Undergraduate News

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

Welcome to the news listings for the Chemistry Undergraduate students.

The purpose of these pages is to share information that may be of particular interest to Part II students.

Nightline Training - Hilary Term 2020

Nightline is an independent listening, support, and information service run for students, by students.  We aim to provide every student in Oxford with the opportunity to talk to someone in confidence – students can ring us on 01865 270270. We don’t pretend to have all the answers, or try to solve people's problems, but we care about whatever is on your mind and we will listen to whatever you want to talk about without judging or telling you what to do.  

Every term we run a training course for people who wish to join our team of volunteers.  This teaches the listening and support skills you will need to work for us.  Training requires commitment, but is a rewarding and worthwhile experience.  It consists of three one-day sessions, either on the Saturdays of 1st February, 8th February, and 15th February (Oxford University 2nd-4th week) or the Sundays of 2nd February, 9th February, and 16th February
 (Oxford University 2nd-4th week).

If you would like to train to become a Nightline volunteer, please fill out a training form here: 
If you would like more information about the training process, or have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with us at training@oxfordnightline.org.

We are also always looking for new volunteers to join our Publicity, Fundraising and Outreach team (PFO). PFO volunteers act as ambassadors for Nightline by talking to students and organising events in their colleges and departments.  It is not a large time commitment – you can do as much or as little as you have time for – and there are lots of opportunities to learn valuable skills and play a leading role in informing our publicity strategy.  If you've got a flair for publicity or an interest in charity PR, please get in touch at 
publicity@oxfordnightline.org – we'd love to hear from you!



PhD in Fragment Based Drug Discovery

Prof. Sally-Ann Poulsen, has two fully funded PhD scholarships with projects in Fragment Based Drug Discovery and is looking to secure two students to begin in early to mid 2020. This might be suitable for a current Part II who wanting to start a PhD this summer.

For further details, please see HERE


PhD in Molecular Technologies and Systems Medicine

CeMM, the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna are offering 15 fully funded PhD in Molecular Technologies and Systems Medicine.

Interdisciplinary for medics, biologists, chemists, bioinformaticians, computer scientists, engineers, physicists, mathematicians, and candidates with a degree in a similar subject. For further information see HERE.

The deadline for applications is 31st January 2020.

Applications are quick and easy via our online recruitment tool: https://cemm.at/phd-program/application/



PhD Studentship in Homogeneous Catalysis

Catalytic CO2 Hydrogenation to CH3OH and HCO2CH3: New ‘Frustrated Lewis Pairs’ for Homogeneous CO2-to-Fuel Conversions

Applications are sought for a fully funded 3.5 year studentship in homogeneous catalysis and small molecule activation. The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr Andrew Ashley at the new state-of-the-art Molecular Sciences Research Hub, Imperial College London, starting October 2020.

Project: This research project targets the use of activated H2 using ‘frustrated Lewis pairs’ to deliver reducing equivalents (H·, H+, H) to CO2. This will be mediated by low-coordinate hydride species and proceed via unusual oxidative addition/reductive elimination cycles on a main-group element, to catalytically effect the stepwise catalytic reduction of CO2 to CH3OH.

One of the grand challenges facing chemists is to find a method of catalytically, and selectively, hydrogenating CO2 to liquid fuels; if the H2 is renewably sourced this is a route to carbon-neutral fuels. The activation of both H2 and CO2 can be achieved using abundant main-group elements, which is encompassed within the rapidly advancing field of ‘frustrated Lewis pair’ (FLP) chemistry.[1] Examples of FLP hydrogenations catalysed by p-block elements exist for a wide variety of organic (e.g. carbonyls, imines) and inorganic substrates, and we have previously reported a system based on B(C6F5)3 to stoichiometrically transform CO2/H2 mixtures into CH3OH.[2] Recently we have been investigating Sn(II) and Sn(IV) Lewis acid components in FLPs; the Sn centre is soft, which leads to unique reactivity.[3] Excitingly, these activate H2 (sometimes via oxidative addition)[4] and catalytically reduce C=O bonds, yet we have not applied this methodology to CO2. This project will involve the synthesis of new, bulky Sn hydrides to investigate the kinetic aspects of their reactivity with H2/CO2 mixtures, using isotopic labelling and React-IR techniques. This approach will enable structure-function relationships to be derived and hence rational optimisation of the catalyst system towards an industrially competitive protocol to produce CH3OH and other commercially important oxygenates (e.g. CH3OCH3).

