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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N02320X/1
Title: Expanding the Boundaries in Main Group Chemistry: New Boranes for Novel Reactivity
Principal Investigator: Melen, Professor R
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Cardiff University
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 01 February 2016 Ends: 31 January 2017 Value (£): 99,532
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Chemical Synthetic Methodology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Dec 2015 EPSRC Physical Sciences Chemistry - December 2015 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This research program aims to exploit the PI's vast expertise in main group chemistry in the development of boron compounds, and thus drive a broad range of important (catalytic) chemical transformations to develop key organic building blocks. Such developments will have the potential to impact directly on major societal issues; Energy, Green Chemistry and Health.

Our everyday lives are heavily reliant on hi-tech organic materials, whether these be for our day-to-day technological needs such as organic light emitting diodes (e.g. in mobile phone displays) and organic field effect transistors, or for next-generation designer drugs to treat cancer or other chronic illnesses. With the continuing emergence of Developing Countries seeking both improved healthcare and technology, global demand for such specialty materials is likely to rise exponentially, thus increasing the pressure to identify and utilise energy efficient production methods. At the same time, increasing energy costs have led us to face the new reality of a potential deterioration in our current standard of living as the price of consumer goods continues to rise. In order to combat such issues, alternative energy sources must be identified and new energy/cost-efficient methods must be sought to meet global demand while minimising the environmental impact.

Relating to this, catalysts assist in converting cheaper bulk chemicals to higher value products via lower energy pathways whilst themselves remaining unchanged at the end of the reaction. However, many catalysts are based on rare and expensive 'precious metals' (e.g. Pd, Pt, Ir) whose supply is limited. The successful development of alternative catalysts is one of the largest global challenges for the next decade and is a highly attractive field of research. Recently, there has been a renaissance in 'main group' chemistry for the generation of alternative systems for catalysis. This has the potential to serve as a lower cost, environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to traditional metal-catalysed industrial processes. This program aims to exploit the reactivity of boron in catalytic hydrogenation reactions, one of the most useful reactions in academia and industry that is currently dominated by precious metal catalysts. Such reactions are highly important to the global economy and to sustainable chemistry.

In addition, boron containing molecules have been shown to have profound applications in organic synthesis and in the manufacture and production of fine chemicals (pharmaceuticals), organic electronics, agrochemicals inter alia. The use of organoboranes has had a huge impact on the molecular assembly of new compounds such as in the formation of new carbon-carbon bonds (cross-coupling reactions), and led to Akira Suzuki sharing the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for "palladium-catalysed cross couplings in organic synthesis". Yet new, clean and energy/atom-efficient methods to create organoboranes for applications in bond forming reactions are still desirable. The boron compounds developed in this proposal will also be tested in synthetic transformations to develop innovative routes to access organoboron reagents and complex organic compounds in a single step.

Key Findings
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