Dr. Katya Moncrieff

Dr. Katya Moncrieff


In 2017, I graduated with an integrated Masters in Chemistry with French from the University of Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was awarded the Slater Price Prize for Physical Chemistry. My MChem project was conducted on solid-state chemistry during my ERASMUS year abroad in Lille, France, and was supervised Dr. Olivier Mentré and Dr. Houria Kabbour. As such, my dissertation on the Topochemical Oxidation of Layered Ferrites was written in both English and French. 

On returning to Scotland, my focus turned away from ‘shake-and-bake’ material synthesis and I undertook a short research project in Physical Chemistry in the Reaction Dynamics group at Heriot-Watt. I then completed my PhD in the group, using Transient Frequency Modulation Absorption Spectroscopy as a Probe of Gas-Liquid Scattering, with Professor Matt Costen and Professor Ken McKendrick as my supervisors.

This allowed me to gain extensive experience in designing and implementing laser instrumentation for spectroscopic application, and subsequently I worked as a postdoc for Professor Caroline Dessent at the University of York. As well as developing their Laser-Interfaced Mass Spectrometry (LIMS) technique for application to environmentally relevant biological molecules, my role had a strong emphasis on PGR and research group support.

Throughout my academic career I have demonstrated personal committment to Equality and Diversity issues. During my PhD I was the joint receiver of an internal Research Culture Grant and co-led a project to support women and non-binary researchers within Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS), providing both PhD students and academic staff with a community allowing for professional and personal growth as well as a safe space to raise issues within the department. Through this, I became the EPS PhD representative on the Heriot-Watt Athena Swan Steering Committee for 2019-2020.

In my current role as EDI Research Assistant for the NERC Panorama DTP, I am using this experience to identify and remove barriers faced by underrepresented groups in the DTP, with a particular focus on student recruitment and retainment. I’m passionate about widening participation in higher education, particularly in STEM subjects, and overhauling heirarchical academic research culture to provide an inclusive community that values talent from diverse backgrounds. I’m also interested in learning how to apply Social Science and qualitative research to the problems faced in academic STEM environments.

Coming from the Shetland islands, in my spare time I love being outdoors – preferrably in or near the sea – and enjoy balancing my work with creative hobbies, including life drawing and printing. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Professional memberships

  • Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
  • Institute of Physics (IOP)