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University of Warwick
UOA 18 - Chemistry
RA5a: Research environment and esteem
University of Warwick, UoA18, RA5a
After achieving a 5A rating in RAE2001, there have been major investments in people and research infrastructure during the period of RAE2008. Specifically, the number of academic staff has increased from 24 FTE at the last RAE to 32.8. The expansion, largely in the latter half of the RAE period, has been a consequence of University and Department initiatives in scientific computing, materials, systems biology and chemical biology, as well as a desire to enhance our position in core chemistry. This expansion has been facilitated by a buoyant undergraduate chemistry intake, which has risen by approximately 50% to 120 (2006 and 2007 intakes), with an accompanying increase in the average A level points score to ca. 26. The University strongly supports the Department and strategic appointments have been made at all levels:
4 new Chairs (Jones, Sadler, Shipman, TaylorPR).
6 new faculty (Costantini, Dixon, Lochner, Turner, Walsh, Walton).
2 RCUK Fellows in nanoscience (Dove and Troisi).
6 new independent Research Fellowships (EPSRC and Royal Society), won competitively (Blindauer, Fox, Stavros, Whitworth, Shipman (transferred from Exeter) and Mackenzie (moved to Cambridge, 2006)), complementing the one Fellowship (Macpherson) carried over from the last RAE period.
Departmental colleagues entered in the previous RAE have flourished: a significant number have been promoted, including 6 to Personal Chairs (Challis, Jenkins, Macpherson, RodgerA, RodgerPM, Scott). The investment in emerging talent means the Department remains young, with a current FTE-weighted average age of 40, with 40% of the Department aged 40 or under. Approximately 1/3 of colleagues have won personal awards (excluding salaried fellowships) from the RSC and other bodies, in recognition of research achievements, with several winning multiple awards. Income generation is on an upward trajectory, with younger colleagues proving particularly successful. Ambitious initiatives in the University and the region in the closing period of RAE2008 are providing us with further tremendous opportunities. From 2006 onwards, the University began an investment of close to £11M in the Department. Following the designation of Birmingham as a Science City by the Government, the regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands (AWM), has committed significant investment to promote the Universities of Warwick and Birmingham as world-leading institutions in key areas of science and technology in which the Department will participate fully (vide infra).
Research structure and culture
The Department is recognised for its forward-looking view of Chemistry. We were one of the first Departments (globally) to envision, in the mid-1990s, that the traditional three-way split of Chemistry into inorganic, organic and physical did not necessarily reflect developments in the subject. Our research is thus organised around 5 clusters which focus on important areas and play to the strengths of the Department. These clusters, which have proved extremely successful, are reviewed periodically by all members of staff, and evolve to provide the optimal intellectual environment for research in the Department. An individual academic can choose to belong to any primary cluster and they may be an associate member of other clusters in which they have an interest. There is considerable inter-cluster synergy and, coupled with activities at a University level and beyond, this drives multidisciplinary research within the Department.
Synthetic Chemistry (SC) covers the breadth of chemical synthesis, including medicinal, organic and inorganic, with particular strengths in catalysis. The external appointment of Shipman to a Chair in Synthetic Chemistry in 2003, brought an internationally leading researcher to the Department, recognised widely for innovative work on synthetic methods exploiting methyleneaziridines, the synthesis of aziridine devices (with Walsh, and Tucker, Birmingham) and the study of strained heterocyclic systems. Wills is known globally for his invention and application of new catalysts for asymmetric organic reactions. Particular success has been achieved in ketone reduction, using both transfer and pressure hydrogenation methods. Several new catalysts developed by Wills have been adopted by industrial companies and examined in large scale applications. Clark has enhanced his reputation for synthetic methodology in free radical chemistry, in particular the development of atom transfer radical cyclisation reactions, together with multidisciplinary activity in developing renewable resources as feedstocks for materials/polymers. TaylorPC has developed new interdisciplinary research foci at the interface of organic chemistry with: (i) chemical engineering (with RodgerPM and Livingston, Imperial College); and (ii) chemical biology (with Clark and Marsh), while maintaining activity in organosulfur and nitrene transfer chemistry. Fox moved his EPSRC Advanced Fellowship from Cambridge to Warwick in 2006 and has brought us new activities in mechanistic and synthetic organic chemistry, physical organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry. Scott, promoted to a Personal Chair in 2004, is distinguished for his approach to understanding reaction mechanisms to design catalysts for polymerisation and organic transformations, particularly from the perspective of the inorganic chemist. Scott’s discoveries of non-metallocene and transition metal catalysts for enantioselective hydroamination have been the subject of intensive follow-up efforts by several leading international groups. Rourke has developed his reputation in mechanistic organometallic chemistry, particularly relating to the isolation and spectroscopic detection of reactive intermediates.
