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£7 million investment in the School of Chemistry & its Catalysis Institute

29 July 2014

Chemical synthesis, the production and manipulation of more complex and valuable molecules from simple reactants, is in essence the primary driver of Chemistry as a STEM subject. The more valuable molecules may be targets for advanced materials, for imaging and contrast agents or drugs in medicine, for example. However, new and more sophisticated approaches for characterising these molecules will improve the identification of the species that make the synthesis occur. Therefore by combining existing skills in chemical synthesis with more powerful methods of characterisation, we can strive to better understand the connection between chemistry and the advanced applications that molecules can deliver. Chemistry is important both in its own right, as an intellectual discipline, but also for its ability to prepare new forms of matter, on which so many other disciplines rely, and in so doing can contribute to many of the societal global challenges. This importance is best recognized through the contributions made to the UK’s chemical and chemical-using sectors, which together contribute approximately £250bn to the UK economy. Cutting edge research is essential to enable the chemical sector to remain vibrant and competitive, and access to state-of-the-art, high-end instrument is essential to support this.

The School of Chemistry and its Catalysis Institute (CCI) recognize the importance of fundamental research in tackling many modern cutting-edge research challenges in materials, energy, healthcare, catalysis, pharmaceuticals and nanotechnology. Our research mission is therefore to generate and to disseminate world-class research knowledge across all branches of chemistry and its interfaces with other scientific disciplines, with focus on research that significantly informs academic scholarship but also impacts on policy-making and economic output.

To support our strategic research ambitions, and in recognition of the importance of the subject, Cardiff University has recently invested £7 million into the School & the CCI, to enable us to considerably expand our scientific research infrastructure, to enhance our existing core-equipment capabilities and to procure new discipline-changing high-end instrumentation. Chemistry currently has a range of spectroscopic and analytical facilities including, NMR (liquid-state & solid-state, up to 600 MHz), X-ray diffraction (single-crystal and powder), Mass spectrometry, Surface Science techniques (XPS, LEED, Auger), analytical facilities (atomic absorption, UV/visible, thermal analysis, electrochemistry) and more specialist equipment facilities including, EPR/ENDOR spectroscopy, field cycling relaxometry, fluorescence, microcalorimetry and instrumentation underpinning research in Biological Chemistry. The University investment will enable us to significantly strengthen this infrastructure base by establishing a Chemistry Advanced Spectroscopic & Analytical Facility and considerably enhance the research capabilities of the CCI, with new high field and solid state magnetic resonance instruments, time resolved luminescence, CD and VCD equipment including fast kinetics capabilities, cell culture and flow activated cell sorting equipment, facilities for high pressure liquid phase catalyst testing, and high throughput instrumentation for catalyst preparation and screening.

This welcome investment will enable the School of Chemistry & the CCI to sustain its internationally leading profile as research-intensive, curiosity driven hubs to generate impact of societal value.

Professor Rudolf Allemann, Head of School.