Applications are invited for a 3.5 year PhD studentship in the Buchard group (www.buchardgroup.org) in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath, UK. In this project you will develop innovative synthetic and catalytic methodologies to produce novel monomers for sustainable polymeric materials and investigate their applications.
The monomers targeted will combine natural sugar molecules with diverse functional groups and linkages. These monomers will be polymerised using controlled polymerisation techniques and the analysis of the resulting materials (thermal, mechanical, degradability) undertaken to establish their structure/properties relationship. Natural sugars, in addition to being non-toxic, biodegradable, and biocompatible, are indeed an abundant and diverse resource which is highly functionalisable. By incorporating sugar units into polymer backbones, these desirable features will be imparted to the resulting polymers, and you will be able to adjust their properties to meet specific material needs. In particular, applications as degradable scaffolds for organic electronics, as well as matrices for printable, conductive ionic gels will be explored. This project is also a collaboration with the group of Dr Hugo Bronstein (www.ch.cam.ac.uk/person/hab60) in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, and will involve frequent interactions between our two groups.
Research in the Buchard group addresses all aspects of the development of sustainable polymers. We develop new reactions for the synthesis of novel monomers from renewable feedstocks, design new polymerisation catalysts and processes, and produce innovative polymeric for new technologies. Our group have for example recently discovered a method that replaces phosgene with CO2 under mild conditions for the synthesis of cyclic carbonate monomers. We have applied successfully this protocol to various sugar derivatives (mannose, thymidine, deoxyribose) and developed some promising, tuneable, biocompatible and biodegradable polycarbonates, which were also used as tissue engineering scaffolds for regenerative medicine (see references). In Cambridge, the Bronstein group specialises in the synthesis of novel conjugated materials for use in organic solar cells, light emitting diodes and transistors.
Applicants should hold (or expect to be awarded) a first class or a strong 2:1 Master’s degree in Chemistry (or equivalent), have excellent written and oral communication skills, as well as the ambition to work on a challenging interdisciplinary project. The ideal candidate will have both experience of synthetic chemistry and a strong desire to develop skills in polymer chemistry and physics, including the applications of polymers in the domain of electronics.
Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Antoine Buchard, [email protected]
Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form: https://samis.bath.ac.uk/urd/sits.urd/run/siw_ipp_lgn.login?process=siw_ipp_app&code1=RDUCH-FP01&code2=0013
Please ensure that you quote the supervisor’s name and project title in the ‘Your research interests’ section. Should you wish to apply for more than one advertised project, you should submit a separate personal statement for each one.
More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here: http://www.bath.ac.uk/guides/how-to-apply-for-doctoral-study/
Anticipated start date: 30 September 2019.
Candidates may be considered for a University Research Studentship which will cover UK/EU tuition fees, a training support fee of £1,000 per annum and a tax-free maintenance allowance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£14,777 in 2018-19) for a period of up to 3.5 years.
Group website: www.buchardgroup.org
List of publications: www.buchardgroup.org/publications
For recent relevant publications see below:
 Polymer Chemistry 2018, 1577;
 Journal of CO2 Utilization 2018, 283;
 Polymer Chemistry 2017, 2093;
 Polymer Chemistry 2017, 1714;
 Chemical Communications 2017, 2198;
 Macromolecules 2016, 7165;
Bronstein Group website and list of publications: www.ch.cam.ac.uk/person/hab60