Chemical Biology (CB) has the guiding view that “chemistry is the language of biology”. The Department established its presence in this vital interdisciplinary field in the run-up to RAE2001, and has since built on this foundation by more than doubling academic staff in the area to 8. This cluster and others in the Department play a pivotal role in University-wide activities, and has been at the forefront of initiatives in systems biology (SB), metabolomics, proteomics, biophysical chemistry/biophysics and translational medicine. The cluster has benefited tremendously from investment in state of the art instrumentation (vide infra). Challis, appointed to his first independent position just before RAE2001, has achieved rapid promotion to a Chair in 2006, in recognition of his leading position in CB. A highly multidisciplinary approach is pursued that integrates synthetic organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, protein chemistry, mechanistic enzymology, bioinformatics, genetic engineering and microbiology. Bugg is an international authority in mechanistic enzymology, who has discovered the first biomimetic model reaction for the extradiol catechol dioxygenases and developed novel methods for the study of lipid-linked steps of peptidoglycan biosynthesis. Working at the interface between chemical biology and materials chemistry, Marsh has developed new protein resistant surfaces, and routes to self-assembled structures using nucleobases combined with precision polymer synthesis. He plays a key role in the collaborative exploration of small molecule–protein interactions with Clark and TaylorPC. RodgerA, promoted to a Chair in 2005, has enhanced her international reputation for theoretical and experimental polarized spectroscopy, including linear dichroism and circular dichroism, with particular reference to molecular aspects of biomolecule structure and function. She has led multidisciplinary activities in the University as Director of the Warwick EPSRC-LSI Doctoral Training Centre (DTC), Molecular Organisation and Assembly in Cells (MOAC). As a consequence of winning ESPRC funding for the MOAC and SB DTCs, two new positions were created, with the appointment of Dixon (2005) and Lochner (2006). Dixon focuses on membrane protein structure, folding and interactions using biochemical and biophysical techniques, including solution state NMR. Uniquely, Lochner has developed core expertise in both synthetic organic chemistry and neurobiochemistry, commencing a programme on the function of ion channels that combines these two distinct areas. Blindauer came from a senior research fellowship in Edinburgh in 2004 and holds a Royal Society Olga Kennard Fellowship. Her research programme is centred on chemistry, structure and dynamics of metal trafficking proteins, combining protein science, biological mass spectrometry, NMR, molecular and comparative modelling, and bioinformatics. The recent strategic appointment of Sadler as the new Head of Department in 2007 gives the Department tremendous coverage and cements Warwick’s reputation in chemical biology. He is a leader in the chemistry of metals in medicine, discovering new organometallic anticancer complexes with clinical potential, and gaining major insights into their biological chemistry; six patents have been licensed to industry.
Materials Chemistry (MC) has been a growth area for the Department and has now emerged as a distinct research cluster. Haddleton and Bon have established Warwick as a significant centre for research on macromolecules. Haddleton is particularly distinguished for his work on transition metal catalyzed radical polymerisation processes to control molecular weight, polydispersity, microstructure, terminal functionality and the shape of macromolecules. Applications include new polymeric bioconjugates for improving protein and peptide therapeutics. Bon is opening up the field of supracolloidal polymer chemistry, successfully designing new structures through liquid-liquid interface driven assembly of colloidal building blocks. The appointment of Dove in 2005 as one of two RCUK fellows in nanoscience, has expanded interests in the synthesis of functional materials and their application in self-assembly. The appointments of Turner and Walton in 2005 and 2006, respectively, have nucleated a new area in inorganic materials. Walton has developed novel synthesis conditions, both hydrothermal and solvothermal, for inorganic solids, introducing aspects of design and control in the crystallisation of materials. Turner’s research is focused on the preparation and characterisation of molecular materials that display magnetic and/or transport phenomena e.g. long range magnetic order, spin crossover and electrical or ionic conductivity.
The MC cluster has particularly strong synergy with SC and Physical Chemistry – Chemical Physics (PCCP); and with the Physics Department for materials characterisation and optimisation. MC and PCCP (through Haddleton and Macpherson), together with Physics, is shaping the creation of a West Midlands Centre for Advanced Materials (WMCAM) in partnership with Birmingham (outline approval from AWM) that should see a multi-million pound investment to raise further the equipment base in Chemistry and Physics. Plans for the centre involve over 30% of staff in Chemistry.
Physical Chemistry-Chemical Physics (PCCP) activities span condensed phase interfaces, nanostructured and electronic materials, mass spectrometry and femtosecond spectroscopy; there are strong overlaps with the Department of Physics in several areas. The Electrochemistry and Interfaces Group led by Unwin and Macpherson, is renowned for innovative methods and novel nanostructured materials. Unwin has pioneered micro- and nanoscale techniques to probe quantitatively interfacial physicochemical processes. Macpherson (a Royal Society URF until 2007, promoted to Chair in 2007), has initiated new and wide-ranging programmes on single-walled carbon nanotubes. Both are actively involved in the funded AWM Hydrogen-Energy project and are working with: Mackenzie (Cambridge) on the integration of electrochemistry and cavity ring down spectroscopy; and Newton and Smith (Physics) on the application of high resolution magnetic resonance techniques in electrochemistry (EPSRC Basic Technology). Whitworth (RS Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow) has expertise in modelling electrochemical systems and is initiating new programmes on the use of microelectrode and chemical microscopy techniques in living systems. The Department has built on its successes in surface chemistry through the recent strategic appointment of Jones (from Imperial College) to a newly created Chair. Jones is renowned for research on the controlled formation of inorganic and organic semiconductor thin films and nanostructures and their application in a range of optoelectronic devices, particularly photovoltaics. He has had a fruitful joint research programme with McConville (Physics) on semiconductor surfaces and thin film growth that has been funded continuously by EPSRC for the past decade. His move to Warwick strengthens considerably the University’s reputation in surface science and the physics of materials. The recent appointment of Costantini (a Group Leader from the MPI for Advanced Materials, Stuttgart) brings the promise of a new programme on novel methods for creating functionalised surfaces, in particular through the use of electrospray techniques. The link between the PCCP cluster and the Warwick surface physics group is further enhanced through a programme on clusters, involving Drewello and Derrick in Chemistry and Woodruff in Physics. This work draws on Warwick’s leading expertise in mass spectrometry and instrumentation development. Activities in femtosecond spectroscopy are led by Stavros, a recent RS URF appointment from Berkeley, who has established an exciting EPSRC-funded programme on the absorption and dissipation of UV radiation by DNA base pairs, using a combination of molecular beam techniques and pump-probe laser spectroscopy.
