Research opportunities

We recruit around 15-20 new PhD students each year and there are many opportunities for postgraduate research on projects run under the three research themes described below. We welcome applications from international students who are supported by scholarships from their home governments or other funding agencies. The projects listed below are available for students with their own funding. Other projects may also be available, but please contact individual staff to discuss potential research projects prior to submitting an application. For additional information about specific research areas please look at our research pages and at the individual staff profiles following the links below.

 Chemistry for Life and the Environment


Project title


Ian Hamley

Peptide Materials for Biomedicine

Peptides, Self-assembly, Therapeutics

Adam Squires

Soft and hard nanomaterials: from lipid bilayers to high performance electrodes

Small-angle x-ray scattering, Lipid cubic phases, Nanocasting

Christian Pfrang 

Formation and Ageing of Atmospheric Aerosols

NO3 oxidation, Levitation, Ozonolysis

Rainer Cramer  Mass spectrometry-based proteomic analysis of medicinal plants - Towards elucidating the biosynthetic pathways of their natural products   

Natural products, Mass spectrometry, Proteomic analysis

Materials Chemistry


Project title


Ann Chippindale

The incredible shrinking crystals: negative thermal expansion in new inorganic materials

Solvothermal synthesis, X-ray diffraction, Framework structure

Joanne Elliott

Nanostructured Materials for Energy Applications

Nanostructures, Mesoporous, Conducting polymers

Paz Vaqueiro

Inorganic materials for thermoelectric energy recovery from waste heat

Energy materials, Solid State Chemistry, Neutron and X-ray diffraction

Ricardo Grau-Crespo

Computational materials science for energy applications

Density functional theory, Photocatalysis, Thermoelectric materials

Anthony Powell

Magnetic and electronic properties of low-dimensional materials

Neutron diffraction, Sulfides, Energy materials

Georg Held

Molecular-level studies of heterogeneous catalysis using synchrotron-based spectroscopy and crystallography

Enantio-selective hydrogenation, Supported Catalysts,
X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy

Wayne Hayes

Healable Supramolecular Polymer Networks

Polymers, Self-assembly

Livia Bartok-Partay  Calculating high pressure phase diagrams of materials Computer simulation, Statistical thermodynamics, Structure prediction
Roger Bennett Surfaces and Interfaces of Nanostructured Materials: Structures, Chemistry and Dynamics  Scanning tunnelling microscopy, Energy Materials, catalysis

Molecular Chemistry


Project title


Frantisek Hartl

Molecular Spectroelectrochemistry in Ionic Liquids

CO2 reduction, Molecular wires, Catalysis

Andrew Russell 

The Application of the Photochemistry to Organic Synthesis

Photochemistry, Synthesis, Cycloaddition

David Nutt

Understanding the structure, function and dynamics of biomolecules using computational modelling

Molecular dynamics simulations, Biophysics, Molecular modelling

Laurence Harwood

Synthetic and investigative studies on metal-selective ligand systems for nuclear waste reprocessing and land remediation

Minor actinides, Lanthanides, Nuclear waste

Geoffrey Brown  Chemistry at the origin of life Formose reaction, carbohydrate chemistry 

Things to do now

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More information

PG Admissions Secretary
Department of Chemistry
The University of Reading
Reading, RG6 6AD

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See also

  • Studying at Reading
  • Research at the University
  • Life at Reading
  • Money matters
  • Information for international students


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