Current PhD vacancies are listed below. See the postgraduate pages for more information on our PhD programmes.
- Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD Interdisciplinary Programme in Structural, Computational and Chemical Biology
Studentships available for 2017/18 entry
Applications for Wellcome Trust PhD Programme studentships are now open. Please read the instructions for applicants carefully to ensure that you submit a completed application.
Deadline for applications: Friday 6 January 2017
Shortlisting: Tuesday 17 January 2017
Interviews: Thursday 26 and Friday 27 January 2017
To discuss the programme informally please contact the Programme Coordinator, Professor Alethea Tabor.
- Real-time chemical imaging of promoted Fischer-Tropsch catalysts (application deadline: 01/09/2017)
Fischer Tropsch (FT) is an important ‘synthetic’ chemical process that uses heterogeneous catalysts based on metallic cobalt or iron active sites to convert syngas to hydrocarbons for the purpose of producing fuel. Whilst it is well known that factors such as the synthesis methodology, the presence of additives or else the pre-treatment process can have a major impact on their performance, the way in which these factors influence this performance is only partially understood. This is primarily due to incomplete characterisation of the samples since the full structure of the catalyst as employed in real conditions is rarely considered when trying to extract meaningful structure activity relationships. This project will therefore investigate, using real-time imaging methods, a variety of structured catalyst samples containing a range of promoters to understand their effect on FT selectivity. For this purpose we will primarily use the recently developed technique of time-resolved X-ray Diffraction Computed Tomography (and variations thereof) so as to study these catalysts under realistic conditions (T, P, space velocity) to yield 2/3-D images with micro-nano spatial resolution allowing for a more thorough understanding of the salient components that lead to an active catalyst. This exciting venture takes advantage of the expertise of the respective groups at UCL (catalyst characterisation) and BP Plc (catalysts development) so as to result in a project in which new, fundamental knowledge can actually be used to improve on a short time-scale, the development of new catalytic materials with enhanced performance.
The project will suit a candidate with a strong background/interest in spectroscopic/scattering techniques and data analysis methods. Applicants should therefore expect to achieve at least a 2.1 MSci in chemistry, physics, or a related discipline. For further information about the project, please contact Professor Andrew Beale (firstname.lastname@example.org). For further details about the application process, please contact Dr Jadranka Butorac in the Chemistry Department (tel: +44 (0)20 7679 4650, email: email@example.com).
Applicants should meet the STFC eligibility criteria. The project is funded partly by EPSRC and BP Plc and will involve a research stay of up to 3 months at BP research premises. The PhD stipend for this project will be ca. £16,794 p.a. (tax and fees paid) and will last for 3 years. The deadline for applications is 1st September 2017, but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.
- A 3-year PhD studentship in Synchrotron radiation based studies of Inorganic Catalytic materials (application deadline: 5th July 2017)
Supervisors: Prof Gopinathan Sankar (UCL) Dr Liliana Lukashuk, and Tim Hyde (Johnson Matthey PLC)
A 3 year PhD studentship is available in the Department of Chemistry, University College London, which will commence in September 2017.
Advanced catalytic materials are widely explored in industry for a diverse range of applications. Whilst a considerable knowledge is gained using both surface science and bulk characterisation methods, in particular using Synchrotron Radiation techniques, bridging results together has previously been a challenge. To address this, the project will develop in situ methods to characterise catalysts using both X-ray absorption spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and conduct in situ catalytic experiments in the pressure range from ca 10 mbar to atmospheric pressure.
- Study catalytic phenomena using advanced spectroscopic techniques
- Develop a broad range of experimental skills and experience to perform high-quality research at UCL, Johnson Matthey laboratories and at synchrotron facilities.
The project is sponsored by Johnson Matthey plc (a leading international speciality chemicals company) and University College London.
Because of the nature of funding, only candidates who are ordinarily resident in the UK, are eligible for this studentship. The candidates should have, or expect to gain, a good honours degree (first or upper second) ideally including some experience in inorganic catalytic chemistry, surface science and bulk characterisation methods. Please direct applications and enquiries regarding this project to Prof Gopinathan Sankar (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible. The deadline for applications is 5th July, but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.
- A 3 years PhD studentship in competing static order and excitations in new quantum states (application deadline: 21st July 2017)
Supervisors: Dr. Andrew Wills (UCL) and Dr. B. Fåk (ILL)
Description: Quantum frustrated magnets are important materials in which a competition between energy terms in the Hamiltonian (frustration) destabilises familiar magnetic behaviour and creates opportunities for quantum mechanics to drive exotic electronic states. Theory and experiment have shown that one of the most likely classes of materials to show these new effects are quantum kagome magnets, where the magnetic ions make up a kagome lattice of vertex-sharing triangles, and the small spin quantum numbers allow the influence of quantum mechanical effects to be greatest. These frustrated magnets commonly show remarkable effects such as robust entanglement and tunable balance points between different exotic responses.
This project is based on the synthesis and physical characterization of new quantum kagome magnets (S = 1/2 and 1), and the study of the unconventional physics that they display. This class of magnets has already shown that the richness of possible magnetic responses greatly exceeds our current expectations and understanding. Consequentially, the experimental work will be quite broad and will include synthesis, crystal structure characterization (by X-ray and neutron diffraction) and studies by a variety of experimental techniques, including SQUID magnetometry, specific heat and inelastic neutron scattering.
This PhD project is jointly financed by UCL and the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) based in Grenoble, France. The student will spend the first year at UCL synthesising and characterising the new materials. The final two years will be spent at the ILL, performing neutron scattering experiments and analysing the data.