Computational and Theoretical Chemistry (CTC) has expanded since the last RAE, and now has six academics; this expansion has been further enhanced through strong interactions with the University’s Centre for Scientific Computing (CSC), established in 2001 to bring together researchers working on simulation and algorithm development in Warwick’s science departments. Activities of the cluster extend from fundamental studies of atoms and small molecules, using state-of-the-art quantum mechanics, through to large-scale modelling of macroscopic systems; they embrace development of quantum, statistical-mechanical and thermodynamic methods, with applications to materials, biological chemistry, synthetic chemistry and chemical physics. TaylorPR, appointed from the University of California, San Diego on a Royal Society Merit Award (2002), is a leader in the development and application of methods for the accurate calculation of the properties of molecules. Walsh (appointed in 2002 from a Glasstone Fellowship, Oxford), works on weak interactions, principally at the interface between organic and inorganic materials. She works closely with Mackenzie (Cambridge), Allen (Physics) and RodgerPM on biominerals. RodgerPM, a co-Director of the EPSRC-DTC in Complexity Science (CS), was promoted to a Personal Chair in 2004 and is an expert on the theory and application of statistical mechanical simulation methods. He is developing new methods for simulating long timescale phenomena; applications include simulations of crystal nucleation in complex systems and studies of novel DNA-binding drugs. Work on materials has been greatly enhanced by the strategic appointment of Troisi, the second RCUK Fellow in nanoscience, who is internationally-leading in the development of theories for molecular-level charge transfer. Notably, he has developed the first general theory to model inelastic tunnelling spectroscopy experiments, underpinning the emerging area of molecular electronics and leading to collaborations with the main groups in this area in the USA. Deeth is an authority on the application and development of computer modelling techniques to the structure and reactivity of molecular systems containing transition metal centres. The emphasis has developed from applications of Density Functional Theory to a new empirically-based methodology, attracting considerable interest from experimentalists in the field of coordination chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry and chemical biology, including Challis and Sadler. Jenkins has pioneered a volume–based approach to thermodynamics (VBT), which is gaining worldwide attention. He has recently developed methods to estimate fundamental thermodynamic data where experimental values are not available.
Interdisciplinary and collaborative research
The Department has a truly outstanding record of interdisciplinary research, fostered by the non-traditional research areas within the Department and the strong partnerships with Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Engineering, Warwick HRI, Warwick Medical School and Biological Sciences. These links are promoted via University-wide schemes and externally-funded initiatives identified herein. The University has won funding for three EPSRC-funded DTCs (MOAC, SB and CS) in the RAE period, more than any other University in the UK, and members of the Department contribute to them all (vide infra). In addition to core EPSRC funding, SB was recently awarded a £1.6M grant by the BBSRC SysMO initiative involving Challis in a pan-European project. The Department is currently involved in co-supervising PhD students supported directly by the MOAC centre (see below), in projects which involve at least 2 departments. At a regional level, there will be new closer interactions with science departments at the University of Birmingham, due to activities between Warwick, Birmingham and AWM. Within a European context, approximately 25% of staff have been involved in Research Training Networks, Early Stage Training Networks and COST workgroups. We have a number of Erasmus partners which has brought approximately 50 young European researchers to the Department to carry out projects in the SC cluster alone. There have been over 300 collaborations between individuals and groups in the Department with other universities in the UK and overseas. An additional strength of the Department has been to partner industry in research programmes. More than 80 separate programmes have run in the Department in partnership with UK industry in the RAE period, with AstraZeneca, GSK, Syngenta and Unilever as key partners, as well as a number of SMEs. These activities have resulted in knowledge and technique transfer from the Department to companies.
Mechanisms for promoting and sustaining the research culture
The Department has a deliberately flat management structure, reflecting and affirming a commitment to empower young academics. The freedom enjoyed by younger members of staff to pursue and develop their individual research interests and collaborations has been the key element in the success of the Department as a whole. Formally, the Department’s Research Committee promotes and monitors research in the Department. The Research Committee comprises the Head of each cluster, appointed by the Head of Department, and the Department’s Research Link Officer, who provides a bridge to the University’s Research Support Services. Clusters meet on a monthly basis and report on issues at a monthly Research Committee meeting. The Chair of the Research Committee is a member of the Department’s Executive Committee, which advises the Head of Department. The Research Committee’s budget, which derives from the internal block grant to the Department, primarily supports the purchase of new equipment, but is also used to provide younger members of staff with money to pump-prime new initiatives and travel. Priorities in funding equipment are decided in open competition across the Department, with the outcomes decided by the Research Committee. The overwhelming majority of the budget has naturally been allocated to new members of staff; established staff members are expected to lead by example and secure external funding. There are monies for individual groups for consumables, which are distributed by a formula, largely dependent on the number of personnel in the group. The formula includes a 50% additional allowance for members of staff on probation. All PhD students have access to a training and conference fund. The University has a Research Development Fund available to all staff which pump-primes research initiatives, especially those which are interdisciplinary, with up to £50k available per application.
The Department has active lecture and seminar programmes. An RSC lecture programme, comprising approximately two dozen lectures runs throughout the year, bringing internationally-leading researchers from academia and industry to the Department (from the UK and overseas). This is supplemented by two separate seminar programmes run by the PCCP/Materials/Computational clusters and the Synthesis/Chemical Biology clusters. These offer more specialised lectures and bring in leading national and international speakers (e.g. the Nobel Laureate Ertl (Berlin), Crooks (Austin) and Beak (Illinois) during 2006 and 2007). Additionally, members of the Department participate in the weekly seminars in MOAC, SB and CSC, which have distinguished outside lecturers alongside Warwick speakers, promoting interdisciplinary links.
