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Organic materials discovery using automated/robotic workflows

   Department of Chemistry

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  Prof A I Cooper  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

A fully funded PhD studentship is available in organic materials discovery, as part of a prestigious international Synergy Grant funded by the European Research Council. The project, ‘Autonomous Discovery of Advanced Materials’ (ADAM), aims to revolutionise the way that new materials are discovered by combining computational simulations, robotics, and materials synthesis. The ADAM team comprises researchers with expertise in chemistry, robotics, machine learning, computational chemistry and robotics.

In this project, you will develop new organic materials and the molecular building blocks that they comprise using automated workflows developed in collaboration with other ADAM team members. Computational methods are developing rapidly in this area, and crystal structure prediction methods developed by partners at the University of Southampton will be used to assess candidate molecules for their likely crystal packing and resulting materials properties. This studentship will focus on developing automated robotic methods to access the most promising building blocks that are suggested by these computational predictions.

The project will be based in the materials discovery research group led by Prof. Andy Cooper ( You will have access to unique facilities in the state-of-the-art Materials Innovation Factory at the University of Liverpool ( You will be part of a multi-disciplinary team that includes collaborators at the University of Southampton and Rostock University. Through these collaborations, you will interact with computational chemists, synthetic chemists, and also engineers and computer scientists developing the use of robots in the materials chemistry laboratory.

The key objectives for this project are:

·      to use automation and robotics to prepare new organic crystalline materials suggested by computational predictions

·      to assist with the development of the relevant automated methods.

We are looking for candidates with:

·      experience in organic synthesis, organic materials chemistry and crystals design and characterisation

·      enthusiasm for research, multidisciplinary collaboration and tackling challenging problems through teamwork

·      excellent science communication and presentation skills

·      awareness of Health & Safety procedures

·      knowledge of coding (e.g. Python or C++) or data analysis tools would be advantageous.

The position is available from immediately.

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a good degree (equivalent to a UK First or Upper Second Class degree) in Chemistry, Materials Science or a related discipline.

Please include Curriculum Vitae, Two reference letters, Degree Transcripts to date. Please ensure you quote the following reference on your application: Reference CCPR056 - Organic materials discovery using automated/robotic workflows

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Zuzana Oriou, Cooper Group Research Manager (email: [Email Address Removed]).

Funding Notes

Applications from candidates meeting the eligibility requirements of the EPSRC are welcome – please refer to EPSRC website: The award will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years. The maintenance grant will be at the UKRI rate, currently £17,668 per annum for 2022-23, subject to possible increase . The award will pay full home tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years. Non-UK applicants may have to contribute to the higher non-UK tuition fees.
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