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Organic Materials Discovery

   Department of Chemistry

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

About the Project

Applications will be accepted until a suitable candidate is appointed, early applications are therefore encouraged.

PhD position is available in the research team led by Prof. Andrew Cooper ( at the Department of Chemistry, University of Liverpool, to develop new state-of-the-art methods to accelerate the discovery of functional organic materials (e.g.,

The position is available on the ambitious 5-year project: “Digital Navigation of Chemical Space for Function” that seeks to develop a new approach to materials design and discovery, exploiting machine learning and symbolic artificial intelligence, demonstrated by the realisation of new functional organic materials.

The PhD project is experimental-based, and we welcome applications from ambitious students who want to focus on developing new strategies to discover supramolecular organic materials using a combination of experimental methods and robotic platforms. The research team at Liverpool has wide-ranging expertise in the design, discovery, and characterisation of porous organic molecular crystals and organic photocatalysts. We envisage that the successful candidate will work in one of those areas. 

The successful candidate will develop a diverse skillset in organic synthesis, purification and characterisation (e.g., NMR, mass spectrometry, X-ray characterisation), and high-throughput synthesis and characterisation. More broadly, the successful candidate will integrate with a research team focused on developing mobile robots for research laboratories and contribute their chemistry-based expertise to those projects. An opportunity to integrate more extensively with the robotics team and develop expertise in this area will also be feasible during the project.

The position is available to start in October 2022.

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Marc Little ([Email Address Removed]) by email.

A list of publications from the relevant collaborators on “Digital Navigation of Chemical Space for Function” is included below to illustrate some of the relevant work.

·        A mobile robotic chemist. Nature, 2020, 583, 237.

·        An expandable hydrogen-bonded organic framework characterised by three-dimensional electron diffraction. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 29, 12743–12750.

·        Photocatalytic proton reduction by a computationally identified, molecular hydrogen-bonded framework. J. Mater. Chem. A, 2020, 8, 7158-7170.

·        Mining predicted crystal structure landscapes with high throughput crystallisation: old molecules, new insights. Chem. Sci. 2019, 10, 9988-9997.

·        From concept to crystals via prediction: multi-component organic cage pots by social self-sorting. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 131, 16421-16427.

·        High-throughput discovery of organic cages and catenanes using computational screening fused with robotic synthesis. Nat. Commun. 2018, 9, 2849.

The position is available from 1st October 2022.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a good degree (equivalent to a UK First or Upper Second Class degree) in Computer Science/Robotics/AI or other relevant discipline.

To apply for this opportunity, please visit: and click on the 'Ready to apply? Apply online' button. Please upload Curriculum Vitae, Two reference letters, Degree Transcripts to date to the online application. Please also ensure you quote the following reference on your application: Reference CCPR041, and the topic title Organic Materials Discovery.

Funding Notes

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 £15,609.00 per annum for 2021-22, 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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