Quality of the research infrastructure
The Department underwent a significant upgrade of all laboratory and office space in the closing phase of RAE2001. With the subsequent growth of staff numbers during the RAE2008 period, the University has provided the Department with additional high-quality refurbished research space, amounting to an extra 500 m2 between Jan 2001 and Jan 2007. A subsequent programme of refurbishment and expansion is underway that includes a further 900 m2 , with an additional 250 m2 of existing space also being refurbished. This will provide custom-designed facilities for PCCP, CB and CTC. The space vacated by CB will allow expansion of space for the SC and MC clusters. Space is made available on the basis of “need”, as judged by the Department’s Space Committee, which is chaired by a Professor appointed by, and working with, the Head of Department. All research workers, including PhD students, have their own desk, storage space and PC in a shared office, with direct access to library and internet-resources. The University subscribes to the full range of journals from the ACS, RSC and commercial publishers, along with databases such as Scifinder and Crossfire. The Department has a generous budget from the University which covers inter-library loan requests for more obscure works.
All services (NMR, mass spectrometry, X-ray crystallography, optical spectroscopies, microscopies, high-performance computing, cold rooms and so on) are funded by top-slicing the University’s Departmental allocation and through externally won research grants. The Department has maintained electrical/IT (4 persons) and glass-blowing (1 person) workshops and took a strategic decision to merge the mechanical workshop with that in nearby Physics (maintaining 2 Chemistry personnel), allowing machine tools be shared. The technicians in these workshops are intimately engaged in instrument design and development and have contributed significantly to Warwick Chemistry’s reputation for designing and building innovative new instrumentation. Shared facilities in the Department, and elsewhere in the University where we have access, have improved significantly (see Research Income section). The Department partners Physics and Biology in the newly established High Field Magnet Centre housing the Department’s new 700 MHz and 600 MHz NMR spectrometers, and providing access to some 14 high field magnets for solid and solution state NMR and EPR. A further addition since 2001 has been investment in high resolution electron microscopy (in Physics, with Chemistry support) and analytical facilities are currently being upgraded with the creation of a trace analysis suite that will house new instruments for ICP-OES and ICP-MS-HPLC. New high resolution and high field mass spectrometers will be installed in mid-2008 and Chemistry will play the lead role in the new campus-wide Warwick Centre for Mass Spectrometry (with Biology and Medicine).
Research income and support
Annual research spend has averaged £2.25M per annum during the period compared to an average of £1.75M for the period in RAE2001, with Research Council spend rising by ca. 75% over the RAE period (from approx. £1.05M (annualised) in partial 2000/01 to £1.86M in 2006/07). The Department obtained £1.7M for NMR through SRIF2 and share access to state of the art field-emission scanning electron microscopy awarded to Physics (£0.3M) in SRIF2. SRIF3 saw a £3.2M investment in the High Field Magnet Centre with Physics, £1M for CSC, which is used extensively by the CTC cluster and £0.3M for atomic force microscopy for the Department. The figures in RA4 do not include substantial funding for MOAC, SB and CS, all of which benefit research in the Department, nor the EPSRC-element of the Collaborative Training Account (CTA) which supports an innovative PhD research programme with industry (vide infra). We have profited from AWM initiatives: the University has already secured £2.6M for Hydrogen-Energy, to which several members of the Department contribute, with further substantial funding - several times this amount - expected for materials characterisation equipment in Chemistry and Physics.
Research students and research studentships
An average of 20 students have graduated with PhD degrees in each year and there has been an increase of the PhD population from 53.50 total FTE in 2001 to 86.60 FTE in 2007. Students are supported from a variety of sources, including an EPSRC DTA allocation, EPSRC project studentships, BBSRC studentships, industry and the MOAC and SB DTCs. Unwin, Macpherson, Dixon, Blindauer, Lochner, Challis, Deeth, RodgerA and RodgerPM contribute significantly to these two major DTCs: at July 31 2007, there were 14 students carrying out part of their PhD programme in the Department. These students mainly have a mathematics/physical sciences background and enable challenging new projects at the nexus of Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Mathematics. The development of the CS DTC is expected to build additional activity in the Department. The Department runs a flourishing PhD programme in Chemistry with Industrial Collaboration. The programme, unique in the UK, operates in a similar way to EngD in engineering departments. Funding comes from an EPSRC CTA won competitively by Warwick and provides 4-year studentships. On July 31 2007, this scheme supported 11 PhD students with additional funds from UK-based companies.
DTA studentships are allocated to staff in two rounds per annum. Colleagues make a case that is judged by a committee comprising academic members of the Research Committee and Postgraduate Committee. In recent years, priority has been given to younger members of staff and new members of the Department, so that they have one or two PhD students in the first two years of appointment. The University runs a scholarship programme, supporting 35 – 50 students annually across the University, which fully supports talented students from the UK and overseas. Additionally, the University participates in the ORS scheme and the Department has a commitment to provide the remaining support for any Chemistry students who win scholarships via this route.
Relationship with research users and impact of research
Research goes from strength to strength across all areas of the Department, as evident from the outputs submitted. The quality factor has been recognised by awards to individuals (vide supra) and by the high number of lecture invitations received by members of the Department (see individual esteem for some examples). Aspects of research in the Department is commercially important, as evidenced by successful and fledgling spin out companies, notably Warwick Effect Polymers, Warwick Analytical Services, Dioptica Scientific and a2sp and the high-impact and high-prestige consultancies which individuals undertake (more than 25 in the RAE period). More than 45 patents have been filed by current members of staff in the period of RAE2008, courses have been given to industry (see individual esteem for some examples) and we have partnerships with industry on research programmes, including fully-funded staff and students, in addition to the successful CTA programme already highlighted.
