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Design of heterogeneous photocatalysts for sustainable chemical synthesis

School of Chemistry

Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Nottingham United Kingdom Chemical Engineering Chemical Physics Climate Science Organic Chemistry Other Physical Chemistry Synthetic Chemistry

About the Project

The current climate emergency requires developing sustainable technologies that serve society’s needs while preserving the planet. Heterogeneous photocatalysis can provide key advantages to develop competitive processes aligned with the principles of circular economy (i.e., sustainable chemical processes). Based on this, our research interest is focused on the rational design of heterogeneous photocatalysts based on earth-abundant, inexpensive and stable materials that can convert light into valuable chemicals; thus, helping to reduce the environmental footprint of industrial chemical processes.

This PhD studentship will focus on developing novel heterogeneous photocatalytic processes for the synthesis of target molecules relevant to the industry of fine chemicals, aiming to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing processes. The successful candidate will design and synthesise suitable light-responsive materials, test their ability to photocatalyse key synthetic steps in the manufacture of fine chemicals, and develop a deep understanding of the structure-activity relationship of the materials. This project will provide extensive training in the field of materials science, physical chemistry, photochemistry and organic synthesis – taking advantage of state-of-the-art equipment spanning the GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory and facilities based on University Park. The project also aims to provide appreciation for the importance of developing sustainable processes to address current and future industry demands.

Enthusiastic graduates with a degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or a relevant discipline, are encouraged to apply. The start date for the project can be flexible: ideally Jan 2021 but not later than Oct 2021. The studentship will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate has been found, hence candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Prospective applicants can contact Dr Anabel Lanterna () for more details or enquires about the project. 

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expected to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent if from other EU countries) in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or a related subject. A MSc-4-year integrated Master’s, a BSc + MSc or a BSc with substantial research experience will be highly advantageous. 

If English is not the candidate’s first language, they must provide evidence before the beginning of the studentship that they meet the University minimum English Language requirements (IELTS 6.0 with at least 5.5 in each element). 

How to apply

Formal applications should be made online through the University of Nottingham’s online application system: and also send a cover letter and CV to detailing your previous research experience and current research interests. Please refer to the project title/name of supervisor when sending your application. 

Funding Notes

Fully funded studentship to commence before Oct 2021(preferred starting date Jan 2021). UK students – tuition fees paid and full stipend, tax-free, for 42 months at the RCUK rate (currently £ 15,285 per annum). EU students, please get in touch to determine eligibility as home students (only if available to start before Aug 2021).

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