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Postgraduate Study

This cutting-edge Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Automated Chemical Synthesis Enabled by Digital Molecular Technologies (SynTech) aims to develop a new generation of leaders in synthetic chemistry research with a focus on Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence-driven techniques.

The SynTech CDT will create a unique and rewarding research & training environment. Students from a range of backgrounds will work at the interface of scientific disciplines to automate chemical synthesis, accelerate the design & production of small molecules for any application, and in doing so address new translational challenges that will inevitably emerge. 

The four-year programme will provide excellent interdisciplinary, cohort-based postgraduate training, with opportunities to learn about key subject areas such as: 

  • chemical synthesis;
  • high-throughput experimentation; 
  • sustainability of chemical processes; 
  • process scale-up & model development; 
  • computational parameterization; 
  • machine learning & associated data-driven science;
  • chemical informatics; and
  • drug/agrochemical discovery.

During this time, students will complete a comprehensive Core Skills Training Programme in their first six months followed by an extended research project for the award of the PhD.

In addition, they will be equipped with a broad set of complementary scientific skills including ethics and integrity, science communication in media, business & research. As such, there is a non-compulsory opportunity to participate in entrepreneurship leadership skills training through the framework of an innovation development project.  There is also the possibility to undertake a 2-3month placement in a partner company. 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme, students will have:

  • become exposed to all aspects of our CDT and become familiar with the challenges & difficulties inherent to each, such that they can streamline solutions to tomorrow’s translational science challenges;
  • acquired a broad set of complementary scientific skills relevant for the CDT and a solid understanding of Responsible Research & Innovation;
  • demonstrated some self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and acted autonomously in the planning and implementation of research;
  • taken up relevant and highly useful researcher development training opportunities to develop skills and attributes for their desired future career;
  • Chemists will have core & state of the art synthetic skills, in addition to knowledge of cheminformatics, computational parameterization and ML/AI concepts;
  • Theoreticians & data-scientists of all backgrounds will have an understanding of the challenges & demands of synthetic chemistry & process engineering and how ML & AI solutions might be realized from a partnership with experts to solve challenging problems;
  • Chemical engineers will have an understanding of the practical challenges provided by synthetic chemistry and the difficulties they need to consider when, for example, translating synthesis to robotic systems, as well as how synthetic chemists & theoreticians might work with them to design experiments and facilitate these processes. 


Students currently studying for a relevant Master's degree at the University of Cambridge will normally need to obtain a Pass in order to be eligible to continue onto the Syntech CDT programme.

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the beginning of November. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

The Department of Chemistry hosts a virtual open day for prospective postgraduate students comprising online laboratory tours,  a chance to meet with current students and academic staff, and an opportunity to talk to administrative staff about the application process. 

Please visit the Postgraduate Admissions page on the Department of Chemistry website for more details.


This course is advertised in the following departments:

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Key Information

4 years full-time

5-7 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Chemistry This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2023

Applications open
Sept. 15, 2022
Application deadline
May 16, 2023
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2023

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 1, 2022
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 12, 2022

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2023, Lent 2024 and Easter 2024.

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