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PhD in Enantioselective Catalysis and mechanistic studies

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Our research is currently directed towards developing catalytic methods for the promotion of a range of synthetic transformations with varying applications in enantioselective catalysis. Current projects include the use of N-heterocyclic carbenes and isothioureas as enantioselective nucleophilic or Lewis-base catalysts and physical organic mechanistic studies designed toward understanding the mechanism of both N-heterocyclic carbene and isothiourea mediated transformations. The application of these methodologies to natural product synthesis is currently under development.

Funding is available to develop a range of novel enantioselective organocatalytic methods employing chiral Lewis-bases. The synthetic strategy that we develop will be used for the enantioselective synthesis of a range of carbo- and heterocyclic products, with application in target natural product synthesis.

Students interested in undertaking a PhD in the Smith group in this research area should register their interest as soon as possible. Informal enquiries can be made to Prof Andrew Smith (). For more information see the ADS group web pages at We encourage applications for the ESI-CAT Centre for Doctoral Training ( with the application deadline for this programme set for April 12th 2019 for September 2019 entry.

Please see: for the application procedure or e-mail for more information regarding PhD opportunities at St Andrews. We encourage applications for the ESI-CAT Centre for Doctoral Training ( and from Chinese nationals through the St Andrews CSC Scheme (

Funding Notes

Funding for EU or UK students is available.


Selected recent manuscripts from the ADS group:
[1]. T. H. West, D. S. B. Daniels, A. M. Z. Slawin and A. D. Smith, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 4476-4479
[2] T. H. West, D. M. Walden, J. E. Taylor, A. C. Brueckner, R. C. Johnson, P. H.-Y. Cheong, G. C. Lloyd-Jones and A. D. Smith, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 4366-4375;
[3] S. S. M. Spoehrle, T. H. West, J. E. Taylor, A. M. Z. Slawin, A. D. Smith, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 11895-11902.
[4] C. M. Young, D. G. Stark, T. H. West, J. E. Taylor and A. D. Smith, “Exploiting the Imidazolium Effect in Base-free Ammonium Enolate Generation: Synthetic and Mechanistic Studies”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 14394-14399.
[5] A. Matviitsuk, M. D. Greenhalgh, D-J. Barrios Antúnez, A. M. Z. Slawin and A. D. Smith, “Aryloxide-Facilitated Catalyst Turnover in Enantioselective a,b-Unsaturated Acyl Ammonium Catalysis“ Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 12450-12455.

How good is research at University of St Andrews in Chemistry?
(joint submission with University of Edinburgh)

FTE Category A staff submitted: 37.30

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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