Colleagues collaborate with researchers in institutions around the world and some of our distinctive and unique facilities mean that we have thus enjoyed a high volume of quality senior research visitors who have visited the Department for periods of a few days to one year. Among these were Mandler (Hebrew University, 1 year), Toyoda (Osaka University, 1 year), Nagasawa (Kao Corporation, 1 year), Walsh (Harvard Medical School), Cane (Brown), Townsend (John Hopkins), Whitman (Texas), Loria (Cornell), Ikariya (Tokyo), Pilli (Campinas), Szunerits (CNRS, Grenoble), Porter (Vanderbilt), Evans (UC Irvine), Aldrich-Wright (Western Sydney), Nolte (Nijmegen), Sutherland (Brookhaven) and Keiderling (Chicago). We have been the venue for several important conferences and symposia, such as international polymer conferences Warwick 2002 and 2006 (which brought Hawker, Frechet, Matyjaszewski, Percec and Wooley, among others, to the Department). We were selected to host the Lilly Lectureship 2007 (Reetz, Max Planck Institute, Mülheim) and have hosted RSC Medal symposia, such as the Bourke Medal 2006 (Amatore) and the triple Marlow/Centenary Lecturer/Chemistry of the Nobel Metals Awards 2005. The Electrochemistry and Interfaces section of the Department was named as the Research Group of 2003 by Laboratory News. Current members of the Department have hosted some 10 Marie Curie Intra-European Fellows and International Fellows (2 year fellowships) at Warwick or former institutions.
As already highlighted, there has been considerable expansion of the Department and, coupled with a vigorous appointment process in the previous decade, there has been almost complete renewal of staff. Our main policy has been to identify young, talented staff and to nurture and grow them into stars. The spectacular progress of Challis and Macpherson is testament to the success of this policy: at the last RAE they were within 1 or 2 years of appointment and are now both internationally-leading. We are just as excited about the current crop of young people we have brought into the Department during this RAE period. With expansion, we have also recognized the benefits of bringing in proven internationally-leading researchers from elsewhere who can contribute to future strategy, as evidenced by the appointment of 4 new Chairs. Despite the fact that many of our young staff have been approached with attractive Chair offers from elsewhere, the overwhelming majority have chosen to stay at Warwick. Very early in the RAE period, Leigh moved to an established Chair in Edinburgh; later Hannon moved to a Chair at Birmingham, and Mackenzie moved to a lectureship in Cambridge. The clusters to which they belonged were subsequently strengthened significantly.
Arrangements for supporting staff. All academics, independent of position, have essentially the same facilities (generous office space and lab space based on need). Warwick encourages staff to enhance their research with a generous study leave scheme (1 term in 7). In addition to Department support, the University also runs a Research Development Fund, as already highlighted. Research Support Services at the University provides an administrative focus and advice for research. The Department’s Research Link Officer works with colleagues in identifying opportunities and costing proposals. The Warwick Graduate School provides a formal framework for PhD training and support, which helps staff to develop comprehensive training programmes. Established academics have the opportunity to reflect formally on their research in their regular appraisal. As mentioned earlier, the Department’s Research Committee considers large scale cross-cluster developments and interdisciplinary ventures.
Arrangements for the development of younger and/or new researchers. New members of academic staff are provided with their own office, laboratory space and a financial start-up package, which is a personal discretionary fund to be used in whichever ways are most effective to jump-start research. A mentoring system operates in the Department, whereby a senior member of staff provides encouragement and feedback to staff on probation and beyond. The flat Departmental management structure bolsters self-confidence, particularly among non-professorial staff, and encourages an egalitarian ethos. Teaching loads for new academics are substantially lower than average during their period of probation (one third of full load) and new academics have a light administrative load, so that they can focus on developing their research identities, while also allowing them to play a role in the management of the Department. Warwick implements the Concordat on contract research staff career development which is monitored by the Staff Development Committee, and commits considerable investment by offering permanent posts to EPSRC Advanced Fellows, Royal Society URFs and RCUK Fellows. The appointments of former research fellows, Bon and Macpherson, to permanent independent academic positions have demonstrated commitment to the research concordat requirements to provide careers for research staff.
Research strategy, future plans and self-assessment
The research strategy of Chemistry at Warwick has been to maintain a strong core, while promoting interdisciplinary activities via partnerships with other Departments at Warwick and beyond, including with end-users. The vision is of a strong Department of Chemistry at the centre, looking out towards the other sciences. We have gone beyond our plans in RAE2001, by expanding the Department in key areas and through ventures which were not envisaged in 2001, but which arose from initiatives championed by colleagues. Our progress has given the Department critical mass and an international profile in each of its research clusters. The strategy for the next 6 years will be ensure that these clusters are nurtured and new activities established, in collaboration with other disciplines, where appropriate. These developments will be fostered by involvement in regional, national and international initiatives and through industrial collaborations. The Department is very well placed to play a leading role in new and recently established multidisciplinary research ventures, some of which have been highlighted, including: the Warwick Institute for Sustainable Energy and Resources (WISER), which incorporates activities in Hydrogen-Energy and, with the arrival of Jones, photovoltaics; WMCAM (with Physics and Birmingham); CSC; SB; MOAC; CS; the High Field Magnet Centre; the Centre for Mass Spectrometry; and a new campus-wide initiative on Targeted Therapeutics.
We plan to establish the Department as a major international research hub and have recently initiated a Visiting International Professorship programme which will bring world-leaders to the Department. Among the first cohort are Gellman (Wisconsin), Frechet (Berkeley) and Kern (Stuttgart). The latter is supported by the Warwick Institute of Advanced Study which promotes collaborative research projects of international calibre and profile. Richard Palmer (discoverer of cellular nitric oxide synthesis) has also recently joined the Department as an Honorary Professor.
