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Postgraduate Opportunities

Current Chemistry Opportunities

Postgraduate projects undertaken in the Chemistry Department here in Durham cover all of the traditional areas of chemistry and other contemporary, often interdisciplinary topics. Ph.D. projects are available each year that span all aspects of the Department's research activities.

The Department offers Ph.D. positions via the EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) and for research projects hosted by individual research staff.  Current opportunities are listed below.

M.Sc. projects are not listed specifically – please contact individual supervisors via our staff list.

How to apply

To apply for a PhD (F1A001) or MSc (F1A009) please go to the University application portal:  

This also applies if you are applying to the SOFI12 CDT.

Note that the applications to the MoSMed and ReNU CDTs are handled by the respective lead institutions.  Please follow the instructions on the respective website.

Opportunities in our CDTs

If you are interested in our CDTs in Soft Matter for Formulation and Industrial Innovation (SOFI2), in Molecular Sciences for Medicine (MoSMed) or in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU) please refer to our CDTpage .

List of individually funded Ph.D. Studentships:

Current funded postgraduate studentships are listed on FindAPhD

Exploiting natural product biosynthetic pathways to access biologically active scaffolds

Deadline: 20th January 2023

Supervisor: Professor S. L. Cobb

Development of routes to new fluorine containing molecules utilising commodity chemicals

Deadline: 20th January 2023

Supervisor: Doctor W. B. Brittain

Crystallisation in Structured Ternary Fluids for Enhanced Control

Deadline: 15th February 2023

Supervisor: Doctor S. Cooper, Professor J. Steed

Structurally control over the electronic properties of oxide materials

Deadline: 30th June 2023

Supervisor: Professor J. S. O. E

Towards an improved understanding of Pharmaceutical Salts and their hydration behaviour

Deadline: 30th January 2023

Supervisors: Doctor A. J. Cruz-Cabeza, Doctor A. Hall

Carbon Neutral Milk (CANMILK) – a PhD project on catalytic absorption and destruction of methane in the dairy industry

Deadline: year round applications

Supervisor: Doctor S. Beaumont

Coarse-grained simulations of biosurfactants

Deadline: 3rd March 2023

Supervisor: Doctor M. Miller

 Synthesis and Spectroscopic Characterisation of Organobornon Materials

Deadline: 1st June 2023

Supervisor: Doctor P. Brook

 CO2 Fuels - Direct conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Renewable Fuels

Deadline: 3rd February 2023

Supervisor: Doctor R.A.Taylor

 N-Heterocyclic Carbenes for Sustainable Organo- and Biocatalysis

Deadline: 20th January 2023

Supervisor: Prof. annMarie O'Donoghue



Our Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Sciences for Medicine (MoSMed) is an EPSRC funded joint venture between Newcastle and Durham Universities delivering a comprehensive research and training programme focused on Science at the interface of molecular and medical sciences, business skills, innovation and entrepreneurship.

For further information regarding MoSMed please refer to the webpage at:

Fully Funded 4 Year PhD Studentships in Molecular Sciences for Medicine Centre for Doctoral Training Available to Commence in October 2023

Our Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Sciences for Medicine (MoSMed) is an EPSRC funded joint venture between Newcastle and Durham Universities delivering a comprehensive research and training programme focused on Science at the interface of molecular and medical sciences, business skills, innovation and entrepreneurship.

We have 5 fully funded projects available to apply for at Durham University for 2023/24 entry. For full details of these projects please refer to the MoSMed webpage: PhD Openings | MoSMed CDT | Newcastle University (

Please find below an outline of the projects available at Durham University.  Please note that the projects based at Newcastle University are also co-supervised by members of our Durham Academic staff.  If you are interested in any of the projects please do contact the relevant Academic Lead listed for enquiries:

Project mos23_01 Synthetic antimicrobials based on natural toxins

Tuberculosis remains the deadliest bacterial disease on the planet, killing around 1.5 million people each year. It can be treated, but antibiotic resistance is increasing. Mycobacterium tuberculosis can survive antibiotic treatment by slowing down its growth using naturally occurring toxins made inside tuberculosis cells. Some of these toxins target the essential process of untangling DNA after it replicates. We have characterised the topoisomerase enzyme that performs this untangling activity and have shown that toxins inhibit its action. This project aims to generate atomic resolution models of toxin activity, so we can synthesise antimicrobial mimics for treating infections.

