New PhD Studentship

There is a new opportunity to work in the Green Materials Lab, with a PhD position available from 1 September 2017. Applications are only open to UK residents or EU citizens (under exceptional circumstances). Apply by sending your CV and contact details of two references to Mike (michael.shaver@ed.ac.uk). Details below! 

Project Description: While polymer science underpins our material world through efficient reactions, these processes aren’t truly sustainable, even if the resultant polymers are biodegradable. There remains a great need for a broad scope synthetic strategy for preparing functional aliphatic polyesters (so called “green polymers”) as a critical resource. This project builds on a recent discovery in the Shaver group on a new strategy for aliphatic polyester synthesis. In particular, this studentship will sit at the interface between inorganic chemistry and polymer chemistry.

Catalyst design: Current catalysts explored are limited to simple Lewis acids, with the best first generation catalysts aluminium complexes of salen or salan ligands. We will explore both traditional ROP catalysts and develop new ligand frameworks and complexes for this key reaction. The student will exploit the exceptional air-sensitive synthetic equipment, characterisation facilities and our expertise in inorganic coordination chemistry, while rapid catalyst screening will be facilitated by in-house semi-combinatorial reactors.

Monomer scope: This project will importantly extend this reaction in three areas: amines, carboxylic acids and alkenes. Working on collaborative projects in our group, these monomers and their resultant polymers can feed into existing applied projects in collaborations in the pharmaceutical industry, water purification and functional polymers. In a property driven field like polymer science, where simply making a new structure is just the start of the challenge, it is essential to develop impact from the work, and thus building structure-property relationships is essential.

This project is a 3-year PhD studentship, supporting all tuition and fees and a generous stipend at current EPSRC levels. The candidate must satisfy EPSRC studentship eligibility requirements, having settled status in the UK and having been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the studentship. The ideal PhD candidate will be a recent or upcoming graduate with a strong interest in synthetic polymer chemistry and catalyst design and a willingness to learn in a multi-disciplinary environment. The successful candidate will have a demonstrated ability to work well in a team, excellent oral and written communication skills and an inherent desire to learn and strive to develop as a scientist and leader. The position is in the EaStCHEM School of Chemistry in Edinburgh.

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