Graduate Studies in Chemistry


DPhil studentship in Biocatalytic C–H Activation

Available 01/10/2022

Biocatalysis using P450 Monooxygenases for the Synthesis of Novel Fragrances

Applications are invited for a DPhil studentship in Biocatalytic C–H activation available from October 2022, to work under the supervision of Prof. Luet Wong in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford. The studentship is funded by the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) and Unilever.

The studentship will cover course fees at a Home rate and provide a stipend of no less that the standard UK Research Council rate, currently set at £16,062 per annum (for 2022/23 academic year), for up to 4 years. The project also involves a placement of 3 months or more at a Unilever research facility.

Research in the Wong group is focused primarily on the engineering of cytochrome P450 monooxygenases for the selective C–H bond oxidation and oxidative diversification of organic compounds for applications in synthesis. Current goals include the discovery of biocatalytic processes for the synthesis of aroma and flavour fine chemicals and functionalised fragment molecules.

The advertised project aims to develop P450 enzyme variants that will directly functionalise C–H bonds in existing aroma compounds as well as precursors to them. The objective is to discover new enzymes for processes to existing compounds and new products with novel properties.

Candidates with a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree in Chemistry or a closely related subject are encouraged to apply. Prior research experience (such as a Masters research project or equivalent) in enzymology and biocatalysis is desirable. The successful applicant will be based in the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory of the Department of Chemistry.

Candidates should submit an informal application via email to Prof. Wong ( with a CV, a cover letter and two references, quoting LLW/BBSRC-Unilever/2022. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview in July.

Application deadline: 12.00 noon UK time on Monday 4 July 2022

Please note that submission of a formal DPhil application will be required at a later stage.

Queries relating to the application and admission process should be directed to:; tel.: +44 (0) 1865 272569.

The Department of Chemistry holds the Athena SWAN Silver Award.

INEOS Oxbridge Doctoral Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance

The INEOS Oxbridge Doctoral Initiative is a programme from the Ineos Oxford Institute for Antimicrobial Research (IOI), University of Oxford and University of Cambridge to train the next generation of outstanding scientific champions to tackle the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

This is our call to the brightest minds to join us in tackling the growing global threat of antimicrobial resistance using cutting-edge science and innovation. This presents you with an extraordinary opportunity to make an important scientific contribution while training with internationally leading scientists at Oxford and Cambridge. If this initiative excites you then we encourage you to apply – wherever you are!

About AMR

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – when microbes, such as bacteria and viruses, outwit our medicines and cause untreatable infections – is already a huge and growing health problem around the world. Recent data published in The Lancet suggests that there may have already been nearly 5 million global deaths related to drug resistant infections in 2019. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that by 2050, this figure will increase to 10 million, overtaking the number of cancer related deaths and making antimicrobial resistance one of the most pressing health problems faced by humanity today.

About the programme

The INEOS Oxbridge Doctoral Initiative on AMR integrates the expertise and capabilities of two Universities that are globally recognised for excellence in health science research. This is funded by the INEOS Oxford Institute, with studentships fully funded for 3.5 years (fixed term). There are 6x studentships available, to start in October 2022. 3 studentships will be awarded in Oxford (DPhil) and 3 will be awarded in Cambridge (PhD), but students will be encouraged to train in both Universities. This provides the chance to experience the best of both academic environments and their established networks.

The programme offers:

Immersion in both Universities. Although registered in either Oxford or Cambridge as their home base, all students will have ample opportunity to spend periods of time as a visitor in the second University, taking part in ongoing collaborations.

Collaboration. Each project is distinct and unique for that student, but there will be the opportunity to collaborate with other students and projects within the initiative, with the additional possibility of input from industry.

Funding. Our studentships are fully funded for three and a half years, through the generous support of the INEOS Oxford Institute. This funding covers UK/international University of Cambridge & Oxford fees in addition to living costs (stipend), which will be equivalent to the standard Wellcome stipend rate.

Future prospects. By the time you graduate, you will have acquired skills that are in high demand worldwide. This includes expertise in drug discovery, machine learning and analysis of big data. Such skills will support your future ambitions wherever these take you, including academia, pharma and private-sector companies.

Available projects

A total of six projects are available in this round:

Project: ML-guided fragment-based antibiotic discovery for Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Registered in: University of Cambridge
Primary supervisor: Professor Andres Floto email: Co-supervisor: Dr Josie Bryant
Collaborators: Professor Chris Schofield (University of Oxford), Professor David Spring (University of Cambridge)

Project: Using cutting-edge biophysics to combat antimicrobial resistance
Registered in: University of Oxford
Primary supervisor: Professor Chris Schofield email: Co-supervisor: Professor Fernanda Duarte
Collaborators: Professor David Spring, Professor Tuomas Knowles, Professor Andres Floto (University of Cambridge) and Professor Tim Walsh (University of Oxford)

Project: Structure-based design of new antibiotics
Registered in: University of Oxford
Primary supervisor: Professor Chris Schofield email: Co-supervisor: Professor Fernanda Duarte
Collaborators: Professor David Spring, Professor Tuomas Knowles, Professor Andres Floto (University of Cambridge) and Professor Tim Walsh (University of Oxford)

