PhD in Physical Organic Chemistry Non-Covalent Interactions

Supervisor: Dr Scott L. Cockroft

EU or UK Applicants only (Due To Funding Restrictions)

This is a three-year award available to start any time 2013-2014. This is a tax-free stipend covering tuition fees and living expenses at the standard EPSRC rate (commencing at £13,726 per year).

Non-covalent interactions are fundamental aspects of almost all chemical and biological processes. Solvent effects coupled with the precise positioning of interacting functional groups may be essential for the astonishing ligand binding affinities observed in biology. However, previous experimental studies concerning the influence of dispersion interactions, solvent shape and geometric positioning of interacting functional groups have been particularly limited. The aim here is to design and synthesise a new class of folding molecules for quantifying the effects of these variables on non-covalent interactions.

The student working on this project will receive training in a range of modern experimental and analytical techniques associated with physical organic chemistry including:

  • Organic Synthesis
  • Theoretical Background in Molecular Recognition
  • NMR Spectroscopy
  • X-ray crystallography
  • Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships
  • Computational Modeling and AB Initio Calculations


Applicants should express a keen interest in molecular recognition phenomena. Previous research experience in synthetic chemistry is required. Applicants must be in possession of (or expecting to obtain) a first class or upper-second class degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry or other cognate discipline before the start of the PhD. Applicants MUST be either be EU, or UK nationals who have been resident in the UK for the past three years, OR be an exceptional EU national ranked within the top 5% of their class.

To apply, email a copy of your CV to, via the ‘Apply’ button below.

Please include a brief description of previous research experience, and the names and e-mail addresses of two referees. The deadline for applications is 5pm (UK) on 31 July 2013. We cannot guarantee that late applications will be considered.

Further Information:

‘Chemical Double-Mutant Cycles: Dissecting Non-Covalent Interactions’ S. L. Cockroft, C. A. Hunter. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2007, 36, 172-188

‘Desolvation Tips the Balance: Solvent Effects on Aromatic Interactions’ S. L. Cockroft, C. A. Hunter. Chem. Commun. 2006, 36, 3806-3808

*** Please note the University of Edinburgh vacancy website may be down for periods of time on 27 June 2013 for maintenance.
This will not affect any un-submitted applications which have been partially completed and saved by applicants. 
Once the site is back on-line candidates will be able to complete and submit applications.***

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