The few months post the July 31 2007 census provide further significant evidence that the Department is particularly strongly placed for the future. Notably, the Department has led a successful £3.4M ESPRC Science and Innovation bid (with Physics and Statistics) to establish the Warwick Centre for Analytical Science (Director, Unwin, with at least 5 Chemistry academics involved), which will see new interdisciplinary academic positions in Mass Spectrometry (in Chemistry), Chemometrics and Experimental Design (Statistics) and Chemical and Structural Characterisation of Materials (in Physics). The MOAC DTC has received funding for another five intakes of students (8 years), from Oct 2008 (led by RodgerA, with the involvement of more than 10 Chemistry academics). Research income generation in the Department is on an upward trajectory with £3M raised in the year to Sept 2007 from research councils alone (£2M EPSRC). The CTA scheme is expanding, with some 17 students supported by EPSRC in partnership with UK industry at Oct 2007. We are seeking to increase further the number of independent research fellows and Hatton (Electronic Engineering, Surrey) will bring a Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowship to the Department early in 2008.
We shall continue to enhance effective multidisciplinary activities which have clearly been a distinctive cornerstone of Warwick research; the University has been one of the most successful in the UK, based on the major Science and Innovation and DTC grants that have been won. Bearing in mind that in 6 years’ time, about 40% of staff will still be under 45, and some 75% under 50, the prospect for sustained international leadership in Chemistry at Warwick is soundly-based. In partnership with the University we aim to grow postgraduate and postdoctoral numbers (target of 100% by 2015, coinciding with the University’s 50th anniversary), and there will be a concomitant increase in the number of Research Fellows and academic staff. The University has endorsed the major expansion of our state-of-the art laboratories to enable this growth, including the provision of new high quality space and leading-edge equipment. With the exciting opportunities outlined herein, the talented and enthusiastic staff, and the supportive research environment at Warwick, the Department looks to the future with great confidence.
These are presented by cluster, with staff listed in the order of the commentary above.
Shipman. 1. 15 invited lectures at international meetings; 28 seminars in the UK and abroad. 2. EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship (1999-2004); final report rated ‘Outstanding’. 3. Visiting Professor at University of Toronto, Canada (2006). 4. Strong partnerships with industry: 7 collaborative projects started [GSK, AstraZeneca, Syngenta, Novartis, Organon]; invited to deliver SCI “Hetero-Retro” short course for industrial chemists (2002, 2004 & 2007); 8 invited research talks to companies.
Wills. 1. Visiting Scholar at University of Sydney, 2006. 2. 7 invited lectures at international and UK conferences; 37 invited lectures at UK and overseas institutions, including Australia, Japan, Brazil, Germany, Ireland and the USA. 3. Scientific Advisory Panel member and session organiser for International Conference on Phosphorus Chemistry (ICCP), 2004. 4. Member of Board of Consulting Editors for Tetrahedron: Asymmetry.
Clark. 1. Invited by Zard to contribute to themed international edition of C. R. Acad. Sci. Ser IIc: Chim. 2001; 7 invited lectures at international and UK conferences, including Gordon conference. 2. Invited independent assessor of Chemistry for the Biopolymer Network of New Zealand and invited lecturer, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 2007. 3. Co-founded a2sp spin out company (3 patents) and co-founder of the EPSRC Vegetable Oil Polymer Network (VOPNET). 4. 2 EPSRC grants (EP/F016573/1 and EP/F015321/1, ca. £480k, won in June 2007).
TaylorPC. 1. Co-founder of a2sp. 2. Visiting Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College, supported by an EPSRC Discipline Hopping Award. 3. 'Expert of International Standing' for the Australian Research Council. 4. Invited lectures in 8 countries on 4 continents.
Fox. 1. EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow (2006 – 2011; £600k funding). 2. 7 patent applications; inventor of a new class of anti-inflammatory agents being taken into clinical trials. 3. Consultant and former Head of Chemistry of Funxional Therapeutics Ltd (start-up company with multi-million pound venture capital based on patents by Fox et al.). 4. Significant collaborations with Warren, Grainger and Spring (Cambridge).
Scott. 1. Chair of 2 EPSRC prioritisation panels, member of EPSRC Synthetic Chemistry Studentships Review Board and author of ‘Demystifying Peer Review’. 2. Consultant to 5 companies. 3. 12 invited lectures at international and UK meetings; 29 seminars in the UK and overseas. 4. Tetrahedron:Asymmetry Most Cited Paper 2003-2006 Award.
Rourke. 1. Visiting Professor at University of Lecce and visitor at UNSW. 2. Member of EPSRC Chemistry prioritisation panel. 3. RSC JWT Jones Fellowship. 4. Invited to review the field of platinum carbenes, carbonyls and isocyanides in Comprehensive Organometallic Chemistry (2006) and major co-author of the re-write of Shriver and Atkins’ Inorganic Chemistry, 2006.
Challis. 1. Meldola Medal and Prize, Royal Society of Chemistry (2002); Fleming Prize Lectureship of the Society of General Microbiology (2007); first recipient of the Wain Medal of the University of Kent for exceptional research at the Biology/Chemistry interface (2007). 2. Member of the organising committee of 4 international and national conferences. 3. 24 invitations to speak at international conferences and symposia; 6 lectures at overseas universities; 23 lectures at UK universities/national meetings 4. Appointed section editor for forthcoming issue of Current Opinion in Chemical Biology.
Bugg. 1. 2006 RSC Charmian Medal for Enzyme Chemistry. 2. Deputy Chair of the BBSRC BMS Committee 2002-2005; member of the BBSRC Integrative & Systems Biology Strategy Panel (2004-present); assessor for the DTI Technology Programme 2006. 3. Member of the Editorial Boards of Chemical Communications (until 2002) and Natural Product Reports; international advisory boards of 2 journals and 1 encyclopaedia. 4. 17 lectures at international and UK conferences, 21 lectures at overseas and UK universities.
