Chemistry PhD/MSc by Research

Postgraduate doctoral research degree Chemistry PhD/MSc by Research:

The School of Chemistry is undergoing a period of renaissance and growth. We have received significant investment in surface chemistry and analysis laboratories (£500,000), and won £2.5 million-worth of investment from Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund to purchase state-of-the-art equipment and refurbish laboratory space for carrying out research under the heading of Advanced Materials Research. 

In 2008 we were awarded £6 million for an EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre: Physical Sciences of Imaging in the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Training Centre. As a research-led School, which has received significant recent investment in research infrastructure, we offer a high quality research environment that will provide you with the best starting point for your future career.

Please note that you may upload a research proposal when submitting your application form, however, this is not mandatory.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Doctoral research

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: PhD: 3 to 4 years full-time; MSc by Research: 1 year full-time

Start date: Contact the School directly for further information

Contact

Admissions Tutor: Dr Joseph Hriljac

Contact us online or at +44 (0)121 414 2275.

Details

Please note that you may upload a research proposal when submitting your application form, however, this is not mandatory.

Please consult the School of Chemistry website and decide the area of Chemistry in which you want to work, and with which member(s) of staff (see Research interests below) or within which research theme. You can then approach staff members directly, or alternatively contact Norihan Taib, the School Postgraduate Admissions Secretary (see contact details above), who will be happy to provide advice about the admissions process and help put you in touch with members of staff who have similar research interests to your own.

Over the last four years, expenditure of over £2 million has allowed the School of Chemistry to purchase new instrumentation and refurbish and redevelop its facilities for research and teaching. This has been accompanied by the creation of several new staff positions. This increased research strength has been recognised by the research councils, who have given substantial support for research in the School in the last few years. With the facilities and opportunities available to our researchers, we can make real contributions to tackling the scientific challenges that face chemists today.

Research in the School is divided into four research units; examples of specific research topics are given below each unit heading and unit leader.

  • Biomolecular, Supramolecular and Nanoscale Chemistry
    Unit Leader: Dr Zoe Pikramenou
    Molecular and biomolecular recognition; supramolecular architectures; nanoparticles; self assembly and self organisation; liquid crystals; bioinorganic systems; light and redox sensitive sensors; photophysics and photochemistry; peptide design; DNA recognition motifs; luminescent labels; metallo-drugs and imaging agents; molecular imaging.
  • Molecular Synthesis and Catalysis
    Unit Leader: Dr Paul Davies
    Asymmetric synthesis; carbohydrates; cascade reactions; catalyst design; functional molecules; lipids; molecular design and diversity; natural products; organic reaction mechanisms; peptides; reactive intermediates; reaction design; organocatalysis; organometallic chemistry; sustainable chemistry; synthetic organic chemistry; transition-metal mediated reactions and catalysis.
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
    Unit Leader: Dr Graham Worth
    Atmospheric chemistry; bio-nanotechnology; chemical reaction dynamics; clusters and nanoparticles; computational and theoretical chemistry; electrochemistry; gas-phase molecular chemistry; magnetic resonance imaging; photoelectron and ultraviolet spectroscopy; simulation and modelling; surface and interfacial chemistry; X-ray spectroscopy.
  • Solid State Chemistry
    Unit Leader: Dr Peter Slater
    Fuel cell and Li ion battery materials; biomaterials; functional materials; heterogeneous catalysis; high-pressure chemistry; hybrid organic-inorganic materials; hydrogen storage and separation; magnetic materials; nanoparticles and nanowires; organic materials; polymorphism; superconductors; structural chemistry; thermoelectric materials; nuclear waste encapsulation materials; zeolites.

Learning and Teaching

Postgraduate students are provided with an Induction Programme, which generally occurs within the first week of Semester 1. The Induction Programme considers aspects such as the School Structure, Key Personnel, and Safety Matters, and is supplemented by a number of generic and subject specific Training Programmes. 

