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Kinetics of Aromatics Oxidation with Lasers (KAROL)

Project Description

This is a project to study the chemistry of atmospherically important aromatic compounds in lab-based experiments in York and elsewhere. . Key components of both diesel and petroleum, the oxidation of aromatics in air is associated with production of large quantities of ozone and other harmful pollutants. Scientists in York have recently observed high levels of large alkyl-substituted aromatics in Beijing air. The breakdown chemistry of these compounds is unknown, but likely to contribute to air quality issues. In this project you will use lasers to study the rates and products of aromatic breakdown reactions in air.

Keywords: Air Quality, Atmosphere, Chemistry, Instruments, Laboratory, Ozone, Pollution

The student will work in the Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories (WACL), part of the department of Chemistry, University of York. These were established in 2013 and comprise a state of the art 800 m2 dedicated research building, the first of its kind in the UK. Supported by a large award from the Wolfson Foundation and a private donor, the Laboratories enable experimental and theoretical studies relating to the science of local and global air pollution, stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change. The Laboratories offer access to state of the art facilities for atmospheric science, including analysis labs, workshops, prototyping facilities, high performance computation and data analysis. WACL provides an environment with exceptional scientific and technical support for PhDs including full-time experimental officers, instrument design, data and fieldwork specialists. The Laboratories are operated as collaborative venture between the University of York and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), co-locating around 55 researchers from seven academic groups and from NCAS. The Laboratories are a vibrant home to independent research fellows, postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and final year undergraduate research projects.

The Leeds-York Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) PANORAMA Doctoral Training partnership (DTP) has a comprehensive programme of researcher training covering subject-specific and generic skills. Students will obtain some training and understanding of the full range of training topics. All new students are required to make a training plan when they start their PhD. Training courses are split into ‘nodes’ covering different aspects of your PhD, much of the training in transferable skills will be provided centrally by the Staff and Departmental Development Unit (SDDU) at Leeds and the equivalent service at York (Skills Forge). Inductions and training on specific lab instruments and techniques will be provided by individual labs/departments as required by each student.
The Leeds-York DTP student conference takes place annually, usually in May. The conference is organised by the DTP student representatives and includes 15 minute oral presentations by 1st year students and poster presentations by 2nd year students. The conference gives students a chance to practice giving conference style presentations in a relaxed environment and gain valuable feedback from other students. Students will also undertake workshops at Leeds throughout the PhD.

Additionally, all Chemistry research students have access to our innovative Doctoral Training in Chemistry (iDTC): cohort-based training to support the development of scientific, transferable and employability skills.

The Department of Chemistry holds an Athena SWAN Gold Award and is committed to supporting equality and diversity for all staff and students. The Department strives to provide a working environment which allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel. Chemistry at York was the first academic department in the UK to receive the Athena SWAN Gold award, first attained in 2007 and then renewed in October 2010 and in April 2015. This PhD project is available to study full-time or part-time (50%).

This PhD will formally start on 1 October 2019. Induction activities will start on 30 September.

Funding Notes

Value: The studentships are fully funded by NERC for 3.5 years and cover: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,777 for 2018-2019 and typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.
Eligibility: Unless stated otherwise, fully funded studentships (stipend + fees) are offered to both UK and EU applicants.


• Applicants should submit a PhD application to the university of Leeds by Monday 7 January 2019
• Supervisors may contact candidates either by email, telephone, web-chat or in person
• Supervisors rank the candidates for the assessment panel
• The assessment panel will shortlist candidates for interview from all those nominated
• Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a panel interview at the University of Leeds on the week commencing 18 February 2019
• The Leeds Panorama DTP awarding committee will award studentships following the panel interviews
• Candidates will be notified of the outcome of the panel’s decision by email
• Successful candidates will then need to submit a formal PhD application to the University of York

How good is research at University of York in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 47.06

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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