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PhD Studentship - Supercritical Fluid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (SFC-MS) Analysis of Agrochemicals and Formulated Products

Characterisation and Analytics

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Tuesday 01 September 2020
Reference:  1258120EB

Supervisor:                 G J Langley, J M Herniman, C Howson (Syngenta)

Project description

The aim of this project is to realise the full potential of SFC-MS applied to Syngenta chemistries, not just active ingredients but also formulated products. 

New SFC-MS methods will be developed, utilising the selectivity and specificity of the chromatography and ionisation techniques to deliver new approaches for the analysis of agrochemicals. Full training on the use of SFC and MS, and data interpretation will be given within the research group at the University of Southampton.

In response to the tightening regulatory environment application of SFC-MS technology will highlight how and where these techniques can expedite analysis or improve chromatography selectivity aiding Syngenta in bringing products to market quicker and help to secure food security for global customers.

By working with Syngenta the student will have access to state-of-the-art industrial facilities where project work can be undertaken during a placement and ad hoc as required by the progress of the research project. The student will also be invited to attend Syngenta’s collaboration conference and present posters/oral presentations throughout their PhD, whilst gaining essential industry experience.

As part of this EPSRC/Syngenta iCASE project the successful student will have opportunity to undertake a three-month placement during the PhD at the company’s site at Jeallott’s Hill, Bracknell, providing valuable industrial experience.  The student will have access to additional instrumentation not available at Southampton, and will assess the transferability of their findings with the research teams at Syngenta.  The student will also attend Syngenta’s PhD Day to present their work, as well as be expected to present posters and orals at international conferences.

This project is well-suited to those with strong skills and a keen interest in analytical chemistry, and its application to the agrochemical industry.  An interest in physical-organic chemistry is desirable.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Professor John Langley, Langley Research Group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2182.

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 1 July 2020 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: full tuition fees for EU/UK students plus for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,285 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

How To Apply

Applications should be made online, please select the academic session 2020-21 “PhD Chemistry (Full time)” as the programme. Please enter John Langley under the proposed supervisor.

Applications should include

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact: 

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