Discovery of Functional Inorganic Materials for Net Zero Applications using High-Throughput Synthesis


This project will use high-throughput solid state synthesis methods developed in the group (Hampson 2023) to accelerate the discovery of new functional inorganic (oxide) materials for applications towards net zero technologies e.g. ionic conductors, catalysts for electrochemical hydrogen production, transparent conductors. These high-throughput methods will be applied to a variety of materials functionalities depending on the interests of the student and emerging technologies from our industrial collaborators.

The project will involve the preparation of precursor slurries and solutions for dispensing and mixing on robotic platforms before reacting at high temperatures for characterisation on high-throughput powder X-ray diffractometers and other analytical techniques. The project will involve close collaboration with computational chemists to suggest compositional spaces to explore, to predict new structures and aid in the understanding of the properties of the new materials discovered in the arrays using tools developed in the multi-disciplinary EPSRC Programme Grant: “Digital Navigation of Chemical Space for Function” and the Leverhulme Research Centre for Functional Materials Design, that seek to develop a new approach to materials design and discovery, exploiting machine learning and symbolic artificial intelligence, demonstrated by the realisation of new functional inorganic materials. You will thus gain understanding of how the artificial intelligence methods developed in the team accelerate materials discovery, and be able to contribute to the development of these models, which are designed to incorporate human expertise.

You will develop skills in solid-state chemistry, automated synthesis methods, experimental design, crystallography, physical property measurements and data analysis and curation. You will be required to utilise skills in method development along with problem solving, team work and presentation skills.

You will have the opportunity to work at international synchrotron X-ray and neutron scattering facilities. Experimental work will be enabled by instrumentation and methods that are already established and available within the participating research groups, together with world-class characterization and synthetic facilities available within the Materials Innovation Factory. Owing to the multi-faceted nature of this dynamic project, the student will work closely with computer scientists, inorganic chemists, physicists, engineers, and material scientists to discover new materials for a variety of applications.

Qualifications: Applications are welcomed from students with a 2:1 or higher master’s degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, or Materials Science.

This position will remain open until a suitable candidate has been found.

Enquiries & applications

Please apply by completing the online postgraduate research application form here:

Please ensure you quote the following reference on your application: CCPR121

Informal enquiries should be addressed to Dr Troy Manning


Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Funded studentship

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

This studentship is funded by the EPSRC DTP scheme and is offered for 3.5 years in total. It provides full tuition fees and a stipend of approx. £18,622 (this is the rate from 01/10/2023) full time tax free per year for living costs. The stipend costs quoted are for students starting from 1st October 2023 and will rise slightly each year with inflation.

The funding for this studentship also comes with a budget for research and training expenses of £1000 per year, and for those that are eligible, a disabled students allowance to cover the costs of any additional support that is required.

Due to a change in UKRI policy, this is now available for Home, EU or international students to apply. However, please be aware there is a limit on the number of international students we can appoint to these studentships per year.



Hampson C, Smith M, Arciero L, Collins C, Daniels L, Manning T, et al. A High Throughput Synthetic Workflow For Solid State Reactions. ChemRxiv. Cambridge: Cambridge Open Engage; 2023;  10.26434/chemrxiv-2023-lmc10