PhD Position in Chemistry

University of Nottingham

United Kingdom


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Tuesday 12 March 2024
Reference:  SCI228X1

The Cliffe group at the University of Nottingham are looking to recruit an enthusiastic and talented PhD student to join our research team on a 4 year PhD Scholarship. We are a materials chemistry group working at the University of Nottingham and our research focuses on exploring metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) as quantum materials. We are particularly interested in developing methods to control and characterise disorder in MOFs to generate new and exotic magnetic and electronic behaviour. We work across traditional disciplinary boundaries including chemistry, physics and materials science. As a group, we work together to create an inclusive and supportive research environment for all members.

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), materials formed from metal clusters linked by organic ligands have unmatched designability. They can also have remarkable magnetic and electronic function, particularly MOFs based on radical ligands, which have recently been the source of much excitement due to the discovery of record conductivities and room temperature magnetic order. There are many fundamental chemical and physical questions about the structure, properties and potentials of these radical ligand MOFs. In particular, the potential for generating quantum function due to strong correlations in non-stoichiometric, mixed-valence radical ligand MOFs has not been explored.

This project focusses developing a detailed understanding of the structure and quantum properties of non-stoichiometric radical MOFs with metallic conductivity. You will make use of extensive scattering techniques, including X-ray and neutron total scattering, and neutron inelastic scattering, to probe the atomistic origin of their remarkable properties.

You will become expert not only in the synthesis of MOF, but also in carrying out and interpreting scattering experiments. You will also learn key analytical skills including X-ray and neutron diffraction and bulk magnetic property measurements. Experience programming is desirable but all relevant skills will be taught.

This project lies at the intersection of coordination chemistry, solid state chemistry and condensed matter physics. It will have a strong collaborative component, including visits to central facilities (ILL, France/ORNL, USA/ISIS, Oxfordshire). This PhD project forms part of the DISCO-MOF project funded by the UKRI Frontiers ERC Guarantee. It would suit applicants keen to explore research across traditional disciplinary boundaries. Experience in every individual component is therefore not essential, but a desire to learn about a diverse range of science is.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit our research group website ( and can contact Dr Matthew Cliffe ( for informal enquiries about the project.

Applicants should have, or expected to achieve, a First Class or good 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in chemistry, materials science or physics. Research experience will be advantageous but not essential. If English is not the candidate’s first language, they must provide evidence before the beginning of the studentship that they meet the University minimum English Language requirements (IELTS 6.0 with at least 5.5 in each element). 

To apply please send your CV (max 2 pages) and a cover letter to

Applications will be assessed from the 22nd of January until the position is filled.

Funding notes

Fully funded studentship to start from October 2024. Tuition fees paid at full UK levels and full stipend, tax-free, for 48 months at the RCUK rate (currently £17,668 per annum). Non-home students would need to identify funding for the additional international fees and should do so in their cover letter.


In your application, please refer to


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