Materials Chemistry has revolutionised modern society. Materials with exploitable electronic and magnetic properties enabled the information revolution; novel luminescent materials underpin display and lighting technologies as well as enabling a range of biomedical sensors; light-absorbing materials enable solar energy capture and photocatalytic chemical transformations; designer heterogeneous catalysts support much of the chemical industry; ionic and electronic conductors enable battery and fuel cell technologies; while bespoke polymers are ubiquitous in modern life. The need for new materials has never been more pressing. Across these and other application areas chemists need to provide society with materials that are better performing, enable more sustainable processes, and are themselves of low long-term environmental impact.
Examples of current research in Materials Chemistry at Durham include:
the design and development of new materials as electrodes and electrolytes for rechargeable batteries and fuel cells.
the design, synthesis and characterisation of inorganic and organic materials with novel electronic, magnetic and optical properties.
the development of new catalysts for industrially important chemical transformations.
the design and synthesis of molecular and extended sensors for applications ranging from environmental pollutions to early disease diagnosis.
the control and understanding of molecular crystallisation and polymorphism that is of crucial importance in enabling efficient drug delivery or materials formulation.
the development of sustainably-sourced biodegradable polymers.
the design of polymeric materials to interact with biological systems and help detect and capture pathogens and provide information on how biological recognition systems work.
the development of new NMR and scattering characterisation methods for understanding materials properties.
MSc by Research - New Projects for 2023
We are excited to offer new Materials Chemistry projects for the MSc by Research departmental programme. These projects offer graduate students year-long research opportunities in interdisciplinary materials chemistry and are excellent preparation for a range of careers in industry or PhDs in materials chemistry and related disciplines.
For more information about the wider research interests of those offering projects please use the links below:
Title – Designing hierarchical materials for catalytic applications (background)
Expression of interest: via email to Postgraduate Admissions. Please include a CV and a statement (no more than 1 page) of why this course is right for you. This statement should include the titles of 2 projects of interest to you.
The course is a one-year research project (or 24 months part-time) during the course students are encouraged to attend and contribute to research seminars, symposia and workshops. To broaden their general chemistry knowledge students are required to attend a minimum of four lecture courses of relevance to their own research area(s), which provide additional tailored academic and scientific development opportunities. These are chosen by the student in consultation with their supervisor from a portfolio offered for students at this level. Training in a wide range of transferrable skills is also provided via our Durham Centre for Academic Development, our aligned Centres for Doctoral Training and through our Department Early Career Researcher group.
Applications are now being accepted for October 2023 and January 2024 start dates.
How we Support our Postgraduate Students
Mutual respect and support are at the core of how the Department of Chemistry functions. MSc by Research students are a valued part of our interdisciplinary community, and are encouraged to take part in all of our activities, particularly our Early Career Researcher Group. All postgraduate students are assigned a “supervisory team” comprising their supervisor and a second member of academic staff, providing both scientific direction and more general support.
We offer an enhanced range of opportunities for MSc by Research students to develop as professionals (see list below). In addition to these we offer many wider student experience activities, as well as non-credit bearing skills development courses delivered through the Chemistry Department and other Department’s across the University including Engineering, Biology, and Earth Sciences, and Physics.
Project-specific technical training from the MSc supervisory team.
Weekly seminars in the Department of Chemistry covering a diverse range of topics.
Monthly Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis research meetings.
Industrial engagement and careers events.
Access to skill development courses though DCAD and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) linked to the Department of Chemistry ReNU, MosMed, and SOFI-2.
The MSc by research gives graduate students year-long research opportunities, increasing their research skills and independence. They are excellent preparation for an R&D career in industry or an interdisciplinary research PhD and the specialist training provided further develops valuable transferable skills.
Academic qualifications: We ask for a minimum of 2:1 BSc (or equivalent) in a related subject.
English Language requirements: For students whose first language is not English or whose first degree was awarded by a University not delivering the courses in English, postgraduate students must demonstrate proficiency in English Language. The University's minimal language requirements for postgraduate studies may be found here.
Fees and Financial Support
General University information on tuition fees and funding for postgraduate research is located here. Specific information on tuition fees for this programme can be found here ("Laboratory Based (PGR)" fees apply). For most projects, basic research costs are met by the supervisor. The student will be liable for costs associated with optional conference attendance and for additional research costs for some projects (to be discussed with potential supervisors).