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PhD Studentship – Predictive Molecular Design of Multifunctional Nanocatalysts

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Saturday, June 01, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Co-supervisors: Dr Mark Light and Dr Marina Carravetta
Industrial support: Dr Bart Vandegehuchte and Moritz Schreiber (Total Research and Technology)

Note: Applications will be considered in the order that they are received and the position will be considered filled when a suitable candidate has been identified

We are seeking an enthusiastic and motivated postgraduate applicant who will contribute to this multidisciplinary research proposal, aimed at developing a predictive tool for the rational design of high-performance nanocatalysts, which would be versatile for catalytic applications within the petrochemical industry. The applicant will join a vibrant and well-established research group of Professor Robert Raja at the University of Southampton (, who are interested in the discovery and design of novel catalytic materials that address fundamental challenges in the chemical, environmental and energy landscape. During this project, we will investigate the rational engineering of monodisperse nanoparticles and single-atom nanocatalysts, with a view to creating highly active and selective single-site heterogeneous catalysts, which can be atomically engineered for evoking catalytic synergy at the nanoscale. The predictive design rationale developed in Professor Raja’s Group will be harmonised with operando studies and computational modelling, aimed at understanding the local structural environment at the molecular level and further augmenting these with catalytic descriptors for industrial compliance in emerging petrochemical applications. In order to achieve the above goals, we will design multimetallic and multifunctional active sites within microporous and hierarchical supports for evaluating a range of catalytic descriptors, with a view to rationalising kinetics and associated mechanistic pathways. The candidate will develop proficiency and training in industrial heterogeneous catalysis by working alongside world-leading academics and industrial partners at Total.

Funding Notes

The project is funded for 3 years and welcomes applicants from the UK and EU who have or expect to obtain at least an upper second-class (2:1) degree in Chemistry or allied subjects/relevant disciplines. Funding will cover fees and a stipend at current research council rates (201819 rates were £ 14,777 and should increase for 201920).

Due to funding restrictions this position is only open to UK/EU applicants who meet the RCUK eligibility criteria


Applications for a PhD in Chemistry should be submitted online at

Please ensure you select the academic session 2019-2020 in the academic year field and click on the Research radio button. Enter Chemistry in the search text field.

Please place Professor Robert Raja in the field for proposed supervisor/project

General enquiries should be made to [email protected] Any queries on the application process should be made to [email protected]

Interviews are likely to be held between 15/06/2019 and 30/06/2019

How good is research at University of Southampton in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.80

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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