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Research Areas

The Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews have formed EaStCHEM, the leading Chemistry research school in Scotland, and the largest in the UK.

EaStCHEM ranks second in the ‘Power Table’ (out of 35), with Oxford’s Chemistry department narrowly taking the top spot, albeit with a slightly larger research School. EaStCHEM is ranked above Cambridge’s Chemistry department (3rd), University College London (5th) and Imperial College London (7th) in the Power Table.

95% of our research is classed as world leading or internationally excellent and the EaStCHEM research School has grown to over 80 academics (99% of which were submitted to REF), a testament to both the breadth and strength of our research. 100 % of our research environment, which includes factors such as our facilities, grant income, and awards and prizes, is rated as 4* or 3*, and more than 95 % of our research papers submitted for the exercise have been rated as 4* or 3*.

EaStCHEM is equipped with a wide range of state of the art facilities and instrumentation.

The Schools of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews have an international research reputation across the broad range of activities listed below.

The Chemistry/Biology Interface

Researcher with chemicals

The Chemistry/Biology Interface area is broad, with particular strengths in the areas of protein structure and function, mechanistic enzymology, proteomics, biologically targeted synthesis, the application of high throughput and combinatorial approaches and biophysical chemistry, which focuses on the development and application of physicochemical techniques to biological systems.

Experimental and Theoretical Chemical Physics

Chemical Physics is the fundamental study of molecular properties and processes. Areas of expertise include probing molecular structure in the gas phase, clusters and nanoparticles, the development and application of physicochemical techniques such as mass spectoscropy to molecular systems and the EaStCHEM surface science group, who study complex molecules on surfaces, probing the structure property-relationships employed in heterogeneous catalysis. A major feature is In Silico Scotland, a world class research computing facility.

Molecular Synthesis and Catalysis

Flasks on a bench

Molecular synthesis encompasses the synthesis and characterisation at ambient and extreme conditions of organic and inorganic compounds, including those with application in homogeneous catalysis, nanotechnology, supramolecular chemistry, drug discovery and ligand design. The development of innovative synthetic and characterisation methodologies (particularly in structural chemistry) is a key feature.

Materials Chemistry

Structures on a substrate

The EaStCHEM Materials Chemistry group is one the largest materials and macromolecular chemistry groups in the UK. Areas of strength include the design, synthesis and characterisation of functional polymers and macrostructures and strongly correlated electronic materials, battery and fuel cell materials and devices, porous solids, materials at extreme pressures and temperatures, polymer microarray technologies and technique development for materials and nanomaterials analysis.

Many academics are involved in more than one research area and this breadth of activity is also indicated in our research interactions with other disciplines such as Physics, Biology, Materials Science, Geosciences and Engineering.