Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu

Research Strategies and Research Themes

Since 2008 the Research Strategy in the School of Chemistry has been centred around seven Research Themes, which intermesh the structure of the four Research Groups. The seven research themes define focused groups of researchers working in closely related fields, promoting targeted activity in key areas that are closely aligned with research council priorities, and are as follows:

Biological Chemistry: This theme aims to probe and engineer the reactions and interactions of biological molecules, focusing on proteins and nucleic acids. This research impacts across diverse areas from enhanced health and well-being for efficient, sustainable manufacture of chemicals.

Allemann, Loveridge, Miller, Redman, Richter.

Catalysis: Research covers a wide range of complementary disciplines, including surface science, electrochemistry, organometallic, organic and biological chemistry. Activities in heterogeneous catalysis are strongly driven by industrial applications in environmental control and chemical synthesis. A major emphasis is to exploit the emergent understanding of properties of supported gold and bi-metallic nanoparticles. Research in homogeneous catalysis is developing novel ligands to exploit first-row transition and main-group metals, particularly in asymmetric catalysis.

Allemann, Attard, Bartley, Bowker, Carley, Davies, J Edwards, Golunskii, Hutchings Murphy, Taylor, Ward, Willock.

Energy: This theme is developing materials for use in energy applications including membranes for natural gas purification and carbon capture, the design and synthesis of materials for hydrogen storage, fuel cells and catalysts for the enhanced production of biofuels.

Attard, McKeown, Leoni.

Imaging: This theme targets imaging probes for cellular microscopy developed from functionalized luminescent transition metal complexes, underpinned by photophysical characterization. Fundamental aspects of magnetic resonance imaging agent design are being addressed through field-cycling relaxometric studies, including responsive (sensors) and bimodal agents. The chemistry of applicable radioisotopes is being developed in collaboration with the Wales Research and Diagnostic Positron Emission Tomography Imaging Centre, which is located in the University.

Amoroso. Edwards, Fallis, Pope.

Materials: Research is focused on understanding structure and dynamics of crystalline materials and soft matter, gaining fundamental insights on crystallization processes, developing applications of materials (including polymer-drug conjugates) and advancing new aspects of experimental techniques for studying materials (particularly EPR/ENDOR, powder XRD and X-ray birefringence).

Harris, Kariuki, Leoni, McKeown, Murphy, Paul.

Physical Organic Chemistry: Research is focused on developing a quantitative understanding of structures, mechanisms and interactions in organic chemistry, with applications in a range of areas such as catalysis, chemical biology, energy and healthcare.

Carpenter, Buurma, Tippmann.

Synthetic Chemistry: This theme is developing novel methods and elucidating mechanisms to target the synthesis of natural products or bioactive compounds with pharmaceutical or agrochemical significance. Synthesis of heterocycles is a major activity, yielding new insights into novel electrophiles, cascade cyclizations and enantioselective functionalizations. Another focus is ligand design for novel s-, d- and f-block metal complexes for fundamental investigations and applications in catalysis, imaging, sensors and solar cell materials.

Amoroso, Cavell, Elliott, Edwards. Knight, Fallis, Newman, Pope, Ward, Wirth,

Computational & Theoretical Chemistry also forms an overarching structure complimenting many of the above themes.

Knowles, Leoni, Platts, Willock.

Central to the Catalysis theme, but also linking to the Biological Chemistry, Energy, Physical Organic Chemistry and Synthetic Chemistry themes, the Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI) was established in 2008 under the directorship of Prof. GJ Hutchings FRS with support of over £2.3M from the University. Integrating researchers from across the School and focused both on the fundamental understanding and the strategic application of catalysis, the CCI has contributed to making many processes (both in the academic research lab and in industrial large-scale reactors) faster, cleaner, economically more viable and more sustainable. The University committed further investment (£3.3M) over the period 2013-18 and upgraded the CCI as a University Research Institute from 2013. The strategic plan of the CCI includes close synergy with other academic centres in the south-west region and with the new UK Catalysis Hub, with the aim of broadening its research base to impact upon photocatalysis, sustainable fuel-to-energy transformations and biomimetic catalysis. Through this activity, the CCI has nurtured an alliance with Bristol (Chemistry) and Bath (Chemistry, Chemical Engineering) for the past 2 years. Outputs to date include a suite of short "pathfinder" research projects, which have initiated new collaborations between these centres. This alliance has been strengthened by the recently announced EPSRC CDT in Catalysis.