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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: - Jean Eccleston
Postgraduate Admissions:
- Dr Eckart Wrede
Director of Postgraduate Studies:
- Dr AnnMarie O'Donoghue

Funded PhD studentships available to commence in 2018-19

Functional Surfaces for Water Purification and Antibacterial Nanocoatings (2 studentships available for immediate start)
Contact Jas Pal Badyal ( and Simon Beaumont (
The Development of New Technology Platforms for Peptide Synthesis and Modification
Contact Steven Cobb (
Oxide Ion Conductors for Energy and Environmental Applications
Making Sense of Disorder in Molecular Organic Solids
Contact Paul Hodgkinson (
New Zeolite Catalysts for the Direct Functionalisation of Methane and Ethane
Contact Russell Taylor (
A New Approach to the Development of Coarse-Grained Models for the Simulation of Molecular Systems: Tackling the Transferability Problem
Contact Mark Wilson (
Smart Droplets: Synthesis, Separation, and Selection Through Chemically Controlled Droplet Fusion/Fission for Temporal and Spatial Patterning of Reactivity (available for immediate start)
Contact Matt Kitching (

SOFI CDT PhD positions

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Soft Matter and Functional Interfaces

Up to 21 fully-funded four-year PhD studentships are available in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Soft Matter and Functional Interfaces for October 2018 for graduates in the physical sciences including Chemistry.

****Please note that the application process for the 2018 programme has now closed. Please review the SOFI CDT website in January 2019 for news on future cohort recruitment.****

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.

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

Studentships for Cohort 5 incoming 2018 students:

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 (
Fluoroalkenes for Pharmaceuticals (EPSRC Industrial CASE with GSK)
Contact Professor Graham Sandford (
Drug reactions with lipid membranes
Contact Dr John Sanderson (
Discovery and Validation of New Antileishmanial Drug Targets
Multiple Herbicide Resistance in Black Grass: A Growing Problem
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 (
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 (
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 (
NMR Crystallography of Pharmaceutical APIs
Contact Dr Paul Hodgkinson (
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 (
Synthesis and applications of novel N-heterocyclic carbene precursors in biocatalysis
Contact Dr AnnMarie O'Donoghue (
Triple imaging with paramagnetically shifted magnetic resonance probes
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
Ruthenium complexes as HDAC inhibitor anticancer agents - Inorganic and organic synthesis, characterisation and evaluation
Contact Dr James Walton (
Laboratory studies of HCl-water clusters in the upper atmosphere
Contact Dr Eckart Wrede (
Unravelling the role of pyrabactin resistance proteins in plant stress responses and plant development
Contact Dr Ehmke Pohl (
Functional surfaces for humanitarian crises and antibacterial nanocoatings - 4 studentships (funding confirmed and available for immediate start)
Contact Professor Jas Pal Badyal FRS ( and Dr Simon Beaumont (

Postgraduate Funding Opportunities


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