Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Electrochemical sciences

This research area focuses on the study of chemical phenomena associated with charge transfer, charge separation and electrochemical reactions at interfaces.

Partners involved:
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The scope and what we're doing

The study of chemical phenomena associated with electron and associated ion/charge transfer and charge separation at interfaces. This research area includes electron transfer theory, control and elucidation of electrochemical reaction rates and mechanisms, electrical-to-chemical energy or signal interconversion, and study of the role of electronic structure and electron transfer in advanced materials. It also includes the development of novel electrodes and electrolytes with enhanced performance

We aim to support the community to realise the potential of electrochemical sciences to generate real-world breakthroughs and benefits in sectors ranging from healthcare to energy.

We will support research investments focused on:

  • creating strong pathways to impact from high-quality fundamental research
  • fostering vital development of researchers at the early-career stage.

We aim to consolidate previous investments within the highest quality research environments and focus the portfolio on fundamental research oriented towards:

  • informing the next stage of development in relevant application areas
  • providing understanding to underpin the tackling of key societal challenges.

For example, research may include:

  • electrochemistry for analytical sensor technologies used in healthcare applications
  • underpinning advances in clean energy and routes to sustainable chemical technologies
  • providing fundamental electrochemical understanding for advances in electronics
  • research into electrochemical processes for water treatment or purification.

We will maintain support for research focused on large and mid-scale energy storage and battery applications, and on the underpinning of novel materials development for fuel cell technology, in line with EPSRC’s Energy theme strategy for these areas.

Crucially, we will facilitate development at the early career stage to ensure pull-through from increased investment in training, to develop future leaders and secure the future supply of UK electrochemical sciences researchers.

We expect to see early career researchers being fully supported in the highest quality research environments, to safeguard future capability.

Why we're doing it

Fundamental electrochemical sciences research underpins a whole range of application areas across engineering and physical sciences. Moreover, it is important for a number of industry sectors. For example, electrochemistry provides new understanding for energy storage and battery technologies, as well as contributing to meeting challenges posed by nuclear fuel processing.

The UK has particular strength in electrochemistry for lithium-air and lithium-sulphur batteries for more efficient energy storage. Electrochemical sciences research is also important to the healthcare sector in the development of sensors for health monitoring, and to engineering for water treatment processes and understanding corrosion. In addition, it underpins work in sustainable chemical technologies, manufacturing, electronics, information and communication technologies (ICT) and transport.

Electrochemistry is a broad field and, in terms of UK research, the quality distribution is large. There is, however, a significant concentration of high-quality fundamental research within a small number of institutions. It is important that EPSRC investment continues to be focused in the highest quality research environments to ensure the strength of the research portfolio in this area. Equally, research must be focused specifically on supporting fundamental work that has a significant element of core electrochemical sciences research directed at enabling new understanding that can underpin the developments needed to create impact via applications.

Recent developments in this research area include the coupling of electrochemical sciences techniques with other spectroscopic techniques, such as synchrotron capability, to obtain more detailed molecular-level information. Researchers are therefore making increased use of large national and international facilities, such as the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, Diamond Light Source and other synchrotron radiation sources.

While a much higher proportion of this area is now invested in training compared to 2012, this has not translated to support at the early career stage. Development at the early career stage is still required, to maximise potential created by an increased training portfolio, ensure the area’s long-term health and secure its ability to contribute to meeting key challenges.

Early career development should be supported within the best UK groups and focus on high-quality fundamental research with strong links to application areas, thus enabling pull-through of electrochemical sciences expertise into other fields.

View evidence sources used to inform our research strategies.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

Visualising our portfolio (VoP) is a tool for users to visually interact with the EPSRC portfolio and data relationships. Find out more about research area connections and funding for Electrochemical Sciences.

Find previously funded projects on Grants on the Web.

Last updated: 21 December 2022

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