Project: Next generation screening platforms for antimicrobial discovery
Registered in: University of Cambridge
Primary supervisor: Professor Tuomas Knowles email:
Collaborators: Professor David Spring, Professor Andres Floto (University of Cambridge), Professor Chris Schofield (University of Oxford)

Project: Understanding the impact of antibiotics on the neonatal/infant microbiome and growth development in LMICs
Registered in: University of Oxford
Primary supervisor: Professor Tim Walsh email: Co-supervisor: Dr Kirsty Sands
Collaborators: Professor Julian Parkhill (University of Cambridge)

Project: Identification of novel antibiotic resistance mechanisms in Klebsiella pneumoniae using machine learning
Registered in: University of Cambridge
Primary supervisor: Professor Julian Parkhill email: Co-supervisor: Dr Caitlin Collins
Collaborators: Professor Tim Walsh (University of Oxford)

Application process
We are now accepting applications.
Application Deadline: 30 June 2022 at 11:59pm GMT.
Start Date: October 2022.

Step 1: Make initial contact with the primary supervisor of the project you are interested in. Emails details are shown in the project description above.

Step 2: The supervisors will provide further information about the projects and advice on how to submit a formal application to the correct course via the relevant University’s application portal.

Additional information
More information about the initiative can be found at:
Additional information about the different departments and courses can be found at:
University of Oxford:
University of Cambridge:
Contact information

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Joyce Nwekwu:


Exciting PhD opportunity with the Faraday Institution.
The Next Generation of Sodium Batteries.

Looking for a battery related career that contributes to creating a sustainable future? Keen to join a dynamic community of pioneering battery researchers seeking to find solutions to support a fully electric future?

The Faraday Institution Cluster PhD researchers receive an enhanced stipend over and above the standard EPSRC offer. The total annual stipend is approximately £20,000 (plus London weighting) plus an additional training package worth £7,000. Recipients will have access to multiple networking opportunities, industry visits, mentorship, internships, as well as quality experiences that will further develop knowledge, skills, and aspirations. Read more. Take a look at the bespoke training programme on offer.

University: Oxford

Project title: Cathode development and optimisation for high-power sodium-ion batteries

Project description: High-power sodium batteries will be a game-changer. Made from abundant non-toxic elements, sustainable and safe, these batteries will expand the global availability of high performance batteries and open up new technological opportunities.

A fully funded 4-year studentship (DPhil) is available in the Department of Chemistry (Inorganic) at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Prof Bill David working on cathode development and optimisation for high-power sodium-ion batteries. The project involves (i) cathode materials synthesis and characterisation using a broad range of techniques that includes X-ray and neutron diffraction, spectroscopy and thermodynamic measurements and (ii) battery fabrication and testing to determine the relationships between electrochemical performance and crystal structure at the atomic and nanoscale.

This DPhil, which will begin on the 3rd October 2022, is part of NEXGENNa, a large interdisciplinary collaborative project focussed on sodium-ion batteries and funded by the Faraday Institution, a £42 million initiative to accelerate the electric vehicle revolution by overcoming the related battery challenges. The project brings together researchers from five UK universities and STFC to develop a new generation of high performance sodium-ion batteries.

NEXGENNa is focussed on accelerating the development of sodium-ion battery technologies by taking a multi-disciplinary approach that ranges from fundamental chemistry studies through to scale-up and cell manufacturing. The target of NEXGENNa is to put on the path to commercialisation a safe and sustainable sodium-ion battery with high performance, low cost and long cycle life.

The doctorate studentship will centre on sodium-ion cathode materials that are optimised for sustained high-power battery performance. Our technological challenge is to produce cathode materials that charge and discharge at 10C rates with low loss of cathode capacity and degradation. Our objective is to exceed 1000 cycles. This DPhil project will suit a graduate in chemistry or materials science who has a drive for research and enthusiasm in battery and energy storage technologies.  

Start date: 3rd October 2022

Supervisor: Prof Bill David ( Applicants are advised to direct informal enquiries to Prof Bill David.

Eligibility: Applications are welcome from home and international students (although places for international students are limited. Please see UKRI guidance for more details).

Applicants should have an undergraduate degree (and/or) Masters in Chemistry (minimum 2.1 or equivalent). A strong background in inorganic materials synthesis, materials characterisation (e.g. spectroscopy and thermodynamic measurements, and X-ray diffraction) is highly desirable. Computational and programming skills are advantageous.


In order to apply for a Faraday Institution PhD position, you need to do both of the following:

  1. Complete a Faraday Institution expression of interest form
  2. Submit an application comprising the following three documents (as a single PDF file):
    • a cover letter summarising your research interests, your suitability for the doctorate position and indicating
    • the contact details of at least two academic referees who can provide a letter of reference and
    • a full curriculum vitae.

    Please email your application to:
    (and copy to ), quoting BD/Faraday/MT2022 in the subject line of your message.


    Application deadline: 12.00 noon (UK time) on Friday 24th June 2022


    Please note that submission of a formal DPhil application will be required at a later stage.


    Information about the programme of study is available at:



    The Faraday Institution is committed to creating a dynamic and diverse pool of talent for the fields of battery technology and energy storage. The University of Oxford is committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive learning and working environment where discrimination is not tolerated, where all members of the University can flourish and reach their full potential; where we engage with and learn from our community and where we affect positive change within the University and wider society. This is integral to our mission and vision as a globally leading university.


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