Postgraduate students also receive training in thesis writing through the requirement to submit two reports (a literature review and end of year one research review) in their first year of registration. These reports are reviewed by two assessors, and feedback is provided to the student. During subsequent years, students may gain experience with paper writing through submission of research for publication. The School also organizes an Annual Postgraduate Research Conference in July, at which all PG students attend. Students in their second year of registration produce a poster for this conference, while third year students are required to give an oral presentation. Students are actively encouraged to present their work at National and International conferences, and evidence for the success of our procedures in presentation training is provided by numerous recent best student talk/poster prize winners at such conferences. 

Why study this course

Birmingham’s School of Chemistry is one of the best-equipped in the UK for carrying out research in the Chemical Sciences. Join the School and you will work in an internationally recognised research group and have access to world-class facilities for tackling the chemical problems of the 21st century.

The high standing of our research was recognised in the last UK Research Assessment Exercise, where all of our research outputs were internationally recognised, with the majority being classed as internationally excellent or world-leading.

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply.
Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships
We have approximately 20 postgraduate studentships available. Applicants should have, or expect to obtain, a first- or upper second-class Honours degree, or the equivalent, in Chemistry or a relevant related discipline. In addition:

  • School studentships are available to UK/EU students, administered through the School’s Doctoral Training Account
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and other Research Council studentships are available to UK/EU students
  • EPSRC industrial CASE awards may attract a financial contribution from the industrial sponsor; fully-funded industrially-sponsored studentships are also usually available on terms comparable with EPSRC grants, including payment of fees
  • Approximately 10 four-year EPSRC-funded studentships in Imaging are available, administered through the Physical Sciences of Imaging in the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Training Centre.

For further information contact the School directly or email sfo@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Elite Postgraduate Scholarships are available for overseas candidates with an outstanding academic record. For details of these and other international scholarships and bursaries awarded by the School see scholarships for international postgraduates. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. International students with scholarships of their own are welcome to apply, but should ensure that sponsors make allowance for the payment of University fees as well as living costs in their awards. 

Entry requirements

Applicants must have at least an upper second-class UK Honours degree (or the equivalent) in Chemistry or a relevant related discipline. 

Learn more about entry requirements.   

International students
We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – learn more about international entry requirements.
Standard English language requirements apply.

How to apply

Learn more about applying

Apply now

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

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Research interests of staff

Individual staff research summaries within each unit are listed below, further details can be found on the School of Chemistry website:

Biomolecular, Supramolecular and Nanoscale Chemistry

  • Professor Michael Hannon, email: m.j.hannon@bham.ac.uk
    Anti-Cancer Metallo-Drugs: Bioinorganic Chemistry and Chemical Biology:
    Our research is focused on (i) the use of metal-coordination chemistry to assemble large nanoscale supramolecular structures which recognise DNA and (ii) the design of vectors that deliver metal-based anti-cancer drugs into cells and target them to specific tissues and specific cancers. We are exploring synthetic nanosized cylinders that bind strongly in the major groove of DNA or at DNA junctions and which induce remarkable intramolecular DNA coiling that is unprecedented with synthetic agents. This offers the possibility of coiling and immobilising specific genes. The work is underpinned by a programme on design of sophisticated metallo-supramolecular nanoscale architectures in one-pot reactions from commercial agents.

    “Noncovalent DNA-Binding Metallo-Supramolecular Cylinders Prevent DNA Transactions in vitro” C. Ducani, A. Leczkowska, N.J. Hodges, M.J. Hannon, Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed., 2010, 49, 8942-8945, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201004471

    “Towards functionalizable DNA frames: Self assembly of two-component 3D DNA arrays through induction of DNA three-way junction branch points by supramolecular cylinders” D.R. Boer, J. M. C. A. Kerckhoffs, Y. Parajo, M. Pascu, I. Usn, P. Lincoln, M.J. Hannon, M. Coll , Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed., 2010, 49, 2336-2339, DOI: 10.1002/anie.200906742onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ange.200906742/abstract
       
  • Dr Anna Peacock, email: a.f.a.peacock@bham.ac.uk  
    Our research is focused on both the roles of metals in biological and medicinal chemistry and de novo peptide design (essentially the ‘design from scratch’ of a peptide sequence which folds to a predictable secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure). We are particularly interested in the helix-turn-helix and helix-loop-helix motifs, in which two α-helices are linked by artificial inorganic “loops”. The α-helices are designed to bind through non-covalent interactions to nucleobases in the major groove of DNA and the “loop” regions are responsible for preorganising the α-helices so as to enhance DNA binding. We are also interested in the design of challenging metal ion binding sites in the interior of coiled coils, for example, the preparation of Gd coiled coils for MRI.

