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 (email@example.com). For further details about the application process, please contact Dr Jadranka Butorac in the Chemistry Department (tel: +44 (0)20 7679 4650, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 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 email@example.com as soon as possible. Applications will be considered until 20 July 2017 or as soon as a suitable candidate has been identified.
- Critical Materials Challenges and Market Opportunities for 3D Additive Manufacturing
Main Supervisor: Prof. Z. Xiao Guo, UCL Chemistry, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
- Hydrogen Production for Clean Energy (Application deadline: 29/08/17)
Title: Hydrogen Production for Clean Energy
Institution: University College London
Qualification type: PhD
Funding for: UK/EU/EEA students
Duration: 48 months (starting on 25 September 2017)
Funding amount: Not specified
Placed on: Tuesday 15 August 2017
Closes: Tuesday 29 August 2017
We are inviting applications for a fully funded 4-year PhD project in the area of surface chemical physics in Prof Geoff Thornton’s research group http://www.ucl.ac.uk/chemistry/research/group_pages/nano/ at the London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London, and in close collaboration with Imperial College and Diamond Light Source. This funding stream requires applicants to be home students*. The student would form part of the 2016 cohort of the Advanced Characterisation of Materials Centre of Doctoral Training.
Two polymorphs of TiO2, rutile and anatase remain the subject of intense research associated with their photocatalytic properties. Indeed, understanding how the TiO2/water system works at the level of individual atoms and molecules is one of the grand challenges of contemporary physical science. In this project we will investigate the photostability of the TiO2/water interfaces, with the aim of characterising the species generated on single crystal substrates by a UV Hg lamp. This will employ UHV scanning tunnelling microscopy/spectroscopy and photoemission at UCL as well as UHV and high pressure photoemission at Imperial and Diamond Light Source.
STM and photoemission are the techniques of choice to look at local changes to the structure and electronic properties induced by UV light. For STM we will use a method developed at UCL to form a clean interface by dipping the single crystal in water, which forms a 2x1 ordered overlayer of terminal OH groups after pumping off the physisorbed water. The dipped surface can be UV-irradiated in-situ before examining the pumped-off surface in UHV with STM as well as XPS, UPS and scanning tunnelling spectroscopy in the same instrument at UCL. Together, these data will allow UV-generated chemical species to be identified and mechanisms to be derived. This will be used to inform our overall understanding of the photocatalysis process. To complement this we will also perform high-pressure photoelectron spectroscopy (HiPPES) measurements at Imperial. This will be done using a recently commissioned state-of-the-art instrument capable of performing photoemission measurements at water pressure greater than 25 mbar. We will also be able to irradiate the surface in-situ using an in-built UV lamp as well as studying the role of co-adsobents (such as O2) on the TiO2/water interface.
We seek candidates for October 2017 entry. You will hold, or be expected to achieve, a Master's degree in addition to a Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) at 2:1 level (or above) in a relevant subject (e.g. Physics, Chemistry).
Applications will be handled in two stages:
Stage 1: Send a full CV, including the marks (%) for all (undergraduate) modules completed to date and including a clear description of previous research project experience, as well as a covering letter and contact details of two academic referees, to Prof Geoff Thornton (email@example.com). Applications that do not provide this information cannot be considered.
Stage 2: Suitable applicants will be interviewed, and if successful invited to make a formal application.
* European Union / EEA nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for a period of at least three years prior to starting the studentship, not including time for higher-education.