A platform to showcase my potential

Liam Smith
Liam Smith
PhD student, University of Manchester
MSc(Res) Chemistry
Liam studied the fundamental chemistry behind artificial photosynthesis and solar energy conversion in our Lord Porter Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory. This led to him securing a PhD position at the University of Manchester, where he'll be working with Rolls Royce.

I recently undertook the MSc(Res) Chemistry qualification at the University of Sheffield due to an excellent, long-standing working relationship I had developed with Professor Julia Weinstein during my undergraduate degree. I was admittedly hesitant about my capabilities to excel in such a demanding course, but Professor Weinstein created a platform for me to really showcase my potential in her research group, for which I am hugely grateful.

During my 12 months I worked on a project that investigated how we could manipulate ultrafast excited state dynamics in a series of transition-metal based complexes, for the use in artificial photosynthesis and solar energy conversion. Specifically, I became competent working in a highly specialised laboratory environment, spending my days using state of the art, femtosecond pulsed Ti:Sapphire lasers.

Along with some highly transferable skills including complex data analysis, more generally, I built up my confidence by presenting in discussions at team meetings.

Liam Smith

MSc(Res) Chemistry


A highlight for me was the opportunity I had to travel to Dublin and present my research poster to delegates from around the world at the 27th IUPAC International Symposium on Photochemistry conference, representing not only the Weinstein research group but the University of Sheffield as a whole.

My time on such a wonderful course has convinced me I have the necessary skillset and work ethic to pursue a career in research. I have now been given the chance to move to the University of Manchester where I will be taking up a post as a PhD student. This will involve working alongside experts at Rolls Royce, who will bring a large amount of industrial collaboration into my project, as I look to tackle the nuclear chemistry needs of the civil sector.

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