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Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early-Stage Researcher (ESR1) PhD studentship H2020 Innovative Training Network (ITN) 860434 - ArtMoMa: Artificial Molecular Machines (KS)
Oxford Road, Manchester

Job reference: S&E-15401

Location: Oxford Road, Manchester

Closing date (DD/MM/YYYY): 06/04/2020

Salary: £34,773-£47,823 (Grade H9-H12, dependent on family circumstances) per annum

Employment type: Fixed Term

Faculty/Organisation: Science and Engineering

Division: Chemistry

Hours per week: Full time

Contract Duration: Tenable 1st September 2020 or soon thereafter, for a period of 36 months

School / Directorate: School of Natural Sciences

Applications are invited for a 36-month position as a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early-Stage Researcher (ESR) in the area of synthetic organic chemistry or supramolecular chemistry.  The successful applicants will join the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) 860434 - ArtMoMa: Artificial Molecular Machines, working under the supervision of Professor David A. Leigh FRS on a project to study catalysis with synthetic molecular robots.

The project is funded by the MARIE SKLODOWSKA CURIE Innovative Training Network

‘ArtMoMa’, within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission. The project aims to structure a training network for doctoral students in the field of Artificial Molecular Machines over a period of 48 months. ArtMoMa is a consortium of 20 partners composed of high profile universities, research institutions and companies located in 8 European countries, and will train 15 Early Stage Researchers. It is coordinated by Nicolas GIUSEPPONE, permanent researcher at the Institut Charles Sadron and Professor at the University of Strasbourg.

Project overview

An important feature of many types of polyketide syntheses in biology is the transport of substrates between different sites of multi-enzyme complexes so that bond-forming reactions and functional group transformations are carried out in a particular order. This often occurs in a manner reminiscent of the way a robotic arm manipulates objects on a factory assembly line. We propose to design artificial ‘robotic’ systems that can be programmed to transport a substrate between different parts of a molecular machine. Building on a rotary switch in which the rotor and stator can be positioned with respect to each other, the Leigh group recently prepared a simple molecular machine that is able to transport small molecular

fragments between two distinct sites 2 nm apart using a small-molecule ‘robotic arm’. In this work, we aim to establish and develop the concept of small-molecule robotics. We shall explore different component types (switches, gripping and release systems, cargo types, platform chemistries) to find the best programmable small-molecule robotic systems and develop a toolbox of robotic machine components. We will use them as the basis for molecular machines that can be programmed to control the position of substrates so that they undergo different chemical reactions at different sites of the molecular machine.

The ESR1 position is offered in conjunction with a PhD studentship at the University of Manchester, subject to the applicant satisfying the admissions requirements of the university.  The successful applicants will be required to enrol to undertake a PhD degree under the supervision of Professor David A. Leigh FRS. 

Essential criteria includes: minimum 2.1 UK equivalent undergraduate degree and Masters degree in Chemistry. At the time of recruitment, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the United Kingdom for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the appointment date.

The Department is committed to Athena SWAN principles to promote women in science; the Department’s website documenting activity in this area can be found at:

Please note that we are unable to respond to enquiries, accept CVs or applications from Recruitment Agencies.

Enquiries about the vacancy, shortlisting and interviews:

Name: Professor David Leigh FRS


General enquiries:


Tel: 0161 275 4499

Technical support:


Tel: 0161 850 2004

This vacancy will close for applications at midnight on the closing date.

Please see the link below for the Further Particulars document which contains the person specification criteria.


The closing date for this job has now passed.