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Mechanistic studies of reactions at high-pressure using high-field flow NMR

Department of Chemistry

Manchester United Kingdom Analytical Chemistry Inorganic Chemistry Organic Chemistry Pharmaceutical Chemistry

About the Project

Reliable characterisation of chemical reactions is key to their understanding. Identifying and quantifying reaction intermediates provides the information required to understand, optimise, and improve reactions. NMR spectroscopy is a powerful tool for structural analysis of pure compounds and reaction mixtures. However, new hardware and methodology is needed to characterise reactions under the high pressure and temperature conditions typical of industrial processes.

This project will exploit the capabilities of the recently EPSRC-UoM funded 700 MHz NMR spectrometer for monitoring reactions at high pressure. This system will have an NMR-compatible high-pressure recirculating chemical reactor, high pressure zirconia NMR tubes and all the necessary equipment to safely monitor reactions with gases at high pressure. This world unique facility will be able to advance the mechanistic understanding of a large plateau of reactions; in particular, on this project we will investigate catalytic asymmetric hydrogenations of enamides and α,β-unsaturated carbonyls, catalytic asymmetric hydroformylation reactions and alkene polymerization reactions.

The student will benefit from access to a state-of-the-art NMR instrument and a brand-new high-pressure reaction unit and will receive training in the areas of synthetic organic methodology, kinetics, mechanistic studies and NMR methodology. They will have the possibility to attend the group meetings of the Bures research group ( and the Manchester NMR Methodology Group ( This rigorous and exclusive multidisciplinary training will prepare the student for a brilliant future either in an academic or industrial environment.

Academic background of candidates 

Applicants are expected to hold, or be about to obtain, a minimum upper second class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry. A Masters degree or experience in organic chemistry, flow chemistry, high-pressure reactions or NMR is desirable. 

Contact for further Information

Dr Jordi Bures

Funding Notes

This is a 3.5 year EPSRC studentship. Funding will cover UK tuition fees/stipend only. The University of Manchester aims to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK. We are able to offer a limited number of full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.
We expect the programme to commence in September 2021.

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