    Funding Available: A fully-funded PhD studentship (EU/UK nationals) is available: “Synthetic Biology and Metal Anticancer Complexes.
       
  • Dr Zoe Pikramenou, email : z.pikramenou@bham.ac.uk  
    The research programme in our group includes inorganic chemistry, photophysics and nanoscience to tackle luminescence imaging in biological cells, liquid flows and surfaces. Our projects are interdisciplinary involving collaborations with medical scientists, chemical engineers and biochemists. We use nanoparticles as scaffolds to carry both luminescent and MRI active probes in cells for multimodal imaging. We study their targeted delivery in cells using peptide and other biomolecular recognition motifs. For the probe design we use different ligand and coordination chemistries to prepare molecular lanthanide and transition metal probes and optimize their luminescent signals. We use different imaging techniques to study the nanoparticle presence in cells. We also study nanoparticles in flow systems and microchannels that have applications in chemical reactions and blood circulation studies. In a project that involves optoelectronic devices we study the modification of surfaces with lanthanide and transition metal probes using recognition and supramolecular chemistry to study their sensing properties for small molecules and their properties in building opto- and electro-active wires.

    Amy Davies, David J. Lewis, Stephen P. Watson, Steven G. Thomas, and Zoe Pikramenou
    PNAS 2012 ; published ahead of print January 20, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1112132109
       
  • Professor Jon Preece,  email : j.a.preece@bham.ac.uk  
    The Preece Group has interests in
    (i) Nanofabrication: This is a key technology in many high technology sectors including the electronics, medical and senor industries. Fabrication of chemically patterned substrates on a molecular length scale requires lithographic techniques with nanometer resolution, as well as materials that allow a controlled modification of their properties. Thus, the Preece group carries out research in the area of chemically-nanopatterning thin films using e-beams, X-rays, thermally promoted AFM probe reactions, and photochemically promoted reactions utilising a scanning probes.
    (ii) Biologically switchable surfaces: The ability to control the binding of bioactive molecules to a surface is a newly emerging area in the Preece group. We have designed a system in which a molecular structure can be controlled by applying a potential to a surface wich in turn controls the rate of binding. This science has applications in sensor technology
    (iii) Gene delivery: We have designed several peptides that are unique in their ability to bind DNA extracellularly and then deliver it to the intracellular environment, whereby by careful molecular design, we are able to modulate the release of the DNA by incorporating a dual release mechanism to the carrier peptide vector, making use of peptide degradation and the changing pH.
    (iv) Encapsulation of small molecules: In collaboration with industry we have designed several systems in which small molecules are encapsulated with a micron scale capsule. These capsules modulate the release profiles of the molecules both through chemical and mechanical means

    [1] ‘Direct Electron Beam Writing of Highly Conductive Wires in Functionalized Fullerene Films’, A.P.G. Robinson, R.E. Palmer, S. Diegoli, M. Manickam, J.A. Preece, Small., 2009, 5, 2750-2755.
    [2] ‘Fabrication of Patterned Surfaces by Photolithographic Exposure of DNA-Hairpins Carrying a Novel Photolabile Group’, B. Manning, S.J. Leigh, R. Ramos, J.A. Preece, R. Eritja, J. Exp. Nanosci., 2010, In press
    [3] ‘Combination of Dual Responsive Polypeptide Vectors for Enhanced Gene Delivery’ R. Nasanit, P. Iqbal, M. Soliman, N. Spencer, S. Allen, M.C. Davies, S.S. Briggs, L.W. Seymour, J.A. Preece, C. Alexander, Mol. BioSyst, 2008, 4, 741-745.
    [4] ‘Novel Inorganic/Organic Hybrid Microcapsules’, Y. Long, D.W. York, B. Vincent, Z. Zhang, J.A. Preece, Chem. Commun., 2010, 46, 1718-1720.
       
