As a group we have a common interest in understanding atomic-scale structure, and in particular how the geometric arrangement of atoms within a material can bring about unusual and interesting properties. We work hard to maintain a relaxed and supportive environment, preferring an emphasis on creative thinking instead of simply forcing people to put in as many hours as possible at the bench.

We are always on the lookout for dynamic and creative individuals to join the group. Some basic information is given below, but please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Andrew should you wish to find out more.

Part II

Together with Mark Senn and Arkadiy Simonov, we usually take between 4 and 6 Part II students each year. There is always a mix of computational and experimental projects, sometimes involving the possibility of spending time with collaborators overseas. Some representative areas include:

  • Local structure in disordered materials
  • Frustrated magnetism
  • Anomalous mechanics
  • Functional metal–organic frameworks

We try hard to make sure our Part IIs have a strong sense of ownership over their project, because engagement correlates much more strongly with the success of the year than do marks in Part I. We are proud that our Part IIs have won the thesis prize six times in as many years, and that many have seen their work published in the world’s most prestigious chemistry, physics, and materials science journals.

Everyone in the group attends at least one conference during the year. This gives each student a chance to talk about what they’re doing (always good practice for the viva), to get a feel for what is happening in the broader field, to meet some people from other UK chemistry departments, and to find out what research-level discourse feels like.

If you are interested in finding out more about joining the group for your Part II, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to arrange a chat. Whether or not you manage to find us all during the ICL Part II open day, please do make an appointment to come and meet Andrew and the group separately at some other time that suits you.


We aim to offer approximately 2 DPhil studentships each year. Details will be posted on this site (and elsewhere, e.g. for projects where there is specifically-allocated funding. Very often the timing can be difficult to control, and so we suggest that students interested in joining the group contact Andrew as early as possible in the academic year, irrespective of whether studentship funding is yet available or not. The most important deadline for Oxford DPhil applications is in early January (details here), with funding decisions usually made somewhat later in the year.

Postdoctoral Research Associates

There are no current vacancies for Postdoctoral Research Associate positions in the group.

Research Fellowships

We are always happy to support applications for independent Research Fellowships for candidates of exceptional academic calibre. We are strongly committed to mentorship of our Research Fellows, providing a supportive environment that encourages intellectual freedom and the generation of new ideas. Our Research Fellows are given unfettered access to the group’s research facilities, participate in our annual retreat, and supervise their own Part II students.

The difficult reality is that there are always many more good candidates than there are Fellowships available. The Department of Chemistry has its own process for prioritising support for Fellowship applications, details of which can be found here. Informal applications should be directed to Andrew in the first instance, and are most helpful if they include a CV, an indication of the proposed support mechanism, and an outline of the research to be undertaken in Oxford.


We are always happy to host visiting researchers, where resources allow. Please do get in touch with Andrew — the earlier the better, particularly for visitors from outside the EU.

Group Genealogy

J von Liebig Rayleigh
A W von Hofmann J J Thompson
E Bamberger W H L Bragg
F D Chattaway J D Bernal
H M N H Irving D C Hodgkin
R J P Williams E N Maslen
P Day A I M Rae
C J Kepert M T Dove

Former MChem Students

E O R Beake, A B Cairns, J M Ogborn, J A M Paddison*;
C R Earley, V E Fairbank, J A Hill, S Hodgson*;
M F Fulford, S J Hunt, T A Ledsam, A G Richardson;
C Coates, W J K Fletcher*, E Harty, J Lawler, C Savory;
M Baise*, S Bovill, A R Ha, L Timm;
S Craddock, N L Evans*, D R Harcombe*, J Luchesa Smith, R Pandya, G Pearson

(* = Thesis Prize Winner)

Former DPhil Students

I E Collings, C A Young, J Adamson, J A M Paddison, M J Cliffe, A B Cairns, J A Hill

Former Research Fellows and Post-Docs

P J Saines, N P Funnell, M S Senn

Former Visiting Researchers

E Reynolds (Sydney), D Umeyama (Kyoto), S Ogilvie (Sydney), C Zehe (Bayreuth), S Duyker (Sydney), M L Gomez-Rios (Mexico)