Technical support

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Chemistry


Catalysis is a core area of contemporary science posing major fundamental and conceptual challenges, while being at the heart of the chemical industry - an immensely successful and important part of the overall UK economy (generating in excess of £50 billion per annum). UK catalytic science currently has a strong presence, but there is intense competition in both academic and industrial sectors, and a need for UK industrial activity to shift towards new innovative areas posing major challenges for the future. In light of these challenges the Centre for Catalytic Science endeavours to become a leading institution, both nationally and internationally, in the field and acts to coordinate, promote and advance the UK catalysis research portfolio. The Centre is located on the RAL campus which will allow us both to work closely with the central facilities, to whose development the project will also contribute, and to interact with and contribute to the broader scientific community. The major developments in the in situ characterisation of catalytic materials that have taken place in the recent years have been of immense importance in addressing the complex scientific problems posed by catalytic science The Centre will therefore in pursuing a wide ranging programme of research in catalytic science, develop state-of-the art in situ facilities that will be used for experiments to be conducted at the Diamond, Synchrotron Radiation, ISIS Neutron Scattering and Central Laser Facilities. Such experiments will allow us to probe the structure and evolution of catalysts at the molecular level during their operation; but their effectiveness will require the on-line studies to be integrated with off line experimentation in the Complex, within which we will establish a broad range of experimental facilities.

The research areas that have been outlined as major themes within the Centre for Catalytic Science are sustainable catalyst technologies for organic transformations, catalysisfor alternative fuels, and catalysis in the protection of the environment. The Centre for Catalytic Science will set-up collaborative research programmes to tackle these major themes and exploit the unrivalled collective expertise the consortium has in catalyst design, testing and characterisation. Moreover, the Centre will be able to make substantial advances by working closely with scientists from ISIS and Diamond to effectively utilise the world-leading facilities present on the RAL campus.

Planned Impact

The proposed research is aimed at gaining new knowledge of how catalysts function at the molecular level. As such, it will be of major benefit to the UK and international groups in catalytic science and in cognate fields in materials and bioscience. The relevance and impact on industrial research will also be substantial , and by maintaining the strength of UK catalytic science it will make a broader underpinning contribution to the UK economy. By contributing to facility development the project will also benefit a wide user community. The work will be disseminated by standard academic routes - publication in journals of the highest quality (in which the applicants have an excellent track record) and at conferences. Additionally we will make appropriate use of the media and web to publicise the new science. The applicants have strong and wide networks of collaboration, assisting effective dissemination, which will be further enhanced by the proposed visitors programme and through an annual workshop on catalytic science at the Centre. More generally, we aim to make the Centre a major hub for catalytic science on the world stage.

The equipment detailed in this proposal will see significant benefits in the near term, with all items in effective operation by the start of the forthcoming academic year. These items will significantly aid the discovery of novel catalyst materials, which will have industrially relevant applications in the fields of sustainable organic transformations, energy generation, and environmental protection.

Societal impact will follow from advances enabled by the research in sustainable manufacturing leading to greener and cleaner processes and products with reduced environmental impact. Contributions will also be made to the provision of sustainable energy and reductions in energy demands of manufacturing sectors. Additional societal impact will follow from the role of the fundamental research undertaken by the Centre in assisting the development of advanced routes to new pharmaceutical products.

The UK economy will benefit from the role of the Centre in assisting innovation in catalysis manufacture. The large and successful chemical sector, including over 3200 companies and a dynamic SME component, faces intense international competition. The collaborations and interactions both within the Centre and between the Centre and Industry will promote economic impact, which will extend beyond the chemical sector to industries that rely on advances in materials and processes, including automotive, aerospace and electronics sectors.

Knowledge exchange will be vigorously promoted by the Centre through greater integration between the participating research groups and their extensive networks of collaborations and with scientists and facilities on the Harwell/RAL campus. This exchange will lead to scientific advances not only in the development of state-of-the-art equipment but also in sustainable chemical processes. The people benefits and impact will be substantial by the provision of trained research workers whose skills will be necessary for R&D programmes required for market innovation to occur.The management and dissemination plans are designed to maximise impact. The Management Board at the Centre will monitor and advise on impact and the annual dissemination conference will be aimed at the key beneficiaries. The collaborating team have wide ranging experience in the dissemination of their science and the promotion of its impact.


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Description This grant is a component of the UK Catalysis Hub (EP/K014714/1). Please consult the entry under this grant. the technical support supported by this grant helped develop, set up and maintain the catalysis hub labs at harwell as a resource for the catalysis community to maximise catalysis research
Exploitation Route This grant is a component of the UK Catalysis Hub (EP/K014714/1). Please consult the entry under this grant
Sectors Chemicals,Education,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description We have had collaborations and interactions with several UK industries, especially Johnson Matthey
Sector Chemicals,Education,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Societal,Economic