Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes
Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes

New catalytic strategies for chiral amine synthesis

Department of Chemistry

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Dr Alex Cresswell No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Bath United Kingdom Organic Chemistry Pharmaceutical Chemistry Synthetic Chemistry

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for a fully-funded synthetic organic chemistry PhD project in collaboration with the pharmaceutical company, Janssen. It will include a research placement at Janssen’s R&D site in Toledo, Spain, and close interaction with industrial scientists. It will be ideally suited to anybody with a desire to pursue a synthetic chemistry career in the pharmaceutical industry.

The position is available to start as soon as possible and by 4 October 2021 at the latest.

Funding is available to candidates who qualify for Home fee status. Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the rules governing fee status have changed and candidates from the EU/EEA are advised to check their eligibility before applying. Please see the Funding Eligibility section below for more information.

Building upon exciting preliminary results from the Cresswell group, the project will develop a new class of reagents for the modular synthesis of chiral nitrogen heterocycles of relevance to medicinal chemistry. A second phase of the project will explore stereoselective variants of the photoredox C–H functionalisation of primary amines that our group recently reported [1].

The project will involve exposure to a number of enabling technologies and advanced techniques, including photoredox catalysis, flow chemistry, automation, mechanistic analysis, and enantioselective catalysis. Further training will be offered in the form of weekly literature review and problem sessions on organic synthesis.

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath provides state-of-the-art facilities and a highly supportive environment for our research. The Cresswell group is based in the main chemistry building in two modern and well-equipped labs, each with 6 fumehoods and adjoining office space. We have a Teledyne automated chromatography system, a benchtop Advion mass spectrometer (with TLC plate reader), and a GC-FID. In a separate lab space, we own two Vapourtec continuous flow chemistry platforms (an E-series Easy-Medchem and an R-series RS-400 with full automation, the former equipped with a UV-150 photoreactor) and a Uniqsis PhotoSyn flow photoreactor (suitable for 100 mg → 100 g scale work). Our group has full access to the superb analytical and technical facilities offered at Bath, including NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, XRD analysis, and the EPSRC-funded Dynamic Reaction Monitoring (DReaM) facility.

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class Honours degree (or the equivalent) and a strong motivation to carry out technically challenging research in organic synthesis and catalysis. Previous experience of synthetic organic chemistry beyond core undergraduate teaching (e.g. industrial placement) would be beneficial but not essential.

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

Enquiries and Applications:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Dr Alex Cresswell ().

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Chemistry (full-time).

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

Applications may close earlier than the advertised deadline if a suitable candidate is found and therefore early application is strongly recommended.

Funding Eligibility:

In order to be considered for a studentship, you must qualify as a Home student. In determining Home student status, we follow the UK government’s fee regulations which, when available, will be set out by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) on their website. Although not yet confirmed, we expect the main categories of students generally eligible for Home fee status will be:

  • UK nationals (who have lived in the UK, EU, EEA or Switzerland continuously since September 2018)
  • Irish nationals (who have lived in the UK or Ireland continuously since September 2018)
  • EU/EEA applicants with settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme (who have lived in the UK continuously since September 2018)
  • EU/EEA applicants with pre-settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme (who have lived in the UK, EU, EEA, Switzerland or Gibraltar continuously since September 2018)
  • Applicants with indefinite leave to enter/remain in the UK (who have been resident in the UK continuously since September 2018)

EU/EEA citizens who live outside the UK are unlikely to be eligible for Home fees and funding.

Additional information may be found on our fee status guidance webpage and on the GOV.UK website.

Funding Notes

A studentship is available covering tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance stipend (£15,609 p.a., 2021/22 rate) for up to 4 years. Additional funds will be available for research expenses and conference attendance. Eligibility criteria apply to this studentship - see Funding Eligibility section above.


[1] “Photocatalytic α‐Tertiary Amine Synthesis via C−H Alkylation of Unmasked Primary Amines” Cresswell et al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 14986.
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