  • Dr James Tucker, email : j.tucker@bham.ac.uk  
    The main interest of my research group is in supramolecular chemistry (the study of intermolecular interactions), in particular the study of functional redox-active and photo-active (photochromic) receptors that bind charged and neutral species. We are particularly interested in systems where guest binding can be sensed or controlled using an external stimulus, leading to the development of molecular sensors for a range of biological targets (e.g amino acids, DNA) and molecular switches for nanotechnological applications.

    “Photorelease of an organic molecule in solution: light-triggered blockage of a hydrogen-bonding receptor site.” Y Molard, D M Bassani, J-P Desvergne, P N Horton, M B Hursthouse and J H R Tucker. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 44, 1072-1075 (2005).  

Molecular Synthesis and Catalysis

  • Dr Liam Cox, email: l.r.cox@bham.ac.uk  
    The focus of our research involves the development of new enabling synthetic methodologies for providing new routes to molecules with important biological and materials properties. We are particularly interested in i) asymmetric organocatalysis; ii) using β-halovinylsilanes as building blocks for oligoyne assembly; iii) organosilicon chemistry. We also have a very active research programme in chemical biology, investigating the role of glycolipids in CD1d-mediated immunity. This project is in collaboration with Professor Del Besra in the School of Biosciences at Birmingham, and Professor Vincenzo Cerundolo at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford.

    “Synthesis of a Versatile Building Block for the Preparation of 6-N-Derivatized α-Galactosyl Ceramides: Rapid Access to Biologically Active Glycolipids.” P. J. Jervis, L. R. Cox, G. S. Besra, J. Org. Chem., 76, 320-323 (2011). 
          
  • Dr Paul Davies, email: p.w.davies@bham.ac.uk  
    Catalysis and Synthesis. Our research involves the design, development and application of novel synthetic transformations and strategies that allow us to (i) prepare complex molecules more efficiently with less effort, cost and waste; and/or (ii) access unique chemical entities for application in synthesis and functional molecular design. Research projects cover the areas of; reaction development, transition-metal catalysis [using Au, Ag, Pt, Cu, Rh and Pd], synthesis of biologically relevant products, mechanistic studies, organocatalysis and organometallic chemistry.

    Intermolecular and selective synthesis of 2,4,5-trisubstituted oxazoles by a gold-catalysed formal [3+2] cycloaddition; P. W. Davies,* A. Cremonesi, L. Dumitrescu, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2011, 38, 8931-8935.

    Site-specific introduction of gold-carbenoids by intermolecular oxidation of ynamides or ynol ethers, P. W. Davies,* A. Cremonesi, N. Martin, Chem. Commun. 2011, 47, 379-381. 
       
  • Dr John Fossey, email: j.s.fossey@bham.ac.uk  
    Our research is directed towards the development of catalysts for organic synthesis and sensors for heath and the environment. Catalysis and sensing share many fundamental principles, we aim to exploit that cross over to generate exciting new ways to make and detect molecules.
    We work closely with groups in China, Japan, Switzerland and the USA, students in the group have the chance to engage with these groups and potentially visit their labs.

    • A pyridinium cation-π interaction sensor for the fluorescent detection of alkyl halides:Chem. Commun., 2011, 47, 253
    • Novel N,O-Cu(OAc)2 complex catalysed diastereo- and enantioselective 1,4-addition of glycine derivatives to alkylidene malonates: Catalysis Science and Technology, 2011, 1, 100
    • A Highly Selective Ferrocene-based Planar Chiral PIP (Fc-PIP) Acyl Transfer Catalyst for the Kinetic Resolution of Alcohols: J. Am. Chem Soc., 2010, 132, 17041 
       
  • Dr Richard S Grainger, email : r.s.grainger@bham.ac.uk  
    Work in the group is centred on the development of new synthetic methods and strategies, and their application in the synthesis of organic molecules of biological or structural interest. Chemistry we are developing includes the use of reactive intermediates such as radicals and carbenes, photochemistry, cycloaddition reactions and organosulfur chemistry. We also have an active interest in the use of peri-substituted naphthalenes for the generation and stabilization of reactive functionalities.

