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Trifluoromethylation using Copper-based Reagents and Catalysts (co-funded by Syngenta)


   Department of Chemistry

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  Dr Rob Davies , Prof Chris Braddock  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The late-stage incorporation of fluorine into drug or agrochemical targets is highly desirable due to the unique pharmacological properties conferred by fluorine such as enhanced lipophilicity, bioavailability, and metabolic stability. However examples of well-performing catalytic systems for trifluoromethylation, a key step in the synthesis of many of these target molecules, are rare and a mild copper-catalysed system using fluoroform remains elusive. This project focusses upon the development of privileged copper-based catalytic systems for trifluoromethylation. A Quality-by-Design approach will be used based on obtaining improved understanding of the mechanism including the identification and characterisation of catalytic intermediates, kinetic profiling, and studies on the function of the ancillary ligand and the role of off-cycle events including catalyst deactivation. The project is funded by Syngenta and there is the possibility to undertake an industrial placement as part of the PhD programme.

The project is primarily synthetic in nature and experience in organometallic/organic synthesis is advantageous.

Applications are invited for the above projects, and the successful applicant will undertake the EPSRC CDT (rEaCt) programme, as part of Cohort 3 (Intake 2021)

About the CDT

Driven by the impact of the 4th industrial revolution, the molecular sciences are embarking on a transformative journey where developments in technology and data science are blurring the lines between disciplines and between man and machine. Developments in robotics are driving the integrated control of lab hardware, enabling R&D workflow automation and big data sets essential to support machine learning.

In turn, this stimulates developments that can underpin smarter high-throughput approaches for data handling with the promise of offering unprecedented insights to molecular processes.

The rEaCt CDT aims to provide cross-sector training for a new generation of synthetic chemists with the interdisciplinary skills necessary for the challenges and opportunities created by the data-revolution in the 21st century.

The CDT assembles a multi-disciplinary team of internationally-leading researchers at Imperial College and benefits from significant strategic infrastructural and capital investment on cutting edge, state-of-the-art technology and facilities such as ROAR, and the Agilent Advanced Measurement Suite

The rEaCt CDT Programme

MRes (Year 1): The first year of the 4-year programme comprises of an MRes in Advanced Molecular Synthesis, where the CDT students will progress through an academic program of lectures and workshops on three core modules aimed at underpinning the fundamentals in synthetic chemistry, engineering and statistical sciences. Each student will also undertake a 9-month individual research project in a chosen area.

Ph.D. (Years 2 – 4): Following the successful completion of the MRes, students will pursue their independent project in subsequent years.

All students will be encouraged to undertake a period of placement and internship, in an industrial or an academic collaborator’s lab, during or immediately after their Ph.D.

Profile of the Researcher produced by this CDT:

·      With the interdisciplinary nature of the programme, students will be trained to tackle challenges in the field of synthetic chemistry, engineering and data science, with high-level expertise in at least two of these areas.

·      Using the latest synthesis and analytical tools, our CDT alumni will also hold a high level of technical proficiency; to make, measure and model reactions, including automated reactors in combination with process/data analytical tools.

Click here for more on the CDT Programme.

Applicant Requirements

Applicants should hold or expect to obtain a first or upper-second class honours degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, or a related field. A Master’s degree in one of the above fields is an essential requirement. Imperial College PhD entry requirements must be met.

Click here for more information on the application process for prospective students.

To apply via email to the EPSRC CDT ([Email Address Removed]) with the following documents.

·      An up to date CV and scanned transcripts

·      A cover letter

·      Full contact details of two referees

·      List up to three projects of interest from the projects currently available

For further information please contact the CDT Programme Manager, Jinata Subba ([Email Address Removed]) .


Funding Notes

This studentship is only open to Home students. We are not accepting applications from overseas students for these projects.

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

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