Marsh. 1. Co-founder a2sp Limited and 3 UK patents submitted. 2. Visiting Fellowships with Dobson, FRS, Cambridge (2003) and Pedroso, Barcelona (2007). 3. Invited lectures include ACS 2001, International Polymer Synthesis, 2002; European lecture tour in 2007 of 3 universities and Biointerface Science Gordon Conference (France). 4. Member EPSRC College from 2006.
RodgerA 1. Principal investigator and Director of the MOAC DTC. 2. Visiting Professor Stanford University, 2005, 2007; Appointed Eminent Research Visitor, University of Western Sydney 2007-09. 3. 21 invited lectures at conferences and 12 at overseas universities. 4. Member of 8 EPSRC panels and the EPSRC Life Sciences Interface Strategic Advisory Team (2006-2007).
Dixon. 1. Winner of a highly competitive American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship (2003), a Cancer Research UK Postdoctoral Fellowship (2006) and a US Department of Defence (ORISE) Postdoctoral Fellowship (2001). 2. Secretary of the RSC Biophysical Chemistry Group (2006 - present). 3. Chair of organising committee for the Biophysical Chemistry Group / British Biophysical Society's Young Scientists Day (2006). 4. 8 lectures at national conferences and at US and UK universities.
Lochner. 1. 6 lectures at international conferences; 4 lectures at overseas/UK universities. 2. Competitively won postdoctoral research fellowship and advanced postdoctoral research fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation (2003–05). 3. Invitation to the Bürgenstock Conference on Stereochemistry and invited to write the conference report (M. Lochner, Chimia 2004, 58, 414-421). 4. Awarded EPSRC First Grant of £236k (June 2007); all referees rated the Quality and Level of Adventure as ‘Outstanding’.
Blindauer. 1. Royal Society Olga Kennard Fellowship (2004). 2. Award for the best paper in "Inorganic Chemistry - The Next Generation" issue in Inorg. Chim. Acta (2007). 3. 18 invited lectures overseas and in the UK, and 2 invitations to make presentations at Gordon Research Conferences. 4. Convener of a session on metalloproteins in the RSC/Wellcome Trust symposium on Chemical Biology (2004).
Sadler. 1. Election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS). 2. 36 plenary/keynote lectures at international conferences. 3. Chair of Royal Society of Edinburgh Sectional Committee for Chemistry and Earth Sciences; Member of University Research Fellowships Panel of the Royal Society of London. 4. Visiting Professorships: Chemical Research Center, Taiwan; University of Bari, Italy; University of Nanjing, China; University of Hong Kong; Marlies and Hans Zimmer International Scholar, University of Cincinnati.
Haddleton. 1. RSC 2006 Macro Group UK Medal and Chair of Macro Group for 2006-09, 2. Spin out of Warwick Effect Polymers; 2005 “RSC Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the year” and the 2005 Lord Stafford Award for “Best University Spin out Company”. 3. Editor in Chief of European Polymer Journal and member of the Editorial Boards of Chemical Communications, Journal of Polymer Science Polymer Chemistry and Soft Matter. 4. 31 invited lectures at international meetings and 26 lectures at universities/companies.
Bon. 1. Executive member of UK Polymer Colloids Forum (UKPCF), member of the IUPAC committee on “living and controlled polymerization” and coordinator of a COST D17 workgroup. 2. Member of the organising committee for Warwick 2002 and Warwick 2006, the largest polymer related conferences held in the UK; appointed Chair of the 2007 UKPCF International Conference on Polymer Colloids. 3. 23 invited lectures, including 2007 Gordon Conference on Polymer Colloids. 4. Strong industrial links, including invited lectures/courses at 7 companies.
Dove. 1. Elected to Recent Appointments in Polymer Science (RAPS) committee as Membership Secretary (2006) and Macro Group UK committee as bulletin officer (2006). 2. Member of the organising committees of 4 national and international meetings in 2006/07. 3. RCUK Fellow since Oct 2005, following postdoctoral positions at Stanford University and IBM (San Jose, Calif.). 4. 5 invited lectures since March 2006.
Turner. 1. Discovered π-d magnets, leading to international collaborations with groups in Japan, France and Spain. 2. Member of: the MAGMANet European Network of Excellence; Mag-Net, the UK Molecular Magnets Network; and the EU COST D35 action group on molecular magnets. 3. 11 lectures at international meetings and national venues. 4. Davy-Faraday Research Lab (DFRL) Research Fellow at the Royal Institution/UCL; member of the management committee for the DFRL and Honorary Research Fellow at UCL.
Walton. 1. Committee member of the RSC Solid State Chemistry Group, 2007- and the UK Synchrotron Radiation Source Facility Access Panel (Chemistry and Environment sub-panel) 2004-2008. 2. Appointed Visiting Professor, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, 2007. 3. Industrial collaboration with Johnson Matthey plc, including consultancy, and International Patent WO2006/030179 A1. 4. Invited lecture at 1st International Conference on Auxetics and Anomalous Systems and 8 other conference lectures.
Unwin. 1. RSC Corday-Morgan Medal and Prize (2001), Electrochemistry Communications Most Cited Paper Award (2002). 2. 25 invited international conference presentations in 12 countries (15 plenary and keynotes, including meetings in the USA, Japan, China, S. Korea). 3. Member of the organising or advisory committee of 12 international and national conferences and symposia, including Chair of Faraday Discussion 121 (Berlin) and 2 further Faraday Discussions. 4. Member of the international editorial boards of 3 journals, International Associate Editor of Analytical Sciences and editor of Vol 3 of Encyclopedia of Electrochemistry (Wiley).
