University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


PhD UK/EU Studentship: Developing a Novel Magnetic Resonance Method to Characterise Molecular Dynamics inside Catalysts

Due to funding regulations, this studentship is only available to UK and EU nationals. Students must meet the eligibility criteria at:

(4-year fully-funded EPSRC industrial CASE studentship with Professor Lynn Gladden, Dr. Andy York and Dr. Mick Mantle; industrial partner Johnson Matthey plc ( Project to start 1 October 2017.)

Catalysis lies at the heart of the chemical industry with 80% of industrial chemical production requiring catalytic technology within their manufacturing process. It is estimated that catalysis contributes around $10 trillion to the global economy, including £50 billion p.a. to the UK alone. As a result there is strong motivation to make catalytic processes more energy efficient, and more selective to the required product thereby reducing production of by-products or waste streams. Our research group has already developed a range of techniques, many based on magnetic resonance methods, to probe molecular adsorption and diffusion in porous catalysts. This CASE studentship is focussed on extending the use of fast-field cycling NMR (a multi-frequency NMR technique) to characterise molecular dynamics and molecule-surface interactions inside catalysts, and to develop its use alongside techniques we have already established in the group. Understanding how reactants, intermediates and product molecules interact with each other inside the pores of a catalyst as well as with the pore surface and the catalytically active site is central to advances in catalyst design. Once the method is sufficiently developed, it will be applied to a range of catalytic materials to explore the extent to which the new insights obtained may be used to improve process performance.

The industrial collaborator on the project is Johnson Matthey (, one of the largest catalyst manufacturers in the world. This partnership gives us access to catalytic materials and insight to the relevant process technologies so that whilst doing fundamental research, the outputs of the project can be applied to relevant industrial systems.

Applicants for the studentship should have a First Class (or a high 2:1) degree in a relevant discipline such as chemical engineering, engineering, chemistry or physics.

To apply for the studentship:

  1. Include the Vacancy Reference number LFGPHD002A in the subject line of your email.

  2. Send your CV, to include grades/marks received in relevant examinations, to by 17:00 on 19 May 2017.

Please quote reference LFGPHD002A on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

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