News

PhD studentship available Oct 2022

We are excited to offer a PhD studentship to start in October 2022, on a project joint with scientists at Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron facility. Please note that funding for fees is available for home (UK) students only and this re-advertised position will close as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

Recently, MOFs with hierarchical structure–on multiple length scales–have been created that give rise to unprecedented properties and emergent phenomena, such as structural colour. This project will develop the necessary protocols and expertise to perform and analyse tandem in-situ X-ray scattering experiments across beamlines I22 and I15-1 at Diamond, to probe the key length scales and timescales involved in hierarchical MOF formation. 

The student will spend time at Birmingham and Diamond, co-supervised by leading experts in small-angle scattering and total scattering measurements, Dr Andy Smith and Dr Phil Chater, respectively. They will have an allowance up to £3000 per year for conferences, training and travel, and will receive additional training in transferable skills such as Python, scientific writing and presentations.

For more details and to apply see FindAPhD.

Farewell Matt and Sam

Today after a gourmet calzone group lunch at the Plough, Harborne, we bid farewell to our MSci project students this year, Matt Liddle and Sam Gale.

Matt investigated the phase behaviour of the BIRM-1 family of carboxyphosphonate MOFs, mapping out which phases formed under different synthetic conditions. He discovered at least one new material and showed that, like BIRM-1, it underwent structural collapse and then recrystallisation upon drying and resolvation. Matt goes on to PhD research in the group of Prof Ross Forgan at the University of Glasgow.

Sam investigated structural and compositional variations in the MDABCO-based halide perovskites. He found several new structures––some wonderfully unintended!––that pushed the limits of phase behaviour, broke the rules (that we wrote!) and showed that paraelectric–ferroelectric phase transitions are highly dependent on sample history. We’re currently writing up his work so watch this space for a paper in the near future… Sam is taking a year out and will be looking for PhD opportunities for 2023.

Farewell and good luck for your final exams, Matt and Sam!

Farewell Joe!

We bid a fond farewell to Joe Barker, who leaves UoB for an exciting Postdoc Research position in the group of Prof Fiona Meldrum at the University of Leeds.

Joe joined the group this year as he was finishing off his PhD research, to help with our MSci projects jointly supervised by Prof Paul Anderson. It was great having you at our group meetings and learning from all your insights into carboxyphosphonate MOFs.

We’ll miss you but we’re looking forward to watching all the developments in your career and research in future!

BCA Spring Meeting 2022

Hamish, Joe A, Harry and Aaron attended the Spring Meeting of the British Crystallographic Association, at Leeds University 11–14 April 2022. It was great to be back for our first conference in person to catch up with the community and some of the latest science!

Joe and Aaron gave posters on their PhD research, whilst Harry gave a (virtual) talk in the PCG session on Structure-Property Relationships in Energy Storage, about his work on phase transitions in the MDABCO halide perovskites.

Hamish chaired the joint CCG/PCG session on Advances in Complementary Techniques and In Situ Crystallography, and was also awarded the CCDC Chemical Crystallography Prize for Younger Scientists. As part of the prize, he gave a talk at the meeting, and received a unique memento from the CCDC of a model of one of the crystal structures from his PhD!

Women in Chemistry Conference

Suzie Hughes reports:

On the 8th of March I attended the 4th annual ‘Celebrating Women in Chemistry Conference and Careers Event’, hosted by the Women in Chemistry Group at the University of Nottingham. The day consisted of a number of talks from successful women both in academia and industry. They each described their starting points and the journeys they took to get to their current positions. Professor Katharine Reid (University of Nottingham) told of how in the early stages of her career she often lacked confidence, being the only woman in her research labs and struggling with comparing herself to others. She went on to become the first female lecturer in the Chemistry department at Nottingham and is now a member of the Faculty of Science Executive Board.

I think many in the audience could relate to this feeling of ‘not being good enough’, and it was inspiring to hear from women who had overcome these confidence barriers and progressed into leading roles. A wide variety of potential careers were covered in talks throughout the day, ranging from those in academia to start-up businesses and intellectual property, providing an insight into the breadth of opportunities out there for chemists. The recurring message that surfaced in most talks was ‘you’re better than you think you are’ – which is always encouraging to hear!

Find out more about the event at https://pc-womeninchemistry.wixsite.com/wicuon/