Macpherson. 1. RSC/SCI McBain Medal, 2006 (inaugural winner); Times Higher Young Researcher 2005 (inaugural winner); RSC Marlow Medal 2005; SEAC Young Investigator Award 2003 (only winner based outside the USA). 2. 45 invited lectures at conferences and universities, including Electrochemistry Gordon Research Conference and Pittcon, USA. 3. Invited member of the International News and Features Panel of Analytical Chemistry (2007-) and guest editor of Journal of Microscopy (as co-organiser of UK SPM 2005). 4. Member of the Science Advisory Committee for the Institute of Physics Publishing and the COST Domain Committee on Chemistry and Molecular Sciences and Technologies.
Whitworth. 1. Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship (since 2004). 2. BP sponsorship of DH Fellowship. 3. Collaborations with Mandler (Jerusalem), the Penninsula Medical School and Medical Sciences at Leicester. 4. 5 presentations at UK workshops and international meetings.
Jones. 1. Expert witness to House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (2002-03). 2. Co-Chair and Programme Chair for the International Conference on Molecular Beam Epitaxy, Edinburgh, 2004 (over 400 delegates); Programme Committee for 5 international conferences. 3. Guest Editor, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics (PCCP) - Themed Issues on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (2006) and member of the International Review Board of PCCP (2005); Guest Editor, Journal of Crystal Growth - Proceedings of 13th International Conference on Molecular Beam Epitaxy (2005); Associate Editor, International Journal of Nanoscience. 4. 20 keynote and invited lectures at international conferences; 12 invited seminars.
Costantini. 1. 10 invited lectures at international conferences; 17 invited seminars at European institutions. 2. Co-founder of the Dodecon Nanotechnology GmbH. 3. Chair of the international workshop on Epitaxial Growth and Fundamental Properties of Semiconductor Nanostructures, Bonassola, Italy, 2006. 4. Collaborations with 18 scientists in the USA, Canada and Europe.
Drewello. 1. Member of the Editorial Board of European Journal of Mass Spectrometry. 2. Visiting Professor in the Physics Department at the Technical University Berlin (2007). 3. Collaborations with 24 scientists in the USA, Canada and Germany. 4. 5 invited lectures, including the fullerenes section of the Electrochemical Society (Paris, 2003).
Derrick. 1. 2007 RSC Industrially-sponsored award in mass spectrometry. 2. Editor-in-Chief and Founder, European Journal of Mass Spectrometry. 3. 14 keynote lectures at international conferences. 4. Member of the Bruker Scientific Advisory Board.
Stavros. 1. Royal Society University Research Fellow (2005-2010). 2. Visiting Research Fellow, University of California, Berkeley (2006-). 3. Recipient of a £500k EPSRC research grant to establish an ultrafast photochemistry and photobiology centre in the Department (2006). 4. 8 invited lectures in the UK and overseas, including Stanford Research Institute.
TaylorPR. 1. Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. 2. Invitations to speak at 24 international meetings; Director of the European Summer Schools in Quantum Chemistry (2007-). 3. Member of EPSRC's HECToR Project Working Group and the Technology Watch Panel. 4. Editor of Journal of Computer Physics Communications (until 2005); member of the Editorial Board of Progress in Theoretical Chemistry and Physics.
Walsh. 1. 9 invited lectures at conferences (including CERC3 in Porto 2003, and Foundations of Nanoscience 2007 in Salt Lake City); 12 invited seminars (including Oak Ridge National Labs and University of Washington, Seattle). Instigator and co-organiser of CECAM workshop Modelling the Interaction of Biomolecules with Inorganic Surfaces, Lyon 2007. 2. Visiting Fellowships at Deakin University (Australia), 2005, and University of Washington (USA), 2006. 3. Glasstone Fellow, Oxford (2001-2002). 4. Served on 2 EPSRC Cross-Service Review Panels (2005 and 2007), 2 LSI Postdoctoral Fellowship Panels (2006 and 2007), and a Chemistry Prioritisation Panel (2007).
RodgerPM. 1. 4 visiting professorships at universities on 3 different continents. 2. Executive/Advisory committee member of 6 major European Scientific Organisations and 1 Research Centre. 3. Consultancies with 3 multinational companies. 4. 10 invited talks at international conferences, 9 overseas seminars, 9 invited talks to industry.
Troisi. 1. RSC Marlow Medal 2007. 2. 5 invited lectures at international conferences (including 2 Gordon Research Conferences in USA) and 10 international seminars (including Brown Univ., Duke Univ., Virginia Tech.). 3. Session Chair of the symposium Theory of Molecular Junctions ACS spring meeting 2006. 4. External examiner for international higher degrees: Licentiate thesis (R.I.T., Stockholm) and nominated PhD examiner at TU Eindoven. Deeth. 1. Secretary/Treasurer RSC Inorganic Reaction Mechanisms Discussion Group 2002-2004; Member of Dalton Council, 2001-2005. 2. 10 invited lectures and 4 presentations at international conferences. 3. Appointed course leader, Graduate College 850 Summer School, University of Heidelberg, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007. 4. External examiner for 4 PhD theses outside the UK (Stockholm University, Pierre et Marie Curie University, the University of Copenhagen and University of Bergen).
Jenkins. 1. Invitation from Neil Bartlett to deliver lecture at ACS Fall 2002 meeting. 2. Invited to give tutorial on theoretical developments of volume based thermodynamics at PacifiChem 2005. 3. Active collaborations across three continents, including Christie (Florida), Dixon (Alabama), Glasser (Perth), Liebman (Maryland), Passmore (New Brunswick) and Schrobilgen (McMaster) 4. Consultant for the Lattice Energy Section of Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, CRC Press.