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Mn(II): A Janus Face for Catalysis?

   Department of Chemistry

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  Dr Marina Uzelac, Prof Michael Whittlesey  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project commencing in October 2023.

Overview of the Research:

Replacing precious, late 4d and 5d metals, that underpin many industrial catalytic reactions today, with earth abundant, environmentally benign 3d metals is one of the significant challenges facing synthetic chemists. This project will focus on the development of new Mn(II) complexes which have the potential to provide unique solutions for sustainability challenges on account of their Janus face behaviour; their ability to display two different types of reactivity – redox transformations typical of transition metals and reactivity of polar M-C bonds typical of main group metals. 

Despite displaying this unique feature that sets Mn(II) complexes apart from all other 3d metals, the organometallic chemistry of Mn(II) remains severely underdeveloped.1-2

Building on our recent advances in this area (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 3247), this project aims to deliver a step change in the synthetic application of Mn-based organometallic reagents by defining the ground rules to access both reactive complexes and key catalytic turnover steps. You will be working on the synthesis and isolation of reactive organometallic Mn(II)-species and testing their ability to mediate fundamental transformations such as hydroelementation, cyclisation and cross-coupling reactions. Your training will include daily use of advanced synthetic (Schlenk lines and gloveboxes) and characterisation techniques (e.g. advanced NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography). Due to the paramagnetic nature of Mn(II) nucleus, collaborative work employing a family of EPR spectroscopic techniques will also be a part of your training.  Other scientific skills such as scientific writing and transferable skills (e.g. science communication) will be developed by presenting results in group meetings and at national/international research conferences.

Project keywords: organometallic chemistry, synthesis, catalysis, manganese.

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class Honours degree (or the equivalent) in chemistry. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.

Non-UK applicants must meet our English language entry requirement.

Enquiries and Applications:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Dr Marina Uzelac on email address [Email Address Removed].

Formal applications should be submitted via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Chemistry prior to the application deadline of Sunday 22 January 2023.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website.

Funding Eligibility:

To be eligible for funding, you must qualify as a Home student. The eligibility criteria for Home fee status are detailed and too complex to be summarised here in full; however, as a general guide, the following applicants will normally qualify subject to meeting residency requirements: UK and Irish nationals (living in the UK or EEA/Switzerland), those with Indefinite Leave to Remain and EU nationals with pre-settled or settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Additional information may be found on our fee status guidance webpage, on the GOV.UK website and on the UKCISA website.

Exceptional Overseas students (e.g. with a UK Master’s Distinction or international equivalent and relevant research experience), who are interested in this project, should contact the lead supervisor in the first instance to discuss the possibility of applying for supplementary funding.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion:

We value a diverse research environment and aim to be an inclusive university, where difference is celebrated and respected. We welcome and encourage applications from under-represented groups.

If you have circumstances that you feel we should be aware of that have affected your educational attainment, then please feel free to tell us about it in your application form. The best way to do this is a short paragraph at the end of your personal statement.

Funding Notes

A studentship includes Home tuition fees, a stipend (£17,668 per annum, 2022/23 rate) and research/training expenses (£1,000 per annum) for up to 3.5 years. Eligibility criteria apply – see Funding Eligibility section above.


1. R. A. Layfield, Chem. Soc. Rev. 2008, 37, 1098.
2. G. Cahiez, C. Duplais, J. Buendia, Chem. Rev. 2009, 109, 1434.
3. M. Uzelac, P. Mastropierro, M. de Tullio, I. Borilovic, M. Tarres, A. R. Kennedy, G. Aromí, E. Hevia, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 3247.

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