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PhD Studentship in Inorganic Chemistry – Unconventional Alkali Metal Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, September 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Number of awards:

Start date and duration:
January 2020 for 3 years.

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student to bring alkali metals (Li, Na, K, Rb, Cs) chemistry into new vistas for the first time over 100 years, and develop applications in energy storage and catalysis.

This 3-year studentship will be supervised by Dr Erli Lu, working on synthetic inorganic chemistry of alkali metals on unconventional oxidation states (0, -1), and exploiting applications of the unprecedented compounds in catalysis (N2 activation) and energy storage.

During the PhD period, you will receive intense training and hands-on experience in synthetic inorganic chemistry of air-/moisture-sensitive materials, using Schlenk line/Glovebox techniques. You will characterise the compounds by a full range of analytical methods, including X-ray crystallography, EPR spectroscopy and SQUID magnetometry, as well as investigate their applications in N2 activation and battery material. You will also obtain experience in electrochemistry. The expertise and experience will be invaluable asset for further career development, in both academia and industry.

The studentship also ensures versatile opportunities for learning and personal development, such as participating and representing your work on national and international conferences on annually basis, and attending workshops for learning new techniques. The project is highly interdisciplinary, thus you will have chance work collaboratively with researchers at North East Centre for Energy Materials (NECEM) at Newcastle, Durham and Northumbria, the University of Manchester, and PI’s collaborative institutes in China and US.

School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (

Name of supervisor(s):
Dr Erli Lu and Dr Keith Izod, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (

Eligibility Criteria
You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honour degree or international equivalent, in chemistry, material science or a related subject. The award is available to UK/EU applicants only. If English is not your first language, you must have IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills).

How to apply
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’ (

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must to be completed. The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to:

insert the programme code 8100F in the programme of study section
select ‘PhD Chemistry – Chemistry’ as the programme of study
insert the studentship code NES024 in the studentship/partnership reference field
attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code NES024 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.
You should also send your covering letter and CV to Dr Erli Lu by email to , or Dr Keith Izod by email to .

Dr Erli Lu

Dr Keith Izod
Room 1.25
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (

Funding Notes

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,009 (full award).

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