    “Formal Synthesis of (–)-Aphanorphine using Sequential Photomediated Radical Reactions of Dithiocarbamates” R. S. Grainger and E. J. Welsh, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 46, 5377-5380 (2007). 
       
  • Professor Nigel Simpkins, email: n.simpkins@bham.ac.uk  
    Our group is interested in the development of new synthetic methods and strategies for organic synthesis, particularly those involving a symmetry-breaking approach, for example, using chiral bases to effect asymmetric deprotonation. We aim to devise concise, efficient and elegant syntheses of complex biologically active molecules, and their analogues, in order to probe their medicinal potential. Targets of current interest include gelsemine, welwistatin, stephacidins, paraherquamides and various polyprenylated acylphloroglucinols. These compounds display varied activities, including anticancer and antiparasitic activity, and inhibition of multi-drug resistance.

    Synthesis of Polyprenated Acylphloroglucinols using Bridgehead Lithiation: The total synthesis of Racemic Clusianone and a Formal Synthesis of Racemic Garsubellin A. N.M. Ahmad, V. Rodeschini, N.S. Simpkins, S. Ward. J.Org.Chem. 2007, 72, 4803-4815 
          
  • Dr John Snaith, email : j.s.snaith@bham.ac.uk  
    New methodologies for the asymmetric synthesis of biologically active heterocycles, using ene chemistry and free radical cyclisations. Application to the synthesis of natural products. Peptide design, focusing on peptides that interact with key cell-surface receptors in the immune system. Use of peptides as targeting vectors in medical imaging and treatment. The development of novel photo triggers for the rapid initiation and study of biological reactions.

    “Synthesis of 3,4-Disubstituted Piperidines by Carbonyl Ene and Prins Cyclizations: Switching between Kinetic and Thermodynamic Control with Brønsted and Lewis Acid Catalysts”. J.T. Williams, P.S. Bahia, B.M. Kariuki, N. Spencer, D. Philp, J.S. Snaith. J. Org. Chem. 71, 2460-2471 (2006) 
         

Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

  • Dr Melanie Britton, email: m.m.britton@bham.ac.uk  
    The group is a leader in developing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to visualise chemistry and chemical processes directly. We have used MRI to image chemical patterns in the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, which allows us to better understand the formation of waves and patterns found in slime mould, cell suspensions, nerve axons, cardiac tissues, as well as other autocatalytic chemical reactions. MRI can also visualise flow and using this method we have been able to better understand how chemistry couples with flow in chemical and biological pattern formation, as well as in chemical reactors. Most recently we have shown that MRI can be used to probe the composition and structural changes in an electrolyte solution adjacent to a reactive metal during corrosion. These novel experiments demonstrate the enormous potential for MRI to study other electrochemical systems, such as metal-air batteries or fuel cells.

    “Visualisation of chemical processes during corrosion of zinc using magnetic resonance imaging” A. J. Davenport, M. Forsyth, M. M. Britton Electrochem. Commun. 12 (2009) 44-47. 
        
  • Dr Josephine Bunch, email: j.bunch@bham.ac.uk  
    Mass Spectrometry Imaging permits imaging of small and large molecules directly in tissue, without the need for labelling or tagging. Our research focuses on the development of Mass Spectrometry Imaging methodologies for spatially resolved measurements of elements, metals, drugs, lipids, peptides and proteins in tissue. Particular interests include imaging of drugs and metabolites in whole animal sections by MALDI-MS. 
       
  • Dr Sarah Horswell, email: s.l.horswell@bham.ac.uk  
    Application of in situ infrared spectroscopy to study molecular adsorption at solid metal electrodes. Of current interest is the effect of electric potential on molecular conformation of phospholipids assembled on gold surfaces. These assemblies mimic cell membranes and can be used to bind other biological molecules to the surface. This provides opportunities to tailor surfaces at the nanometre scale and has potential application in the manufacture of biosensors. Our other main interest is the synthesis and electrochemical properties of bimetallic nanoparticles. The nanoparticles are tethered to substrates and their catalytic activity towards electrochemical reduction reactions is determined.