Eligibility and Funding: The position would suit an ambitious and highly motivated researcher with interests in organometallic chemistry and catalysis. A strong background in air-sensitive synthetic chemistry is desirable, with relevant previous research experience in academic laboratories essential. Funding is available to UK/EU students and will cover tuition fees and provide a tax-free stipend, including a London allowance. Applicants should hold (or expect to be awarded) a Class 1 Masters degree (MSci, MChem) in Chemistry. The chosen candidate will subsequently be entered for a highly prestigious Imperial College President's PhD Scholarship which offers the highest achievers in their undergraduate cohort (typically top 5-10%) an outstanding opportunity to receive a higher stipend (> £20,000 p.a.) for 3.5 years, and to access a structured programme of career development.  For further information please click here.

How to Apply: Interested candidates are encouraged to make informal contact ASAP with Dr Ashley by email (a.ashley@imperial.ac.uk), enclosing a CV. Formal applications should be made through the Imperial College online application process, which can be accessed here. Please make reference to the above project title in the Proposed Research Topic field. Short-listed candidates will be required to attend an interview in person at Imperial College London, which will be held in mid-January 2020.

Research website: http://www.ashleyresearchgroup.org.uk/

For further details, see HERE


ICFO - María Yzuel Fellowship Awards - talented women

ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences (http://icfo.eu), aims to attract outstanding, talented women to undertake an ambitious research project with an ICFO
research group and launch an exciting career in frontier research. ICFO is currently offering the María Yzuel Fellowship Awards for:

PhD Students:

Maria Yzuel Fellowship Awards– Up to 4 PhD fellowships co-financed between ICFO and the ENLIGHTEN MSCA program.

The deadline for application is January 19, 2020.  In case of any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at jobs@icfo.eu.  
Up to 4 PhD-fellowships co-financed with the ENLIGHTEN MSCA program available for outstanding women to undertake a PhD with one of the ICFO’s research groups.

For PhD Fellowship Program details, please visit http://phd.icfo.eu. Submit your application at http://jobs.icfo.eu/?detail=465

Undergraduate and Masters Students:

Up to 5 fellowships available for outstanding female undergraduate and masters students to conduct a Research Internship or Master Thesis.
Program details and applications are available at: http://jobs.icfo.eu/?detail=461



University of Manchester - CDT PhD Opportunity

We are currently recruiting for the GREEN (Growing skills for Reliable Economic Energy from Nuclear) CDT. 

See HERE for our open careers event in York in January 2020.

More information about the CDT is available at https://www.nuclear-energy-cdt.manchester.ac.uk/



Applications are invited for a four-year DPhil programme based in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford, which aims to train next-generation doctoral scientists in the practice of cutting edge chemical synthesis coupled with an in-depth appreciation of its application to biology and medicine. 

Students are admitted without being assigned to a specific research group and are trained initially as a single cohort in all aspects of organic synthesis. They subsequently undertake two sixteen-week research rotations in laboratories of their choosing before joining a specific group for a substantive three-year research project. For the duration of their DPhil, students will also receive a tailored programme designed to broaden their research and professional skills.

Studentships are 4 years in duration and consist of full fees and maintenance for qualifying applicants. For details on supervisors, studentships and how to apply, visit our website at: http://www.oxfordsynthesiscdt.ox.ac.uk. For informal enquiries, please email: SynthesisCDT@chem.ox.ac.uk.

Synthesis for Biology and Medicine CDT, 10 PhD Studentships in Synthetic Chemistry, University of Oxford, Department of Chemistry

http://www.oxfordsynthesiscdt.ox.ac.uk  Applications now open!