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New approaches to the manipulation and analysis of very heterogeneous chemical systems (or How we learn to stop worrying and embrace the mess)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, May 01, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project Description:
This PhD project will investigate new approaches to manipulation & analysis of very heterogeneous chemical systems (‘mixed’ or ‘messy’ systems), working towards a more Supramolecular approach (which considers interactions between molecules, not just composition).
Ultimately this is motivated by an interest in the Origin of Life, and a desire learn how to make ever more life-like systems, asking “How can functional systems develop from ‘random’ mixtures?”, “How can they become self-sustaining, or ‘Alive’”, & “How do we know it’s happening?” We would also like to apply the same approach to work with heterogeneous (messy) systems of practical/industrial importance.
Systems Chemistry’s development is acknowledged to be held back by analytical developments, and we take the attitude that analytical and synthetic advances are naturally linked. This project will involve a mix of lab-based analysis/testing, data analysis, and lab-based synthesis (of molecular tools, and of the messy systems to be studied). [it may well involve some collaboration with other departments/institutes] It would suit an independently-minded creative student, who is enthusiastic about working beyond narrow disciplinary boundaries.

Student profile:
Prospective candidates should have a 1st or 2:1 M-level qualification in Chemistry, or a related programme, in which all aspects of basic chemical knowledge have been covered.

Preference will be given to candidates with an aptitude for multidisciplinary research which takes in synthesis, analysis, and data analysis. Research experience, lab skills, and experience of programming/scripting, would all be valued (but not absolute requirements), as will a track-record of problem-solving, independence, and perseverance in any sphere.

We expect that the successful candidate will want to contribute to our department’s teaching, for which payment will be made separately. The opportunity to contribute as a teaching assistant during the PhD programme can be an interesting and rewarding experience, which will help students develop skills which will be relevant when they look for future roles. Training and mentoring in teaching and learning in higher education will be provided, and the successful applicant will be expected to attend the Faculty’s Preparing to Teach course should they undertake additional teaching duties. Successful applicants will also have the opportunity to complete the Teaching Recognition at King’s programme (TRaK) which is the King’s route to achieve Higher Education Academy (HEA) professional recognition.

We actively encourage informal enquiries to to learn more. Students intending to apply should register their interest with as soon as possible.

To apply, please visit the King’s College myApplication system:
1. Register a new account/login
2. Once logged in, select Create a new application
3. Enter ‘Chemistry Research MPhil/PhD (Full-time/Part-time)’ under Choose a programme. Please ensure you select the correct mode of study.

All relevant information regarding eligibility, including academic and English language requirements, is available from the online prospectus

Initial deadline for applications was 1/2/19 and a first round of interviews are expected shortly. However we will continue to accept applications until the position is filled (again, we suggest informal enquiry for up-to-date status information). If you have applied previously, and not heard from us, we apologise: please confirm that your application has been received with .

Please ensure that you quote “New approaches to very heterogeneous chemical systems” and supervisor Andrew Surman in the relevant sections of the application form.

If you require support with the application process, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Tutor for Chemistry, Dr Gerd Wagner, at:

Funding Notes

Applications are invited for a 4-year Faculty Studentship within the Department of Chemistry to start in 2019-2020.

The Studentship is funded for 4 years, on a starting bursary at the standard research council rate, which is presently £17,027 per annum including London Allowance, and cover the full cost of Home/EU tuition fees. Income tax is not payable on the stipend.

This scheme only covers funding for Home/EU students.

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