    “Electrochemical and PM-IRRAS studies of the effect of cholesterol on the structure of a DMPC bilayer supported at a Au(111) electrode surface. Part 1 Properties of the acyl chains.” Bin, X., Horswell, S.L. and Lipkowski, J. Biophysical Journal 2005, 89(1), 592-604.
       
  • Professor Roy Johnston, email : r.l.johnston@bham.ac.uk  
    Theoretical/computational chemistry. One major strand of our research involves the application of biologically-inspired computational methods (such as genetic algorithms, ant colony optimisation and artificial neural networks) to chemical problems (e.g. cluster geometry optimisation and protein folding). Another important research area is the study of the structures, growth, dynamics and the chemical and physical properties of metal nanoparticles and bimetallic nanoalloys, using many-body potential energy functions and Density Functional Theory calculations. We are also involved in a major collaborative project to investigate the self-assembly of soft materials, such as proteins, DNA and liquid crystals. We collaborate closely with experimental research groups in Chemistry, Physics, Chemical Engineering and Biosciences.

    “Nanoalloys: from theory to applications of alloy clusters and nanoparticles”. R. Ferrando, J. Jellinek and R. L. Johnston, Chem. Rev. 2008, 108, 845-910.
       
  • Professor Richard P Tuckett, email : r.p.tuckett@bham.ac.uk  
    Vacuum-UV spectroscopy and unimolecular dynamics of excited electronic states of polyatomic molecules, free radicals, and molecular ions in the gas phase; fluorescence and coincidence techniques; the use of VUV radiation from synchrotrons as tunable photoionisation and photodissociation sources; studies of ion-molecule reactions in a selected ion flow tube; low-energy electron attachment to molecules; proton transfer mass spectrometry.

    “Vacuum-UV negative photoion spectroscopy of SF5CF3
    M J Simpson, R P Tuckett, K Dunn, A Hunniford, C J Latimer and S W J Scully
    J. Chem. Phys., (2008) 128 (12), 124315-1  124315-10
       
  • Dr John Wilkie, email : j.wilkie@bham.ac.uk  
    Application of computational chemistry methods to the understanding of enzyme catalysis, reaction mechanisms and the relationship between protein structure and function. In collaboration with synthetic organic chemists, we are interested in exploiting this knowledge in the design of highly selective enzyme inhibitors useful in the treatment of many diseases.

    “Mechanism of CB1954 reduction by Escherichia coli nitroreductase.” A Christofferson, J Wilkie. Biochemical Society Transactions, 37, 413-418 (2009)
    “Structures of the dI(2)dIII(1) complex of proton-translocating transhydrogenase with bound, inactive analogues of NADH and NADPH reveal active site geometries.” T Bhakta, S J Whitehead, J S Snaith, T R Dafforn, J Wilkie, S Rajesh, S A White, J B Jackson. Biochemistry, 46, 3304-3318 (2007)
       
  • Dr Graham Worth, email : g.a.worth@bham.ac.uk  
    The development and use of theoretical methods to simulate ultrafast photochemistry. In the first few hundred femtoseconds after excitation, molecules often undergo internal conversion via special topological features in their potential energy surfaces called conical intersections. This explains e.g. ultrafast electron transfer and unexpected spectral features. In collaboration with a laser spectroscopy group we aim to use conical intersections to control reactions using shaped laser pulses.

    “Ultrafast photoinitiated long-range electron transfer in cyclophane-bridged zincporphyrin-quinone complexes via conical intersections.” A Dreuw, G A Worth, L S Cederbaum and M Head-Gordon. J. Phys. Chem. B, 108, 19049-19055 (2004).
       

Solid State Chemistry

  • Dr Paul Anderson, email: p.a.anderson@bham.ac.uk  
    The primary aim of my research is the discovery, characterization and development of new inorganic materials, many of which have potential applications related to energy. Important research areas: Synthesis of new potential hydrogen storage materials, for use either in safe hydrogen delivery systems or reversible hydrogen stores; materials also of interest as lithium ion conductors for future use in lithium batteries. Projects in this area available within the School of Chemistry, or as part of the interdisciplinary RCUK Doctoral training Centre in Hydrogen and Fuel Cells. The use of framework materials for the controlled production of nanoparticles and nanowires; or as molecular scaffolding for the assembly of nanostructured materials with potential for gas (H2, CO2) capture and storage. Synthesis and properties of inorganic electrides and alkalide anions in zeolites.

