Are you interested in developing new technologies that will help to feed our growing population?

If so, see how our research and training is helping to shape our future...

Industrial Internships are available on a competitive basis.

There are also a number of funded bursaries and scholarships for this course which are open to both UK/Home as well as overseas students.


Course Information

Why Plant Chemical Biology?

student In the last half-century there have been remarkable advances in our knowledge of the chemistry of biological systems. However, a quantitative understanding of the molecular mechanisms taking place is still in its infancy. Without such knowledge, we cannot be said to truly understand how these systems operate and interact with their surroundings.

The food, fibre and fuel requirements of our ever-increasing population are some of the major challenges facing current society. There is therefore a clear need for innovation and technology to increase crop productivity in a sustainable way. Key targets include increasing photosynthetic efficiency, reducing losses caused by pests and diseases, enhancing food safety and quality for better nutrition, minimising waste throughout the food supply chain, and improving the processing of biomass materials for fuels and other plant derived chemicals and materials.

Chemical Biology through physical science innovation (in e.g. chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering) is able to develop novel tools and technologies to tackle biological problems on a molecular level. It is a discipline that is perfectly poised to address the next great challenges in the agri-sciences, in the postgenomic area and to understand how chemical and biological space are interacting and influencing each other.

Course Overview

A one year (full-time) or two year (part time) multidisciplinary Masters in Research (MRes) course that equips students with the language, knowledge and skills to enable them to tackle problems lying at the plant-physical science interface. Training is provided by world renowned academic and industrial scientists in the plant and chemical biology fields. The course consists of an 8 month multidisciplinary research project, specialist lectures, transferable skills courses, interactive workshops, tutorials, journal clubs and seminars.

How to apply

Please apply by completing and submiting the online Imperial College Postgraduate application form. The program you should select when completing the online application is under 'Department of Chemistry' and the course name is 'MRes in Plant Chemical Biology: Multidisciplinary Research for Next Generation Agri-Sciences''.

Guidance on how to apply can be found on the Postgraduate webpages.

Tuition fees and scholarships

Information on tuition fees can be found here.

There are opportunities to gain scholarships in a competitive fashion. These will provide funding towards tuition fees and/or living expenses and will be granted on the basis of academic merit and excellence of the applicant. All students who wish to be considered for this scholarship should apply by submitting a copy of their CV by email to Dr Laura Barter in addition to submitting a College Postgraduate Application Form.

There are Santander Master’s Scholarships available for 2017-18.

Applicants for the MRes in Plant Chemical Biology may also be eligible for the Basil Furneaux Memorial Fund

You can search for all available scholarships using our tool.

Links to external partners

Syngenta are the key industrial partner on this course. They will provide some lectures, workshops and tours around their research site for all students on this course. Joint Syngenta/Imperial research projects (internships) are available on a competitive basis. Students will either be based at Syngenta or at Imperial.

Students who are successfully admitted to the MRes course may be chosen to be trained as climate change innovators on the Climate-KIC programme at Imperial, which takes place in the summer before the course starts in October.

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) was introduced on 1 November 2007. Under this scheme, all non-EEA students who need a student visa to study in the UK on MRes course will be required to apply for ATAS clearance before applying for a Tier 4 (General) student visa. 

Any students already in the UK who need to extend their student visa to commence or continue on one of the relevant courses, will also need to get ATAS clearance before making a student visa extension application. This scheme can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website and when you have your college offer, you can make your application online.

PLEASE NOTE that an ATAS certificate is only valid for 6 months from the date of issue. You must make sure that you submit your visa application before the ATAS expires!

You should apply for ATAS clearance well in advance  of your student visa application as the processing time for ATAS can be as long as 30 working days.

NB: In addition to the above, during the months of June, July, August and September, ATAS is extremely busy and so the processing time for ATAS applications can be even longer.

We receive many queries about how to complete sections of the ATAS application. Please refer to our ATAS FAQ [pdf]  in the first instance as your query may easily be resolved If the FAQs do not answer your query then please contact us or contact the ATAS team directly.

More information can be accessed on


The text below should be used to describe the MRes course in the ATAS application

 This is a one year stand-alone multidisciplinary MRes course that equips students with the language, knowledge and skills to enable them to tackle problems lying at the plant-physical science interface. Training is provided by academic and industrial scientists in the plant and chemical biology fields. The major focus of the course will be an 8 month multidisciplinary research project, jointly supervised by at least one physical and one plant scientist. The taught component of the MRes course will equip students with the foundations necessary to complete their research project within a multidisciplinary environment

Selected publications from MRes projects

Here is a selected list of publications that came out of MRes projects in the department of Chemsitry:


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For further details of the course please consult the links to the documents on the left of this page. If these do not answer your query, please email the Chemistry MRes admins ( or contact the Course Directors:

Dr Laura Barter or Dr Rudiger Woscholski

Entry requirements

Academic requirement: 2:1 degree or higher in any subject with more than 50% physical science content (e.g. Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Biophysics, Biochemistry, Bioengineering), from a UK institutions or an equivalent overseas qualification.

English requirement: IELTS 6.5 (writing and speaking 6).