Cleaner Futures: MOF catalysts for CO2 utilisation


This PhD studentship is an exciting opportunity to join a large project involving academic and industrial partners to design and synthesise new supported metal catalysts for the conversion of waste CO2 to long-chain (C8-C18) alcohols. The catalysts will be derived from metal organic frameworks (MOFs), which are crystalline and porous materials consisting of metal cluster nodes joined together with organic linker molecules. Pyrolysis of these MOFs results in metal or metal oxide nanoparticles on a high surface area carbon support. Using a range of synthetic approaches and characterisation techniques, including high-throughput approaches using robotic platforms, the successful candidate will explore routes to multi-metallic MOF derived catalysts and test their catalytic activity. The project will combine synthetic chemistry, advanced structural analysis (crystallography), characterisation with sorption and spectroscopic methods and testing of catalytic properties. The successful candidate will develop skills in teamwork and scientific communication as part of a dynamic team that work closely together.

This is a multi-disciplinary PhD that sits at the interface between Chemistry, Materials Science and Manufacturing. The student will be based in state-of-the-art laboratories in the newly-opened Materials Innovation Factory ( at the University of Liverpool, as part of a larger project involving teams at University of Oxford and in industry. The MIF is not only home to outstanding University research facilities but is also the permanent base for many industrial scientists.         

Wider context: This PhD studentship is part of a large project that aims to provide the scientific foundation that will allow the UK consumer chemical sector to become sustainable and carbon neutral. The consumer chemical industry makes products that go into cosmetics, vitamins and health supplements, soaps, detergents, household chemicals, perfumes and foods. While some steps have already been taken to make this sector more sustainable, the use of virgin petrochemicals and other non-sustainable and/or polluting feedstocks remains prevalent. The project will develop routes to synthesise (and recycle) feedstock chemicals that do not depend on virgin petrochemicals. These new materials will not only need to be sustainable and carbon neutral, they also need to offer high performance, be cost effective to produce in bulk quantities and must not have long-term persistence in the environment after use. This will require new catalysts and catalytic processes.

For any enquiries please e-mail Dr Alexandros Katsoulidis on:  

To apply for this opportunity please visit: Please ensure you quote the following reference on your application: Metal-organic framework derived catalysts for CO2 utilisation (Reference CCPR026).



Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Funded studentship

The Studentship is funded by the EPSRC as part of a business-led research collaboration between leading UK businesses and their long-term strategic University partners. The eligibility details of both are below.

EPSRC eligibility

Applications from candidates meeting the eligibility requirements of the EPSRC are welcome – please refer to the EPSRC website.

The award will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years. The maintenance grant is £15,609 pa for 2021/22, with the possibility of an increase for 2022/23.