Smart Synthesis

Synthesis is at the core of chemistry. Whether you want to have a sample of a particular compound, answer a chemical question, or produce a material with specific properties, synthesis is the process by which you will achieve these aims.

Improving the science - and art - of synthesis is thus central to advancing the field of chemistry. 

Advances in synthesis enable the discovery of new classes of compounds, the production of new materials, and can allow better access to useful molecules. Work on synthesis in the school spans the field. From the utilitarian challenge of preparing a desired molecule in a simple, fast and efficient way, to designing molecules to probe or test specific questions, through to exploring ‘chemical space’ for new molecular motifs and reactivity, we have research groups active in all areas.

Particular areas of focus include:

  • Sustainable synthesis of molecules, materials and polymers.
  • The development of sustainable catalytic methods for synthesis.
  • Biomimetic natural product synthesis.
  • The development of new molecular magnetic materials.
  • The development of new main-group molecules, catalysts, and materials.
  • Predicting regioselectivity in chemical reactions.
  • Applications of high pressure in synthesis.

The coordinator for this theme is Dr Michael Cowley. Any general enquiries should be directed to For more specific enquiries please refer to the members list below.

Smart Synthesis Staff