    “Hydrogen storage and ionic mobility in amide–halide systems” P. A. Anderson, P. A. Chater, D. R. Hewett and P. R. Slater Faraday Disc. 151, 271–284 (2012).
       
  • Professor Colin Greaves, email : c.greaves@bham.ac.uk  
    The group is active in the area of Inorganic Materials Chemistry and we are currently studying the synthesis and characterisation (structural and physical properties) of a range of materials with interesting electronic, superconducting, magnetic or ion transport properties. Mixed metal oxides and phases containing mixed anions (such as oxide fluorides) provide our current focus.

    “Crystal structure and oxide ion conductivity in cubic (disordered) and tetragonal (ordered) phases of Bi25Ln3Re2O49 (Ln = La, Pr). C. H. Hervoches and C. Greaves, J Mater Chem, 20, 6759 (2010).
       
  • Dr Joseph Hriljac, email : j.a.hriljac@bham.ac.uk  
    Synthesis and diffraction studies of zeolites, zeotypes, layered phosphates and transition metal oxides, especially ion-exchange materials and ceramics with applications for environmental remediation of legacy nuclear wastes. The diffraction studies focus strongly on structure-property relationships and analysis using crystallographic techniques, especially X-ray (conventional and synchrotron) and neutron powder diffraction or total scattering studies using Pair Distribution Function analysis at ambient or non-ambient temperatures or pressure.

    “High pressure ion exchange of aluminosilicate and gallosilicate natrolite”, G. L. Little, E. Bailey, N. C. Hyatt, E. M. Maddrell, P. F. McMillan and J. A. Hriljac, J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 133, 13883-85 (2011). DOI: 10.1021/ja205689c

    “Optimizing high-pressure pair distribution function measurements in diamond anvil cells”. K. W. Chapman, P. J. Chupas, G. J. Halder, J. A. Hriljac, C. Kurtz, B. K.Greve, C. J. Ruschman and A. P. Wilkinson, J. Appl. Cryst. 43, 297-307 (2010).DOI: 10.1107/S0021889810002050
       
  • Dr Zoe Schnepp, email : schnepp.zoe@nims.go.jp
    My research explores sustainable routes to functional nanomaterials. Using Green Chemistry principles, we design nanostructured materials based on simple methods and cheap and abundant precursors. There are many applications for these ideas but one particular area of focus is artificial photosynthesis: using sunlight to produce chemical fuels such as hydrogen or methanol.

    “Biotemplating of Metal Carbide Microstructures: The Magnetic Leaf”
    Z. Schnepp, W. Yang, C. Giordano, M. Antonietti, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 49, 6564 (2010)
    “Structural evolution of superconductor nanowires in biopolymer gels”
    Z. Schnepp, S. C. Wimbush, S. Mann, S. R. Hall, Adv. Mater., 20, 1782 (2008)
       
  • Dr Ian Shannon, email : i.shannon@bham.ac.uk  
    Synthesis and characterisation of new solid materials focusing on structural and catalytic studies of supported catalysts. Heterogenisation of inorganic and organometallic catalysts through their encapsulation within clays, mesoporous and microporous materials. Development of novel organic-inorganic hybrid compounds with applications in sorption, ion exchange and proton conductivity.

    “Nickel amine complexes as structure-directing agents for aluminophosphate molecular sieves: a new route to supported nickel catalysts.” R Garcia, T D Coombs, I J Shannon, P A Wright and P A Cox. Topics in Catalysis, 24, 115-124 (2003).
       
  • Dr Peter Raymond Slater, email : p.r.slater@bham.ac.uk  
    My research is in the area of materials chemistry, with the main focus on the development of new materials for energy applications. Recent research has included the investigation of novel materials for use in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells and solid state Li ion batteries. This research has led to the identification of new structure-types displaying ionic conductivity, as well as new doping strategies to improve the performance of existing materials. In addition to the above, my research group also has interests in the synthesis and characterisation of mixed metal oxide fluorides prepared by low temperature routes for a range of applications.
    Experimental techniques employed include X-ray and neutron diffraction, conductivity measurements, thermogravimetric analysis, Raman and NMR spectroscopy.