Application details: The deadline for the application is 21st July 2017. Formal applications can be completed online:
You should apply for the Chemistry PhD. To ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing, quote the project title and supervisor name on the application form.
Informal inquiries can be made to Dr A.S. Wills (email@example.com) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter.
Applicants should have (or expect to obtain) a UK Master’s degree in Chemistry or Physics with a 2:1 or higher class, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard . The studentship will cover tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant for 36 months. The position will start in September 2017.
- A 4-year EngD Studentship in Do Strong Environmental Electric Fields Promote Carcinogenic Mutations in DNA
The UCL Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science is offering a 4-year fully funded studentship to a highly motivated candidate. The studentship will start in September 2017.
The purpose of this study is to explore the effect of strong electric fields, such as those typically arising in human environments, on the double proton transfer reaction in DNA in condensed matter phases, and whether this process may be catalysed by certain chemicals in the vicinity. Exposure of DNA to intense electric fields is known to result in accelerated point mutations. These mutations are carcinogenic. External factors such as exposure to high electric fields affect the kinetics of the double proton transfer. In this research, we will explore the effect of such fields and the role of solvent on the kinetics of mutations in DNA sequences. The work will be pursued using quantum mechanical methods such as density functional theory and classical molecular dynamics. The same systems will be studied experimentally with collaborators at New York University. The findings from this work should inform the setting of rules about the minimum distances between high voltage towers and residential areas; and in setting regulations about the maximum voltages allowed without exposing the human population to health risks
The candidate should have, or be about to receive, an honours degree (at least 2:1 or equivalent) in chemistry, or materials science, or a related subject. Good team-working, observational and communication skills are essential.
Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only open to applicants from the UK and EU, who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years preceding their start on the programme or have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Interested candidates should contact Professor Peter Coveney firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Applications will be considered until 20 July 2017 or as soon as a suitable candidate has been identified.
- A 3-year PhD studentship in Materials Chemistry (application deadline: 15/07/2017)
A fully funded 3-year PhD studentship is available in UCL Chemistry to work on a highly interdisciplinary project in the group of Dr Gemma-Louise Davies. The project will involve the development of nanostructured materials as multifunctional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) contrast agents for medical applications in the emerging field of ‘theranostics’ (the dual capability of therapeutics and diagnostics on a single platform). The student will gain expertise in inorganic nanoparticle synthetic techniques, bioconjugation and the use of a variety of analytical techniques, including, but not limited to, relaxometry, clinical MRI and electron microscopy.
Please visit our group website for more details about our research: www.gemmalouisedavies.com
The applicants should have, or expect to gain, at least a 2.1 honours or equivalent at Bachelors or Masters level in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science, or a related discipline. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject and the ability to think analytically and creatively. An enquiring and rigorous approach to research as well as good team-working, observational and communication skills (both presentation and writing skills in English) are also essential. Previous research experience in contributing to a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment is highly desirable but not essential, as training will be provided. UCL offers a world leading scientific environment in the heart of London.
Due to funding restrictions, only UK/EU students who meet the 3 years residency criteria are eligible for this studentship. The start date for the PhD is the 25th September 2017. The deadline for applications is July 15th 2017, with interviews to be held in late July, but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.
Applicants should send their applications (motivation letter, CV and contact info for 2 referees) by email to Dr Davies (email@example.com), who may also be approached for informal enquiries.
Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. Any admissions queries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Critical Materials Challenges and Market Opportunities for 3D Additive Manufacturing
Main Supervisor: Prof. Z. Xiao Guo, UCL Chemistry, email@example.com, in collaboriton with industry and UCL Royal-Free Hospital.
3D Additive Manufacturing (AM) refers to techniques of rapidly prototyping or creating complex 3D structures guilded by pre-designed digital models, such as Polymer Ink Jetting (PIJ), Two Photon Lithography (2PL), Binder Jetting (BJ), Ultrasonic AM (UAM) and Infrared Sintering (IS). Simple material forms can be used as “additives” or feedstock, including powder, ink, melt and wires. Many types of materials have been considered, including metals, ceramics, polymers and their composites, with potential applications in aerospcace, automobile, electronics/photonics, liesure and healthcare industries. Advantages over traditional “substrative” processes include: 1) reduced - manufacturing stages, waste, skills & space requirments, time and (potentially) cost; and 2) increased – ease for complexity, adaptability, reproducibility and quality control. The coming decade is projected to witness a rapid expansion of the AM industry, with an annual growth rate of 15 to 35 %.
However, additive materials pose strong challenges to rapid and wide market adoption of the technologies. Costs of such material forms are high; toxicity issues exist; product qualities vary; and properties of AM components are yet to reach the optimum. Much of those challenges rest with ways of formulating, creating and standardising such material compositions, concentrations, dimensions and forms. This is particularly the case for polymeric materials. However, the opportunities for innovative developments in polymeric materials are also high, with great potential for expansion into high-value added energy, electronics and healthcare industries.
This PhD project aims to tackle such multidisciplinary issues from both a fundamental development point of view and a horizon-scanning approach to future market opportunities. This project is in collaboration with an international manufacturer of polymeric materials.
We are looking for a highly motivated candidate, with a strong background in one of the natural science or engineering subject, with at least a 2.1 honours MSci / MEng degree from a reputable university. Strong project experience in polymeric materials, chemical synthesis, and/or additive manufacturing will be an advantage. The applicant must demonstrate creative and innovative potential and is able to work independently and collaboratively.