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Multi-detector online monitoring of precision polymerizations

Project Description

The Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies (CSCT) at the University of Bath has now launched a new joint PhD programme with Monash University, Australia. The Bath Monash Global PhD Programme will have its first intake in October this year.

This project is one of a number that are in competition for up to four funded studentships. More details are available here:

Home institution: Monash University
Supervisor at Bath: Dr Ulrich Hintermair
Supervisor at Monash: Professor Tanja Junkers (lead)

Automated chemical synthesis using machine learning algorithms is a rapidly growing field of research. While automation is by definition a chemical engineering task, its development holds high potential also form a synthetic side. With automated, computer controlled protocols at hand, synthesis targets become available that typically would not be approachable in classical synthesis. Especially in conjunction with flow chemistry, unprecedented precision can be reached in (macro) molecular design. At Monash, we recently demonstrated how online-size exclusion chromatography in combination with machine learning can lead to ultra-precise polymer synthesis (see Rubens et al. Angew. Chem. 2019), while concomitantly eliminating largely the human factor from synthesis (resulting in high reproducibility and scalability of the obtained processes). With the extensive online-monitoring facility at Bath University, these endeavors can be brought to a higher level of sophistication. The combined expertise between both institutions should allow for the development of processes that control almost every variable in a polymerization process. Within the proposed PhD thesis, a fully integrated flow process would be established using living/controlled polymerizations to synthesize polymers with extremely high definition. Variables to assess are monomer conversion, molecular weight, dispersity, endgroup chemistry and copolymer composition. This process will then be used to create materials libraries that can be tested either in situ in the Bath facilities, or offline at either institution. Specific synthesis targets include block copolymers, but also more complex macromolecular architectures.


We invite applications from Science and Engineering graduates who have, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second class degree and have a strong interest in Sustainable Chemical Technologies.

You may express an interest in up to three projects in order of preference. See the CSCT website for more information:

Please submit your application at the Home institution of your preferred project. However, please note that you are applying for a joint PhD programme and applications will be processed as such.

If this is your preferred project, apply to Monash here:

If the Home institution of your preferred project is Bath, apply here:
Please quote ‘Bath Monash PhD studentship’ in the Finance section and the lead supervisor(s)’ name(s) and project title(s) in the ‘Your research interests’ section. More information on applying to Bath may be found here:

Enquiries about the application process should be sent to .

Funding Notes

Bath Monash PhD studentships include tuition fee sponsorship and a living allowance (stipend) for the course duration (up to 42 months maximum). Note, however, that studentships for Bath-based projects will provide cover for UK/EU tuition fees ONLY. Non-Australian nationals studying in Australia will be required to pay their own Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

Additional and suitably qualified applicants who can access a scholarship/studentship from other sources will be also considered.

How good is research at University of Bath in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.10

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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