    Strategies for the optimization of the oxide ion conductivities of apatite-type germanates; A. Orera, T. Baikie, P. Panchmatia, T.J. White, J. Hanna, M.E. Smith, M.S. Islam, E. Kendrick, P.R. Slater; Fuel Cells 11, 10-16, 2011.

    Enhanced CO2 stability of oxyanion doped Ba2In2O5 systems co-doped with La, Zr; J.F. Shin, P.R. Slater;
    J. Power Sources 196, 8539-8543, 2011.

    Low temperature fluorination of Sr3Fe2O7-x with polyvinylidine fluoride: an X-ray powder diffraction and Mössbauer spectroscopy study; C. A. Hancock, T. Herranz, J. F. Marco, F. J. Berry, P. R. Slater; J. Solid State Chem. 186, 195-203, 2012.
       
  • Dr Maryjane Tremayne, email : m.tremayne@bham.ac.uk  
    Structural study of organic materials from powder diffraction data and computational prediction techniques; solid state properties of pharamaceutical compounds; study of crystalline polymorphic behaviour; development and application of evolutionary and other heuristic optimization techniques.

    “Differential evolution: crystal structure determination of a triclinic polymorph of adipamide from powder diffraction data.” C C Seaton and M Tremayne. Chem. Commun., 880-881 (2002).
       
  • Dr Adrian J Wright, email : a.j.wright@bham.ac.uk  
    My research targets new advanced inorganic materials with application in areas such as biomaterials, organic-inorganic hybrids and magnetic materials. The synthesis of these materials is directed by an ever improving understanding of the links between structure and properties in inorganic solids, informed by detailed characterisation techniques.

    “Jahn-Teller Distorted Frameworks and Magnetic Order in the Rb-Mn-P-O System, Fiona C. Coomer, Neal J. Checker, and Adrian J. Wright, Inorg. Chem., 49, 934–942 (2010).
       

Related research

Contact

Admissions Tutor: Dr Joseph Hriljac

Contact us online or at +44 (0)121 414 2275.

Employability

As a research-led School, which has received significant recent investment for research infrastructure, we offer a high quality research environment that provides its researchers with the best starting point for their future career. Through your time with us, you will not only have acquired the diverse range of skills that equip you for a research career in science, but also have developed key transferable skills that will be invaluable for pursuing a career in any discipline. With a chemistry MSc:

  • You are literate and numerate  
  • You have developed critical and analytical skills
  • You have honed your problem-solving skills
  • You are well versed in communication and presentation skills
  • You can work independently as well as in a team
  • You are practiced in the use of IT
  • You are an expert in your research field

In short, you are ready to face the world!

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) 2011/12 (postgraduate taught graduates)

The DLHE survey is conducted 6 months after graduation.

Examples of employers

  • Macdermid plc
  • Ernst & Young
  • Future Science Group
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Goldman Sachs International
  • Johnson Matthey
  • Kraft Foods
  • Novartis
  • Augean plc
  • Henkel Ltd

Examples of occupations

  • Accountant
  • Analytical Chemist
  • Analytical Engineer
  • Chemical Analyst
  • Development Chemist
  • Assistant Commissioning Editor
  • Assistant Technical Officer
  • Laboratory Chemist
  • Manufacturing Graduate
  • Process Development Chemist

Further study - examples of courses

  • MRes Human and Environmental Health Impacts of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • MSc Advanced Chemical Engineering
  • MSc Analytical Toxicology
  • MSc Biochemical Engineering
  • MSc Forensic Investigation
  • Second degree in medicine
  • PhD - Radiochemistry
  • PhD - Cancer Sciences
  • Doctor of Pharmacy
  • PhD Chemistry

Visit the Careers section of the University website for further information.

Contact

Admissions Tutor: Dr Joseph Hriljac

Contact us online or at +44 (0)121 414 2275.