The majority of research in UoA 18 Chemistry is officially classified as world-leading, internationally excellent or recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour, having been placed in the three highest categories for quality in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.
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Chemistry has seen major investment with extensive renovation and new academic space provided in the Bedson Building. A new Synthetic Chemistry Laboratory has been constructed and equipped at a cost of £3.3m. Similar upgrades have been made to the teaching laboratories (£2.8m) and other teaching spaces (£600k). Excellent supporting infrastructure includes mechanical, electronic and glassblowing workshops, a comprehensive library and database facilities.
Funding from the Royal Society/Wolfson Foundation and SRIF (£505,595) provided a new purpose-built research space and equipment for Chemical Nanoscience. This area will be enhanced further (January 2008) by new synthetic laboratories and equipment provided by local development agency One North East (£1.5m) giving contiguous synthetic and characterisation facilities.
Research activities are organized as follows:
There are a large number of on-going, highly productive, national and international collaborations with external research groups. Strong links exist across the University, most notably with Bio-medical Sciences and Chemical Engineering, and staff are founder members of nanoLAB and University Research Centre in Catalysis and Intensified Processing (URCCIP). The chemistry section of the Northern Institute for Cancer Research (NICR) is located in the Bedson Building and contributes to our research portfolio (UoA 2). Staff members frequently serve on Research Council panels.
The School of Chemistry has a track record of exploiting its fundamental research, recognised through 21 patents during this RAE period. In addition, NPIL and Strem have licensed work undertaken by three research groups. A successful spin-out company, NewChem Technologies Ltd, has been established which specialises in contract research for the chemical, energy and pharmaceutical industries. Staff have consulted for a diverse range of companies, including: Shire Pharmaceuticals, OSI Pharmaceuticals, Phoenix Chemicals, Procter and Gamble Avecia/NPIL, Innovia Technology, Hurricane Energy, and W L Gore.
A Royal Society Research Fellowship, two EPSRC Advanced Fellowships and two RCUK Fellowships have been held in the School during this RAE period. All senior staff are active in research management including: involvement in setting the agenda of regional, national and world-wide organisations; leading pan-European research consortia; and/or editing international journals. Staff at all career stages serve on advisory panels and editorial boards.
Future research aims to build on existing strengths, promote new and emerging cross-disciplinary collaborations, and ensure the rapid development of recently-appointed staff. This will exploit regional and University initiatives to allow appointments to enhance fundamental research in priority areas.