This research area focuses on the development of new catalysis concepts and catalytic processes, preparation of new or improved catalysts and studies to understand catalytic mechanisms.
This research area focuses on the development of new catalysis concepts and catalytic processes (for example, discovery of novel catalysts for reactions that have no catalytic routes available yet), preparation of novel or improved catalysts, and structural and kinetic studies to understand catalytic mechanisms.
This area includes all types of catalysis:
The field links strongly to the research areas of:
- Synthetic Coordination Chemistry
- Surface Science
- Synthetic Organic Chemistry
- Process Systems: Components and Integration
- Materials for Energy Applications.
The strategic focus for this area reflects the continued importance and recognised UK strengths in catalysis science.
Research in this area is central to addressing current and future national challenges in energy, fuels, healthcare, chemicals manufacturing, environment, food and agriculture, resources and sustainability. New or improved catalysts and processes will have a major role in delivering against many of EPSRC’s ambitions.
This consolidation follows a period where we strategically grew our investment in this research area, and future support will focus on promoting excellence in the broad, diversified research community that emerged in response to this ‘grow’ strategy.
The impact of strategic investments (such as the UK Catalysis Hub) will be examined to understand their role in, and influence on, the wider UK research base.
We will aim for greater integration of fundamental, molecular catalysis science with a broad spectrum of chemical engineering research, explicitly to accelerate the taking of discoveries towards new chemical and process technologies. Researchers should continue to seek appropriate partnerships with end users – for example, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and established chemicals, water, energy, pharma and agricultural companies – to address defined problems, but also to push translation of research into fundamental understanding of catalysts and catalytic reactions to new opportunities for commercialisation (such as new catalytic routes to new molecules).
We will provide continuing support for access to novel instruments, central facilities and the development of research capability not available using current instruments. This is essential if the community is to advance the opportunities presented by catalysis science and technology.
We will continue targeting resources at national challenges and gathering evidence to demonstrate that increased investment in catalysis delivers transformational benefits for the UK over the longer term.
We will explore opportunities for collaboration at the interface between chemo-catalysis/biocatalysis (focused on the development of new catalysis tools) and organic synthesis (users of these tools) in the area of clean and efficient organic chemistry based on catalysis.
We will continue to prioritise recruitment, retention and development of talent within the UK community. Interdisciplinary training will remain a strong feature of the area’s portfolio, which is well-aligned to the needs of the UK’s energy, sustainability, pharma, biotechnology and manufacturing sectors.
Catalysis is internationally recognised as a critical enabling technology, so competition for the best researchers is also international. It will be important to maintain a strong focus on developing future leadership to safeguard the UK’s long-term position among the world-leaders.