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Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes
Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes

Technology-Driven C–H Bond Functionalisations for Amine Synthesis

Department of Chemistry

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Dr Alex Cresswell No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following fully-funded synthetic organic chemistry PhD project in collaboration with the pharmaceutical company GSK. It will include a research placement at GSK in Stevenage and close interaction with industrial scientists. It will be ideally suited to anybody with a desire to pursue a synthetic chemistry career in the pharmaceutical industry.

Building upon exciting preliminary results from the Cresswell group [1], the project will develop enantioselective C–H functionalisations of primary amines using automated flow chemistry in combination with machine learning. A second objective will explore “photocatalyst-free” electrochemical variants of our primary amine C–H functionalisations, using interdigitated electrodes to ‘translate’ our photoredox chemistry into paired electrochemical processes.

The project will involve exposure to a number of enabling technologies and advanced techniques, including photoredox catalysis, flow chemistry, electrochemistry, automation, mechanistic analysis, and enantioselective catalysis. Further training will be offered in the form of weekly literature review and problem sessions on organic synthesis.

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath provides state-of-the-art facilities and a highly supportive environment for our research. The Cresswell group is based in the main chemistry building in two modern and well-equipped labs, each with 6 fumehoods and adjoining office space. We have a Teledyne automated chromatography system, a benchtop Advion mass spectrometer (with TLC plate reader), and a GC-FID. In a separate lab space, we own two Vapourtec continuous flow chemistry platforms (an E-series Easy-Medchem and an R-series RS-400 with full automation, the former equipped with a UV-150 photoreactor) and a Uniqsis PhotoSyn flow photoreactor (suitable for 100 mg → 100 g scale work). Our group has full access to the superb analytical and technical facilities offered at Bath, including NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, XRD analysis, and the EPSRC-funded Dynamic Reaction Monitoring (DReaM) facility.

Candidate requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, an honours degree in Chemistry (2.1 or higher), or the equivalent, and a strong motivation to carry out technically challenging research in organic synthesis and catalysis. Previous experience of synthetic organic chemistry beyond core undergraduate teaching (e.g., industrial placement) would be beneficial but not essential.

Non-UK applicants will also be required to have met the English language entry requirements of the University of Bath.

Enquiries and applications:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Dr Alex Cresswell ([Email Address Removed]).

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Chemistry.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website.

Anticipated start date: 4 October 2021.

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project may be considered for a 4-year EPSRC Industrial CASE studentship with Glaxo SmithKline (GSK). Funding covers tuition fees, a stipend (2021/22 UKRI rate £15,609 per annum) and a generous budget for research expenses, training and conference attendance. EPSRC iCASE studentships are open to both Home and International students; however, in line with guidance from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the number of awards available to International candidates will be limited to 30% of the total iCASE awards available to the university in 2021/22.


[1] “Photocatalytic α‐Tertiary Amine Synthesis via C−H Alkylation of Unmasked Primary Amines” Cresswell et al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 14986
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