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Electrochemical synthesis, catalyst screening and optimisation of base-metal catalysts using a flow reactor platform


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Competition funded
Dr Charlotte Willans
School of Chemistry
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Ligand design is essential in the development of coordination and organometallic complexes, allowing their overall properties to be tuned and controlled in a precise manner, enabling new activities and reactivities to emerge. N-Heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) have been studied widely as ancillary ligands for the preparation of metal-based catalysts, and have shown significant promise. The steric and electronic versatility of NHCs is huge, through alteration of the nitrogen substituents and carbon backbone substituents. We have shown that electrochemical methodology can be used for the synthesis of metal-NHCs and other metal complexes.<br /> <br /> Our route surpasses traditional synthetic routes as it negates the need for strong bases, strict inert conditions, the by-product formation of stoichiometric metal salts, and is compatible with a wide range of ligand functionalities. We have translated the methodology into flow technology, enabling efficient and facile &lsquo;on-tap&rsquo; generation of a range of organometallic, inorganic and coordination compounds.<br /> <br /> This project will involve electrochemical generation of base-metal catalysts with direct flow into a catalytic flow reactor. Inline analysis at both the complex synthesis and catalytic reaction stages will enable optimisation of the full process using feedback control systems. Students working on this project will gain skills in synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry, catalysis, flow-chemistry and reaction engineering. In addition, a variety of analytical tools will be used including NMR and UV spectroscopy, (in-situ) mass spectrometry, GC and X-ray crystallography.<br /> <br /> The industrial standard lab that is housed in the School of Chemistry at Leeds (iPRD) and the interdisciplinary research project will provide a unique and relevant training environment.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>This proposal is representative of the projects currently on offer in our group. For more details of active research projects and collaborations, please visit our webpage at:&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p>Further information about&nbsp;<a href="this project">this project</a>&nbsp;(PDF)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study section that you are applying for <em><strong>PHD Chemistry FT</strong></em> and in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <em><strong>Electrochemical synthesis, catalyst screening and optimisation of base-metal catalysts using a flow reactor platform</strong></em>&nbsp;as well as <a href="">Dr Charlotte Willans</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis. &nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. &nbsp;We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</p> <p>Please note that you must provide the following documents at the point you submit your application:</p> <ul> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> <li>Funding information including any alternative sources of funding that you are applying for or if you are able to pay your own fees and maintenance</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:12px"><strong>Self-Funded or externally sponsored students are welcome to apply.</strong></p> <p><strong>UK</strong>&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="">Leeds Doctoral Scholarships</a> and <a href="">Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship</a> are available to UK applicants. <a href="">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Non-UK</strong> &ndash;The&nbsp;<a href="">China Scholarship Council - University of Leeds Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to nationals of China. The&nbsp;<a href="">Leeds Marshall Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support US citizens. <a href="">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Important:</strong>&nbsp; Any costs associated with your arrival at the University of Leeds to start your PhD including flights, immigration health surcharge/medical insurance and Visa costs are <strong>not</strong> covered under these studentships.</p> <p>Please refer to the <a href="">UKCISA</a> website for information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information about your applciation, please contact Doctoral College Admissions: e: <a href="">maps.pgr.admissions</a><a href=""></a></p> <p>For further information about this project, please contact Dr Charlotte Willans: e:&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>