of a New Class of Single Enantiomer Bulky Planar Chiral P-N and P-P Ligands.
R. A. Arthurs, P. N. Horton, S. J. Coles and C. J. Richards Chem. Eur. J. 2018, 24, 4310.

Catalyst Optimisation for Asymmetric Synthesis by Ligand Chirality Element Addition – A Perspective on Stereochemical Cooperativity.
C. J. Richards and R. A. Arthurs, Chem. Eur. J. 2017, 48, 11460.

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