Chemistry and materials

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
(MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
February and October January to April
PhD (MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Start dates
February and October
Application period
January to April

Chemistry and Materials is a vibrant area of research at the OU. We have an extensive track record in working synergistically with both industrial and academic partners.

Key themes of our research include:

  • Catalysis research, focusing on the synthesis and characterisation of bimetallic catalysts for fuel cells and catalytic converters. We also have interests in characterising porous materials and surfaces.
  • Green chemistry and resource efficiency research, focusing on recovery of high value chemicals from waste and biomass.
  • Nanomaterials and nanocomposites, focusing on novel materials and their applications in for example nanosensors, photovoltaics, catalysis, energy harvesting and storage.
  • Organosilicon research, focusing on new materials and coatings based on silsesquioxanes, biomimetic organosilicon chemistry, the development of novel HPLC phases and the mechanism of substitution at silicon.
  • Polymer processing and structure development research, focusing on understanding and predicting the effects of molecular variables during polymer processing.
  • Supramolecular chemistry research, including luminescent sensors and probes,  photoactive molecular devices, and new calixarene motifs and applications.
  • Experimental evaluation of quantum chemical models that describe the physico-chemical properties of molecules/materials.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English

Current/recent research projects

  • Development and analysis of recognition polymers.
  • Lanthanide complexes as incorporated luminescent detectors.
  • Understanding and improving reactivity of low platinum group metal three-way catalysts.
  • Supported catalysts for the recovery of valuable chemicals from wastes.
  • Synthesis, and Application of Nanoparticles using Calixarenes.
  • Electron Spectroscopy Measurements of Functionalised DNA Components for Radiotherapy.
  • Molecular modelling and biological relevance of supramolecular structures in nucleic acids.
  • Sustainable plastics including new packaging materials, environmental impact of plastics and recycling waste plastics.
  • Recovery of chemicals from wastes such as metals.
  • Heritage Science involving the cleaning of museum textiles and the conservation of plastic works of art.
  • Active sustainable packaging to tackle food waste and plastic pollution.
  • Investigating the Formulation, Characterization and Performance of Novel Nanomaterials for the Treatment of iron deficiency anaemia.

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,786 per year Full time: £15,698 per year
Part time: £2,393 per year Part time: £7,849 per year

For detailed information about fees and funding, visit Fees and studentships.

To see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, see Current studentships.


Atoms and molecules

How to apply

Get in touch

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Administrative support
Email: STEM-LHCS-Admin
Phone: +44 (0)1908 655808

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.