EPSRC CASE PhD in Chemistry: Mechanistic studies of palladium-catalysed C-C coupling reactions of carbon acids

   Cardiff School of Chemistry

  Dr N Buurma  Monday, November 07, 2022  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Mechanistic studies of palladium-catalysed C-C coupling reactions of carbon acids

About the project

We are looking for a curious, creative and kind colleague to join our team as a PhD student to study palladium-catalysed C-C coupling reactions of carbon acids on a fully funded 4 year EPSRC CASE studentship starting in 2023.

Project summary

The project involves studies of Pd-catalysed C-C coupling reactions of carbon acids. Kinetic and mechanistic studies (physical organic chemistry) will be combined with advanced electron microscopy (using Cardiff University’s brand-new Aberration-Corrected Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (EM) at the Translational Research Hub). Custom data analysis approaches will be used to develop quantitative and mechanistic understanding of the reactions to support rational choice of reaction conditions and scale up and reduce palladium need. We will focus on understanding the behaviour of palladium catalysts under reaction conditions, including any nanoparticle formation, and the interplay between reactants, catalyst, by- and side-products, solvents and additives. For example, you will correlate reaction kinetics with analysis of EM images using artificial intelligence.

Student training and development

Where needed, you will receive training in all techniques required for this interdisciplinary project, such as organic synthesis, purification and characterisation; kinetic and mechanistic studies; electron microscopy; data analysis and interpretation; nanoparticle synthesis; computational chemistry; programming (Python). In addition, training will be provided on handling intellectual property; research ethics; communication strategies (communicating with researchers in different disciplines, outreach, oral and poster presentations); equality, diversity and inclusion.

The training in the technical aspects of the research in combination with the additional research skills will provide you with a unique and sought-after combination of skills.

Research environment

You will work in our fully equipped physical organic chemistry labs in the School of Chemistry and in the brand-new electron microscopy facility in Cardiff’s translational research hub. The studentship also includes a placement at Syngenta (at least 3 months) and, ideally, a placement abroad with collaborators in Vigo (Spain).


 The studentship involves a collaboration between the School of Chemistry at Cardiff University and Syngenta Ltd, with further contributions from collaborators in Manchester and Vigo (Spain).

The supervisors at Cardiff University are Dr Buurma (physical organic chemistry) and Dr Slater (electron microscopy).

Academic Requirements

Applicants should hold or expect to gain a first-class degree or a good 2.1 and/or an appropriate Master’s level qualification (or equivalent). Because of the nature of the project, a broad interest across chemistry, ideally including synthesis, kinetics, data analysis and solving mechanistic puzzles would be beneficial

We welcome applications for both full and part-time study and from candidates with non-traditional academic backgrounds.

English Language

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (IELTS 6.5 or equivalent): English language requirements for postgraduate students at Cardiff University

How to apply

Applications should be received no later than Monday 7th November. We will not be contacting applicants until after the deadline.

To apply please complete an online application - Chemistry - Study - Cardiff University.

Please state the project title on the application form.

On your application please include a CV and a supporting statement (one side of A4) as to why you are good applicant for the post.

Short-listed applicants will be invited to interview. As part of the interview process, applicants will be asked to give a short presentation on their experience and suitability and answer panel questions. Interviews are expected to take place remotely via Zoom in November.

Start date - 3rd January 2023, 1st April 2023 or 1st July 2023

Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive environment for all. We welcome applications from all members of the global community irrespective of age, disability, sex, gender identity, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation.

Funding Notes

This is a 4 EPSRC iCASE year funded PhD which covers Home tuition fees, a stipend of £16,062 (subject to change) and includes access to a Research Training Support Grant (currently £4000).
Full and part time study options available.
Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.

PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs