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EPSRC DTP CASE Studentship in Novel Gold Containing Catalysts

   Cardiff School of Chemistry

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  Prof G J Hutchings, Prof S Taylor  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

About the project:

The School of Chemistry at Cardiff University is delighted to offer a fully funded EPSRC case conversion studentship in collaboration with Johnson Matthey, starting in October 2023.

Project Summary:

A studentship is available in the research grouping of

Professors Hutchings Professor Graham Hutchings - People - Cardiff University

and Professor Taylor Professor Stuart Taylor - People - Cardiff University

on the theme of novel gold catalysts.

Catalysis underpins so many of the key processes that are required for the well-being of society and manufacturing of products and infrastructure. Designing improved catalysts is a key requirement to solve the major challenges we all face.

This project aims to develop novel catalysts for industrial application, and the scientific challenge relates to finding innovative ways to make gold catalysts. The aim is to develop and utilise new procedures that permit controlled synthesis of new nanoparticle alloys. These will be characterised and evaluated in multiple reactions to exploit the potential new electronic structures based on electron transfer between the metallic alloy constituents. Specifically, gold complexes with different morphologies (e.g., amorphous particles to needles) will be prepared and their catalytic activity evaluated in acetylene hydrochlorination. We will also investigate morphological features of Pd and Pt crystallites as catalysts for selective acetylene hydrogenation.

This studentship will provide extensive training in catalysis research and its application to current demanding transformations. It is a collaborative project with Johnson Matthey, which will allow access to a unique research environment, and you will join an academic research group working with an industrial research and production team that is currently commercializing a gold catalyst. It will involve a period of placement with the industrial partner.

Research Environment:

The studentship is based at the Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI), an internationally recognised leading catalysis research centre within the School of Chemistry at Cardiff. The CCI provides access to unprecedented infrastructure, with world leading research facilities with advanced methodologies for catalyst preparation, characterisation, and performance evaluation.

You will be joining a large diverse and inclusive cohort of PhD students and researchers working on a wide range of contemporary challenges in catalysis. Working in a large cohort provides a supportive environment for all to develop their scientific career. The team is very well connected, and this provides multiple opportunities to gain extensive experience and develop effective networks. For example, we are part of a Max Planck Centre, and you will be able to use the facilities of our partners in Germany, potentially spending research time at the MPI Kohlenforschung in Mulheim as well as accessing the facilities of the UK Catalysis Hub at Harwell.

Training and/or Development Opportunities:

You will receive comprehensive training across all aspects of catalyst synthesis, characterization, and testing. The successful applicant will use the extensive catalyst testing facilities to benchmark catalyst performance. Additionally, a suite of catalyst characterisation equipment is available, and you will be trained to operate and critically analyze data from these techniques. A period of placement with Johnson Matthey will also allow exposure to further techniques and training in an industrial environment.

We will also provide wider training in research methods, indicative examples are Inclusion in a journal club, industrial site visits and training in intellectual property aspects of research. There will also be participation in the seminar/online seminar series available both in Cardiff and with our industrial and international partners. You will be expected to participate in UK Catalysis Hub seminars and conferences gaining experience in communication skills and developing productive networks. You will also be encouraged to present your research at international meetings as well as participating at outreach events with the general public.

Publishing your work will be an important target and you will receive training to produce high quality research papers to communicate your work. We would also encourage you to accept opportunities to demonstrate to undergraduate students in the teaching laboratories as this will develop your teaching skills and experience.

Start date: 1st October 2023 

Academic Criteria

Candidates should hold or expect to gain a first class degree or a good 2.1 and/or an appropriate Master’s level qualification (or their equivalent). Applications from students with a non-traditional background are welcomed.

English Language criteria

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 - Study - Cardiff University

How to apply:

Interested applicants should provide details of their qualifications, including a CV and a brief covering letter outlining their motivation and experience for the position. A formal application must also be submitted.

Applications should be received no later than 31st January. All applications should be submitted via the online application portal, stating your supervisor’s name(s), at

Interviews will be held by Zoom or Teams in mid to late February. During the interviews, applicants should give a short (5 minute) presentation on their experience and suitability for the position. 

Further information

For further information about the research and project please contact Professor Stuart Taylor ([Email Address Removed])

For further information about the application and interview process, including informal questions, please contact the Chemistry PGR office ([Email Address Removed]). 

Funding Notes

Funded by the EPSRC DTP for 4 years and covers tuition fees, an annual tax-free living stipend of in line with UKRI minimum rates (currently £17,668) and includes access to a Research Training Support Grant (currently £4000). If you have a disability you may be entitled to a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) on top of your studentship.
We welcome applications for full and part time study.
EPSRC DTP studentships are available to home and international students. Up to 30% of our cohort can comprise international students, once the limit has been reached, we are unable to make offers to international students.


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.

How good is research at Cardiff University in Chemistry?

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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