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 hours at the bench.
We are always on the lookout for dynamic and creative individuals to join the group. The group works best when we have a good gender balance, and we are 100% LGBTQ+ friendly. Some basic information is given below, but please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Andrew should you wish to find out more.
We generally take around 4 Part II students each academic year, often in collaboration with one or other of the research fellows in the group. There is nearly always a mix of computational and experimental projects, sometimes involving the possibility of spending time with collaborators overseas. Most Part IIs learn to code during the year. Representative project areas include:
- Disorder–vibration coupling in mixed-cation cyanospinels
- Controlling amorphisation with network modifiers
- Structural chemistry of perovskite analogues
- Anion disorder in hybrid photovoltaics
- Measuring single-crystal diffraction patterns from powders
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 seven 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. Examples of papers published by recent Part II students include:
- Controlling thermal expansion in mixed-metal MOFs; published in Chem Comm by Adam Sapnik (Balliol, Part II 2018)
- Nanodomains in hybrid perovskite analogues; published in Chem Comm by Edwina Donlan (Wadham, Part II 2017)
- Geometric frustration in a one-dimensional magnet; published in Phys Rev B by Daniel Harcombe (Balliol, Part II 2016)
- Controlling multipolar and orbital order in MOFs; published in J Am Chem Soc by Nicole Evans (St Catz, Part II 2016)
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 the group at a time that suits you.
We intend to award up to two fully-funded DPhil studentships for the 2020/21 academic year.
Project details will be posted on this site (and elsewhere, e.g. jobs.ac.uk) in late autumn. Funding is via the group’s ERC Advanced Grant, and as such is limited to UK/EU nationals. Students interested in joining the group are welcome to contact Andrew at any time. 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
We do not currently have any openings for postdoctoral researchers in the group. Nevertheless, prospective applicants are welcome to contact Andrew at any time to express their interest in future openings that may arise.
We actively 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. Applications are most likely to be successful in cases where there is a very natural pairing with the research interests and skills of our group.
There are some limited possibilities to support extended visits by creative scientists working in the general field of structural chemistry or related disciplines. Prospective visitors are encouraged to contact Andrew at any time to express their interest and discuss further.
|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, P G Welch;
S Craddock, N L Evans*, D R Harcombe*, J Luchesa Smith, R Pandya, G Pearson;
E Donlan, H Gray, H McCay, E Wolpert*, J Woodland-Scott;
D Bright,* A Sapnik;
J Bulled, H Hutchinson, F Massingberd-Mundy, K Orr
(* = Thesis Prize Winner)