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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L015366/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Chemical Synthesis
Principal Investigator: Clayden, Professor J
Other Investigators:
Aggarwal, Professor VK Gallagher, Professor T Turner, Dr E M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Amri Global Argenta Discovery Ltd AstraZeneca
AWE GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) Novartis
Pfizer Scientific Update Stevens Hewlett & Perkins
Syngenta Vertex Pharmaceuticals vulpine science and learning
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 April 2014 Ends: 31 March 2023 Value (£): 5,330,053
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Asymmetric Chemistry Biological & Medicinal Chem.
Chemical Synthetic Methodology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Oct 2013 EPSRC CDT 2013 Interviews Panel N Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The traditional PhD programme begins with a student seeking out a PhD position early on in their final year of

undergraduate study. The time elapsed between a student choosing their project and actually starting is generally between

6-8 months - can a student really be sure that the right choice has been made under these circumstances? This choice is

probably the most important decision an aspiring professional researcher can make, yet students can make ill informed,

naive or simply unsuitable PhD choices based on their perceived interests and limited research experience.

Bristol Chemical Synthesis (BCS) is a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) that offers a different and much enhanced PhD

training experience to the traditional path. Crucially, students join the Centre in October but do not choose their PhD

research project until 7-months later. Students spend these 7-months completing a unique, multifaceted training period

called Postgraduate Advanced Chemical Techniques (PACT). The over-arching goal of PACT is to equip the students with

the tools required to make the best-informed PhD project choice, to develop a creative attitude towards problem solving

and to build self-confidence with presentations and by speaking publicly. PACT also provides a formal assessment

mechanism before students progress to their PhD projects. Brainstorming involves the students generating ideas on outline

research proposals which they then present to the staff members in a lively and engaging feedback session, which

invariably sees new and student-driven ideas emerge. By encouraging teamwork and presentation skills, as well as

allowing students to become fully engaged with the projects and staff, brainstorming ensures that students take control of a

PhD proposal before they start - 'Partners not Slaves' is our vision. Research Broadening Sabbaticals comprise three

successive 7-week lab rotations designed to include a period of "known" work, enabling the student to practice new skills

required for further research. Rotations are important in giving students the opportunity to learn new techniques beyond

their undergraduate experience, providing them with time to consider and reflect on their choice of PhD by offering "tasters"

in different areas of synthetic chemistry. Dynamic Laboratory Manual (DLM) enabled experiments allow students to

experience an interactive, virtual version of an essential experimental technique. Pioneered at the undergraduate level at

Bristol, DLMs consist of a mixture of simulations, videos, tutorials and quizzes to allow the student to gain a full

understanding of a technique and learn from mistakes quickly, effectively and safely before entering the lab.

Chemical Synthesis is an area upon which much of modern society relies as it enables the customised fabrication of

products that are the essential materials of our daily lives. Examples are wide and diverse from vital life saving drugs to the

chromic materials that make your iPad screen change in an instant. There are 15 key UK industry sectors in which

chemistry is an essential component, employing over 5 million people and contributing £258bn (21%) to the UK's GDP.

Pharma, agrochem, petrochem, fine & bulk chemical manufacturing and CRO industries are major players in these

industries and UK competitiveness here is unsustainable without the continued supply of highly trained & skilled chemical

synthesis PhD graduates. Our Centre will train the next generation of synthetic chemistry architects equipped to solve the

diverse molecular problems of the future.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk