PhD in Chemistry: Computational Studies of Electron Transfer at Interfaces

Newcastle University - School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Value of award

100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend at RCUK rate (£14,553 2017/18).  Successful non-EU international students will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

Number of awards


Start date and duration

January 2018 for 3 years.

Application closing date

31 October 2017.


The interface is a fundamental aspect that determines a materials structure and many of its important properties. In a wide variety of technological applications, such as memory devices, batteries, sensors, catalysts, photovoltaics (PV) and photoelectrochemical cells (PEC), the mobility of charges (electrons or holes) across this interface represents a severe limitation to their performance.

The aim of this project is to develop skills in quantum chemistry, molecular and quantum dynamics to simulate, understand and refine charge mobility at interfaces of complex systems. The project will initially focus upon electron transfer processes involving polyoxometalates used as a cathode active material in energy storage and solar driven water oxidation.


School of Natural and Environmental Sciences.

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr Thomas Penfold, Principal Investigator.

Eligibility Criteria

The successful candidate will have an excellent first degree (first or upper second class or equivalent) in chemistry or a related subject (e.g. pharmacy, chemical engineering). They will demonstrate skills in practical and theoretical organic chemistry including familiarity with synthetic and analytical methods. Previous experience in computational chemistry and / or protein biochemistry is desirable but not essential.

The University will consider each individual application and allocate scholarships based on its strategic and diversity priorities. The School of Chemistry (now part of the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences) holds a Bronze Athena SWAN award and welcomes applications from all diverse backgrounds.

The award is open to UK/EU and international students.

How to apply

The candidate must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application form.  Only mandatory fields need to be completed however, you will need to include the following information:

  • insert the programme code: 8100F in the programme of study section
  • select ‘PhD School of Chemistry (full time), Chemistry ’ as the programme of study
  • insert the studentship code CY040 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • attach a covering letter, CV and (if English is not your first language) a copy of your English language qualifications. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, and state how your interests and experience relate to the project.  


For further details, please contact the supervisor, Dr Thomas Penfold, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences.

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Northern England