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Organic materials synthesis using robots

Department of Chemistry

About the Project

A fully funded PhD studentship is available in the area of organic materials synthesis, as part of a prestigious international Synergy grant funded by the European Research Council. The project, ‘Autonomous Discovery of Advanced Materials’, aims to revolutionise the way that new materials are discovered by combining computational simulations, robotics and materials synthesis.

Within this studentship, you will develop new ways to make organic materials and the molecular building blocks that they comprise. Computational methods are developing rapidly in this area, and crystal structure prediction by partners at the University of Southampton will be used to assess molecules for their likely crystal packing and resulting materials properties. This studentship will focus on developing methods, including automated robotic methods, to access the most promising building blocks that are suggested by these computational predictions.

The project will be based both in the materials discovery research group led by Prof. Andy Cooper ( and the group led by Dr Anna Slater (, drawing on skills and facilities in both teams. The project will also 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 which 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.

We are looking for candidates with an enthusiasm for research, multidisciplinary collaboration and tackling challenging problems through teamwork. You do not need to have experience with robotics. Experience in organic synthesis would be an advantage, as well as excellent presentation skills.

The deadline for applications is 31st August 2021, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place

Entry Requirements

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a good degree (equivalent to a UK first or upper second class) in chemistry, materials science or a related discipline.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact either Andy Cooper (email: ) or Anna Slater ().

To apply please visit: Please include Curriculum Vitae, Two reference letters, Degree Transcripts to date. Please include the following reference number in the funding section of the online application CCPR009 form.

Funding Notes

Funding: full tuition fees for UK students plus for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,285 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

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