Research-based degrees

A chemistry teacher instructs a student in a laboratory class

The School of Chemistry is globally renowned for its research output. The latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) rated 95% of our research as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Our world-leading research, delivered via six research groups, cuts across the fields of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. The research themes of these groups are all at the disciplinary interfaces of chemistry, with: physics, geology and biology, biology and medicine, physics and mathematics, materials science, medicine and chemical engineering. 

Research is at the heart of your learning. You’ll learn about discoveries as they are happening – sometimes even before they’ve been published. You’ll be close to breakthroughs that are having a real impact in the world.

Throughout your course you’ll develop your research skills. During the final year of your course you will undertake an exciting research project that allows you to apply the research training you’ve received to make your own contribution to chemistry. It will also allow you to develop key transferable skills, such as communication and time-management.

Your research project gives you the opportunity to follow your interests and investigate a topic at the cutting-edge of chemistry. You’ll work collaboratively with your supervisors throughout the project, who’ll be experts in your particular research area.

Recent projects include:

Physical chemistry

  • Molecularly imprinted sensors and catalysts
  • Membrane biophysics approaches to investigating the potential toxicity of engineered nanoparticles
  • Energy transport in photosynthesis
  • Third generation drug discovery: human-on-a-chip
  • Chemistry of cosmic dust

Organic chemistry

  • Green synthesis of peptides in continuous flow
  • Novel hydrogen transfer catalyst designs: addressing slow industry uptake of existing methods
  • Discovery of drugs and biomarkers for cancer therapy
  • Re-engineering bacterial toxins for drug delivery
  • Profiling the bacterial lipid proteome with chemical tools

Inorganic chemistry

  • Spin-crossover compounds - thermal, optical and magnetic switches from simple metal complexes
  • Star-burst metallo-supramolecular assemblies and coordination polymers
  • Nanomaterials chemistry: functionalisation and assembly of inorganic nanostructures (carbon nanotubes, graphene, metal oxide nanoparticles) for applications in heterogeneous catalysis and environmental remediation
  • Development of novel quantum dot-aptamer biosensors
  • Developing novel inhibitors for bacteria toxins via DNA nanotechnology

Colour chemistry

  • Use of natural dyes for dyeing natural fibres
  • Biosensors for point-of-care detection of bowel diseases
  • Porphyrin based materials for use in photodynamic therapy to treat bacterial infections
  • Synthesis and evaluation of photochromic materials for data storage devices