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PhD Studentship – Organic Synthesis using Electrochemical Flow Reactors

Organic Chemistry, Synthesis, Catalysis & Flow

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Wednesday 31 July 2019
Reference:  1131419EB

PhD Supervisor: Professor Richard Brown     

Co-supervisor: Professor David Harrowven

PhD Description:  With ever increasing pressures on natural resources, achieving sustainable syntheses of valuable chemicals, such as pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals, is an important objective. In an ideal synthesis, consumption of chemical reagents and generation of waste should be avoided, or at least, minimised. There is growing interest in the application of electrosynthesis as a reagent-free approach in organic synthesis, which also has the potential to reduce waste. This collaborative EPSRC Industrial CASE PhD project, involving Johnson Matthey and Professor Brown’s group at the University of Southampton, seeks to discover and develop new electrochemically-mediated synthetic methods, with particular emphasis on reactions of interest in the synthesis of pharmaceutical intermediates and natural products. An important collaborative aspect of the project concerns the application of electrode materials to facilitate selective and cleaner organic functional group transformations and carbon-carbon bond formation.

For examples of published work from our group in this area see: (a) Green, R. A.; Pletcher, D.; Leach, S. G.; Brown, R. C. D. Org. Lett. 2016, 18, 1198. (b) Green, R. A.; Jolley, K. E.; Al-Hadedi, A. A. M.; Pletcher, D.; Harrowven, D. C.; De Frutos, O.; Mateos, C.; Klauber, D. J.; Rincon, J. A.; Brown, R. C. D. Org. Lett. 2017, 19, 2050. (c) Pletcher, D.; Green, R. A.; Brown, R. C. D. Flow Electrolysis Cells for the Synthetic Organic Chemistry Laboratory. Chem. Rev. 2018, 118, 4573.

Funding: The project is part-funded by our industrial collaborators and will involve interaction with industrial scientists, with a placement in an industrial laboratory.

The project is funded for 4 years and welcomes applicants from the UK who have or expect to obtain at least an upper second class degree in Chemistry or relevant discipline. Funding will cover fees and a stipend at current research council rates per annum. The 201920 rate is £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 Professor Richard Brown in the field for proposed supervisor/project.

General enquiries should be made to Professor Richard Brown 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.


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