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PhD Studentship – Organic Photo-flow Chemistry

Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry

University of Cambridge, Trinity Ln, Cambridge, UK


  • Posted on: 16th Dec 2021
  • Funding amount: Funding Available
  • Funding for: EU Students, International Students, UK Students
  • REF: MA29510
  • Closes: 24th January 2022
  • Hours: Full Time

A 3.5-year PhD studentship is available from October 2022 within the Reisner Lab in the Department of Chemistry, funded by AstraZeneca. This PhD project will focus on the development and implementation of photo-flow techniques to enable green and cost-effective methods to perform challenging organic transformations to support AstraZeneca’s ambition to reach carbon neutrality by 2025. A part of the project will involve decade-long experience of the Reisner Lab in designing photocatalyst materials based on inexpensive, robust, and easily scalable carbon nitride and carbon nanodots. It will be key to ensure that the photocatalysts are not only easily applicable to flow techniques but also access a wide variety of unconventional coupling partners.

The ultimate goal is to achieve a step-change in automated chemical synthesis, which can be easily adopted by research laboratories and industries. As such, one of the main objectives of the project, alongside organic synthesis, will involve the design and advancement of the photo-flow set-up. Basic engineering development will be involved to design light energy efficient and photocatalyst-compatible photoreactors. The project will build upon the already established configurations available in the Reisner group: a packed bed photoreactor, where the catalyst is embedded in the column and the solution/gas mixture passes through, and a serial microbatch reactor, where the catalyst is dispersed in solution and injected together with the reagents. The project will also involve examination of various detection and analytical methods to allow for the integration of continuous in-line monitoring techniques. Finally, the project will involve the improvement of the multi-reaction set-up already available in the Reisner Lab, together with the use of machine learning for the identification of optimum reaction conditions and the design of automated protocols by using the AstraZeneca self-optimising flow reactor.

The studentship is part of the Cambridge-AstraZeneca studentship programme, and the student will spend time at both institutions over the course of their PhD.

Further information on research in the Reisner group is available at: http://www-reisner.ch.cam.ac.uk

Applicants must have (or expect to obtain) at least the equivalent of a UK upper second-class Master’s degree in chemistry. The studentship will provide a maintenance grant and tuition fees at the UK rate. Non-UK applicants will be considered only if they qualify for the UK fees rate or are able to fund the overseas fees differential.

To apply, please email a cover letter, CV, detailed academic transcripts and the contact details for at least two academic referees to: Prof Erwin Reisner (email: pa-reisner@ch.cam.ac.uk). Your cover letter should explain why you wish to be considered for the studentship and describe the qualities and experience you would bring.

Please quote reference MA29510 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

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