Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Synthetic coordination chemistry

Design and synthesis of novel coordination complexes and ligands, and development of novel synthetic methodologies.

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

The scope and what we're doing

We will continue to support core capability that feeds into the development of disruptive, emerging technologies in the UK. Developments in fundamental synthetic coordination chemistry underpin advances, for example, in the key fields of catalysis and materials research.

In particular, our goal is for researchers in this area to generate new discoveries and insights with potential real-world benefits by working on truly interdisciplinary challenges and developing stronger links with:

  • colleagues in research areas such as Catalysis, Supramolecular chemistry, Chemical biology and biological chemistry, and Functional inorganic materials and medicine – powerful collaborations will accelerate pull-through of new technologies that build on the fundamental understanding of the reactivity and chemical properties of metals
  • industry, to ensure early consideration of scale-up opportunities that also increase pull-through of scientific outputs – this will accelerate impact and success will increase the profile of the capability generated by synthetic coordination chemistry.

Why we're doing it

The sustainable chemistry agenda is increasing in momentum and fundamental synthetic coordination chemistry is vital to sustaining drives in innovation. For example, better understanding of the reactivity of abundant earth metals can influence and inform design of next-generation catalysts and functional inorganic materials, enabling greener energy solutions.

The UK community includes a number of internationally competitive groups, while the majority of investment is in supporting investigator-led research in fundamental physical sciences. The research is important to the wider research community due to the cross-cutting capability it provides.

This area links to top-down challenges in EPSRC’s Energy and Manufacturing the future themes. It also underpins fundamental fields, including catalysis, supramolecular chemistry, inorganic materials, chemical biology and medicine. Emerging interdisciplinary research in magnetism and data storage is potentially transformative. Strengthening and consolidating these links would accelerate outputs from this research area.

The majority of research within the EPSRC portfolio in the area is investigator-led. Synthetic coordination chemistry is relevant to disparate challenge-led areas and, as indicated above, applications are found in a number of sectors (for example pharma, manufacturing and energy). This is reflected in the breadth of project partners on research proposals.

There is a healthy level of training support, particularly for interdisciplinary training focused on the challenges of chemical synthesis and sustainable chemistry. This area has a balance of researchers across career stages, enabling long-term resilience and the capacity to adapt to emerging research opportunities.

Research in synthetic coordination chemistry remains capital-intensive with requirements for standard and specialist equipment and access to national facilities such as the National Electron Paramagnetic Spectroscopy Facility and Service.

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 Synthetic coordination chemistry.

Find previously funded projects on Grants on the Web.

Last updated: 6 January 2023

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