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PhD Studentship – Rapid study of organic reactions using flow systems

School of Chemistry

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Sunday 30 June 2019
Reference:  1113919EB

Organic synthesis is a key technology in the development and commercial success of agrochemicals. Rapid scale-up is important in decreasing time-to-market, and final production processes have to be very efficient if the product is to be price-competitive.

Flow chemistry - carrying out reactions continuously – has great advantages for chemical production, but its benefits for obtaining process information allowing reaction optimisation and rapid scale-up are less explored. This project aims to develop novel methods for the rapid acquisition of reaction information using flow chemistry where a gradient of one variable together with in-line analysis (UV, IR, MS, HPLC) is used to generate data on how the output varies with a wide range of process conditions in a single experiment. The method will be developed an illustrated with wide range of organic reactions including photochemical, transition metal catalysed, and using solid phase catalysts. The project would suit someone who is interested in the development and use of modern technology in synthesis, as well as catalysis, reaction mechanisms and physical organic chemistry. The project involves the use of sophisticated automated reactors and various spectroscopic and other analytical tools. Analysis of analytical data using statistical and modelling tools will play a significant part.

The project will involve spending three months at the Syngenta Jealott’s Hill Research Centre in Bracknell, Berkshire transferring the technology developed during the PhD into an industrial environment.

The project is funded for 3.5 years and welcomes applicants from the UK and EU who have or expect to obtain at least an upper second class degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or allied subjects. Funding will cover fees and a stipend at current research council rates per annum (predicted 201920 rates are £15.009).

Due to funding restrictions this position is only open to UK students and EU students who meet the RCUK eligibility criteria

Applications for a PhD in Chemistry should be submitted online at

Please ensure you select the academic session 2019-20 when making your application in the academic year field and click on the Research radio button.  Enter Chemistry in the search text field

Please place Prof Whitby in the field for proposed supervisor/project

General enquiries should be made Prof. Richard J. Whitby at  Any queries on the application process should be made to

Applications will be considered in the order that they are received, and the position will be considered filled when a suitable candidate has been identified.

The University of Southampton and the School of Chemistry both hold Athena SWAN Silver Awards, reflecting their commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, and particularly to gender equality.

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