For further details regarding this project please contact: Prof Tim Blower -

Project mos23_02 Development of a new approach to targeted chelation therapies

Chelation of transition metal ions has been shown to be of benefit in treating many diseases. Through the sequestering of metal ions biological pathways can be inhibited and protein folding states altered. Metal ions however are required for myriad biological processes and thus traditional chelation therapies can have unwanted side effects. By attaching a chelator to something able to target a specific biological target this would help prevent these side effects. This project will develop a new approach by attaching small molecule metal chelators to targeting peptides to minimise off target effects.


For further details regarding this project please contact: Dr Will Brittain -


Project mos23_05 Identification of new molecular targets for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)

American Trypanosoma and Leishmania are the causative agents of two of 17 Neglected Tropical Diseases – a collection of infections characterized by a lack of control measures and major impacts on developing nations. These insect vector-borne protozoa are the cause of Chagas Disease and leishmaniasis respectively. Despite recent efforts in areas such as vector control, cases of Chagas Disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi and leishmaniasis, caused by Leishmania spp, remain high - up to 7M infected and 1.7M new cases per year respectively. There is an urgent need to identify and validate new drug targets and this is what the current project aims to do.


For further details regarding this project please contact: Prof Steven Cobb -


Project mos23_06 Differential diagnostics for leishmaniasis - bench to field

Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), caused by insect vector borne Leishmania species protozoa, is a global problem endemic across four continents. In recent years cases have increased dramatically due to migration and climate change. Whilst mostly non-lethal, CL is associated with severe scaring on exposed skin (particularly the face), social stigma and mental health issues. In many regions, including Pakistan (>10% global burden), CL is mainly caused by Leishmania major and L. tropica. Whilst the former is often self[1]healing and responds well to the WHO recommended treatment, the latter is increasingly non-responsive and leads to chronic, disfiguring lesions. Therefore, rapid accurate diagnosis of L. tropica CL is essential to facilitate appropriate treatment using alternative medicants. Working with our partners in Pakistan, you will build upon our current work and develop a low-cost, simple molecular diagnostic device which will be ready for in field diagnostic trials.


For further details regarding this project please contact: Prof Paul Denny -


Project mos23_09 Structure-guided approach to assay development for inhibiting Dengue virus replication

Dengue virus, transmitted by mosquitos in Africa, Asia and central America, infects hundreds of millions of people and causes around 20,000 deaths, primarily in children, each year. With no licensed drugs and a vaccine recommended to people only after a previous Dengue infection, new anti-viral therapeutic strategies are needed. Previous research has revealed the structures of Dengue virus proteins and RNA. However, it remains unknown how these molecules assemble. Here, we will determine how proteins interact in the “Dengue virus replication complex” and design high-throughput assays for drug discovery against Dengue and related viruses such as Zika.


For further details regarding this project please contact: Dr Liz Morris -


Please note that if you wish to apply for any of these five projects this is done via the University portal at:

Please select the course ‘PhD in Molecular Sciences for Medicine (EPSRC CDT)’ and indicate the relevant project reference number in the ‘Field of Study’ section.

Details regarding the application process for the above projects can be found at the following link: Durham | MoSMed CDT | Newcastle University ( Should you have any queries regarding application to the projects at Durham University, please contact the Durham MoSMed CDT Manager Emma Worden:

The closing date to apply is 23:59 GMT Wednesday 15th February 2023



SOFI PhD Opportunities