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Electronically-perturbed pnictogens 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: Bath University

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


Catalysis is essential to the modern chemical industries, and an area of intense research. Much of this focus in recent years has been upon the substitution of the precious metals traditionally associated with catalysis by more sustainable alternatives. Significant attention has fallen upon the “rock-forming” metals including aluminium, calcium and iron, but these electrophilic metals provide their own unique challenges in handling and in their possession a unique suite of reactivity. In contrast, less electrophilic reagents, which often have highly attractive practical features such as low air and moisture sensitivity, have received less attention. Work in the Liptrot lab has recently begun to focus on electronically-perturbed pnictogens as catalytic entities, driven by the high abundance and unique chemistry of phosphorus.
Phosphorus has enormous potential as a catalytic reagent in organic transformations and its propensity towards highly covalent bonding makes it ideal for stereoselective catalysis. The ability to generate reactive P(III) under catalytic conditions from bench-stable P(V) precursors would offer a gamut of “bottle-able” catalysts ideal for use by organic chemists. Thus this project will focus on the development of in situ reduction chemistry to access highly reactive electronically-perturbed phosphorus species with catalytic activity already established in the group. Beyond this, the investigation of chiral ligands to allow stereoselective catalysis will become a focus, in concert with the Vidovic group.

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.

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.

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).

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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