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Department of Chemistry

Current opportunities

General Information

Postgraduate projects undertaken in the Chemistry Department here in Durham cover all of the traditional areas of chemistry and other contemporary, often interdisciplinary topics. PhD projects are available each year that span all aspects of the Department's research activities.

It is important to note that funding is awarded throughout the year, which means that new projects regularly become available throughout the year, so please check this web page frequently for the latest information.

Individual supervisors should be contacted for further project-specific information, while general enquiries may be made to the Postgraduate Admissions Tutors:

All general enquiries: - Mrs Anne Carrahar
Postgraduate Admissions:
- Dr Ivana Evans
Director of Postgraduate Studies:
- Dr AnnMarie O'Donoghue

SOFI CDT PhD positions

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Soft Matter and Functional Interfaces

Up to 18 fully-funded four-year PhD studentships are available in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Soft Matter and Functional Interfaces for October 2017 for graduates in the physical sciences including Chemistry.

The EPSRC funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Soft Matter and Functional Interfaces (SOFI CDT) provides industrially-integrated, postgraduate training in research, enterprise and innovation for future leaders in the soft matter academic and industrial sectors. SOFI CDT combines expertise from Durham, Leeds and Edinburgh universities, industry and central facilities. It brings together more than 50 academics from departments of Physics, Chemistry, Food Science, Biology, Engineering, Computing, (Applied) Mathematics and Durham University Business School.

First application deadline: Friday 25th November 2016.

For further information on SOFI CDT and how to apply please visit the SOFI CDT website: and

Informal enquiries can be directed by e-mail to Prof Lian Hutchings (CDT manager)

General PhD opportunities at Durham Chemistry

Fluoroheterocycles for drug discovery applications
Biocatalytic processes for the synthesis of chiral fluorinated systems for the life sciences (with Steven Cobb)
Contact Professor Graham Sandford (

Drug reactions with lipid membranes
Contact Dr John Sanderson (

Inhibitors of LmIPCS – New therapies for leishmaniasis
Chemical genetic approaches to increased crop biomass
Contact Professor Patrick Steel (

Measurement of the temperature dependence of the branching ratio of water forming reactions at the low temperatures (10 K) of the interstellar medium
Contact Dr David Carty (

Optical spectroscopy for the investigation of works of art and counterfeit goods
Contact Professor Andrew Beeby (

The development and testing of coarse-grained simulations approaches to modelling crystallization in polymer melts and the influence of additives on local order and physical properties
Contact Professor Mark Wilson (

Imaging and spectroscopy of thin films on surfaces
Contact Professor Colin Bain (

VOC-free crosslinking technologies for coatings applications
Contact Professor Andy Whiting (

Selective catalytic dimerisation of linear alpha-olefins (with Sasol Technology UK)
Contact Dr Phil Dyer (

Nanostructures for applications in solid catalyst materials
In situ spectroscopy for understanding the way heterogeneous catalysts work (Candidate must be flexible to spend some time at Diamond/Harwell site Oxfordshire)
Contact Dr Simon Beaumont (

Graphene functional fluids
Contact Professor Karl Coleman (

Understanding lactam-active ingredient co-phases
Contact Professor Jon Steed (

The mechanism of electron capture to form anions
Contact Professor David Tozer ( or Dr Jan Verlet (

Solid-state NMR studies of novel battery materials
Contact Dr Karen Johnston (

Structure-based design of synthetic retinoid derivatives with enhanced biological activity (4-year MRC CASE award)
Contact Dr Ehmke Pohl (

Mixed anion functional materials for magnetic and electronic applications
Contact Professor John Evans (

Molecular migration in structured materials
Molecular migration in evolving materials

Contact Dr Richard Thompson (

Synthesis and characterization of complex polymer architectures based on step-growth polymerisation (co-funded by DuPont Teijin Films)
Contact Professor Lian Hutchings (

Harnessing reactive phosphorylating agents for peptide bioconjugations
Contact Dr David Hodgson ( Dr Steven Cobb (

Interactions and collisions between ultracold polar molecules
Contact Professor Jeremy Hutson (

Flexible, nano-structured super-capacitors for energy devices
Electroanalysis with soft and hard nano-particles to probe redox activity in cell walls

Contact Dr Ritu Kataky (

Triple imaging with paramagnetically shifted magnetic resonance probes
Lanthanide complexes as chiral probes and labels
(with Robert Pal)
Contact Professor David Parker FRS (

Artificial molecular transporters for dissolved CO2
Contact Dr Paul McGonigal (

SERS (Raman) probes for rapid detection of skin cancer
Development of ultra-fast multi-point scanning Raman microscopy and its applications

Development of fast Liquid Crystal based SIM microscopy
Contact Dr Robert Pal (

Ruthenium complexes as HDAC inhibitor anticancer agents - Inorganic and organic synthesis, characterisation and evaluation
Contact Dr James Walton (

Postgraduate Funding Opportunities


Postgraduate funding opportunities - find out more about scholarships available for postgraduate study.