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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K039245/1
Title: Chemistry at Birmingham: a Response to the EPSRC Call: Core Capability for Chemistry Research
Principal Investigator: Simpkins, Professor NS
Other Investigators:
Bunch, Professor J Anderson, Dr P Slater, Professor P
Preece, Professor JA Britton, Dr M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Chemistry
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 January 2013 Ends: 31 March 2013 Value (£): 905,932
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science Chemical Structure
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The overarching objective of the proposal is to enhance the research activities of the staff of the School of Chemistry (SoC) at the University of Birmingham (UoB), through the acquisition of new equipment. The items of equipment sought include a travelling-wave ion mobility mass spectrometer (IM-MS) with both matrix assisted laser desorption ionisation (MALDI) and electrospray ionisation capabilities, a multinuclear diffusion probe for 300 MHz NMR microimaging system (micro-MRI), with 1H and X-nucleus capability (i.e. 19F, 31P), and two X-ray diffraction instruments to analyse both crystalline and non-crystalline samples.

This equipment will powerfully enable a range of diverse research within the SoC, and involving many collaborations in academia and industry. The research supported falls under the SoC banner of Chemistry for Health and Sustainability, which maps onto global issues, and in turn forms crucial parts of the research agenda for EPSRC. In particular, our priorities map onto priority areas of EPSRC Research Themes including Manufacturing the Future, Energy, and Healthcare Technologies, and also the Physical Sciences Grand Challenge, Dial-a-Molecule.

The investment is underpinned by committed financial support from the UoB (£530k), and is part of an extended programme of investment in staff (10 new appointees since 2007) and infrastucture, where detailed plans are in place for a £30m refurbishment of the Haworth building - the home of Chemistry at the UoB.

Research supported by our equipment bid spans:

(i) Chemical and Biomedical Imaging, where the proposed instruments will enable pioneering research in imaging and ion chemistry, and will underpin research and training in our EPSRC doctoral training centre (DTC). The science strongly aligns with EPSRC priority areas in Healthcare Technologies, including dynamic imaging in a biomedical context, for example involving imaging drug distribution in tissues, and probing the interactions of small molecules (including novel drugs) with biomolecular receptors, like proteins or DNA. All of the equipment we are seeking to procure will have an immediate impact on our various cohorts of postgraduate students. In particular they will be available to students enrolled through the University of Birmingham chemical science based Doctoral Training Centres (PSIBS - Physical Sciences of Imaging in the Biological Systems and Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and their Applications). Both DTCs will be able to deliver even higher quality PhD Graduates to help meet the growing demand in the UK in the biotechnology and low carbon energy technologies with ths equipment investment.

(ii) Synthesis and Catalysis - where our research contributes to the EPSRC grand challenge, Dial-a-Molecule, and key activities correspond closely to priority areas earmarked by EPSRC Shaping Capability for growth in support, ranging from drug delivery to catalysis. Synthesis projects are focused on the development of new chemistry that provides access to high value intermediates for industry, for example using transition metal catalysis, organocatalysis, and cascade reactions. Supramolecular chemistry, chemical biology, medicinal chemistry, and synthesis of sensors, probes and nanoparticles, are also important areas.

(iii) Materials Chemistry and Energy - includes research in many important areas under the Energy banner, and highlighted by EPSRC Shaping Capability as growth areas, including energy storage and improving energy efficiency. Our research spans hydrogen storage, new materials for batteries, fuel cells, novel nanomaterials, nuclear and solar cell research. This work is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative, and is underpinned by the UoB DTC in hydrogen fuel cells.

Key Findings
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk