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  EPSRC - Light-coupled NMR to design novel photo-driven chemistry and materials

   Department of Chemistry

  , ,  Tuesday, October 01, 2024  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Over the last decade, visible light-driven chemistry has come to the forefront of modern organic synthesis, chemical biology, and materials science, providing a powerful platform through which to rapidly construct new and complex molecules. One of the major challenges holding back this pioneering area of chemistry is our lack of mechanistic understanding. NMR is one of the most powerful methods in the chemist’s toolkit for probing the structure and properties of matter, however its ability to study photochemical transformations remains extremely limited and cumbersome. Recently, we have pioneered the NMRtorch to solve this problem by illuminating samples directly inside the NMR spectrometer in real-time.

The project, in collaboration with Dr Louise Natrajan and Dr Aaron Trowbridge, will exploit the unprecedented ability of NMRtorch to, for the first time, study what is occurring on a molecular level during photochemical reactions. This fundamental understanding will enable us to design brand-new smart materials, photo-switches, and photocatalysts for chemical reactions, offering an exciting roadmap for future synthetic and materials chemists.

The successful candidates will receive advanced training in NMR spectroscopy, organic synthesis and catalysis, mechanistic analysis, and materials science. The project will be conducted in the Department of Chemistry, which is one of the largest and most vibrant departments in the UK and Europe, with state-of-the-art research facilities and a modern and extensive NMR facility.

The project is fully-funded for home UK students.


Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2.1 honours degree or a master’s (or international equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering related discipline.

Before you apply

We encourage you to contact the supervisor(s) for this project before you apply if you want to know more about the project.

Contact Dr Alexander Golovanov

How to apply

Apply online through our website:

When applying, you’ll need to specify the full name of this project, the name of your supervisor, if you already having funding or if you wish to be considered for available funding through the university, details of your previous study, and names and contact details of two referees.

Your application will not be processed without all of the required documents submitted at the time of application, and we cannot accept responsibility for late or missed deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

After you have applied you will be asked to upload the following supporting documents:

  • Final Transcript and certificates of all awarded university level qualifications
  • Interim Transcript of any university level qualifications in progress
  • CV
  • Contact details for two referees (please make sure that the contact email you provide is an official university/work email address as we may need to verify the reference)
  • English Language certificate (if applicable)

If you have any questions about making an application, please contact our admissions team by emailing .

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder).

Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Materials Science (24) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

This project is funded by EPSRC DTG. The PhD studentship is available for home (UK) candidates only and will cover home fees and provide a tax free stipend set at the UKRI rate (£18,622 in 2023/24). The start date is 1st October 2024. The PhD is 4 years in duration.

How good is research at The University of Manchester in Chemistry?

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

Register your interest for this project

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