Synthetic Chemistry Academic – Industrial Ideas Exchange

Synthetic Chemistry Academic – Industrial Ideas Exchange

EPSRC Dial-a-Molecule Network and Chemical Synthesis Industries Consortium


Date: 25-26 September 2017

Venue: Imperial College London, Elec Eng 407A+B

The event comprised discussion groups and workshops to identify research topics that are of mutual interest to industrial and academic partners and that could be developed into tangible projects.  We aimed to develop funding strategies and identify project partners to develop viable proposals that are capable of attracting significant levels of research funding.

Aims of the Event:

  1. To promote greater academic engagement with industrially-relevant pre-competitive research;
  2. To leverage support and funding for grant applications;
  3. Promote dialogue between governmental and industrial funders;
  4. Team-building – Connecting academic and industrial partners in areas of research where there is mutual interest and complimentary expertise.

Outline Structure of the Meeting:

Day 1 – Focus on Strategy

Background and Opportunities – Short presentations followed by an open discussion

  1. EPSRC perspective on support for synthetic chemistry/Dial-a-Molecule Grand Challenge and associated areas. To include the latest thinking/strategy on Research Grants; CDTs; Studentships; Impact Acceleration Grants and other funding options and on how industry can support can help our sector to succeed.
  2. Chemistry KTN/ Innovate UK to provide a perspective on government’s industrial strategy and mechanisms for support.
  3. ChemSInC representatives to provide and industry perspective on precompetitive research, including an overview of the current industrial funding landscape: Industry supported research projects; CDTs; CASE-type collaborations; and the objectives and challenges of the growing CRO/SME sector.

Open discussion on opportunities and options for collaborative projects, to include:

  • Potential funding mechanisms and ways to leverage funding;
  • Ways to build partnerships with relevant contributors and an appropriate number of partners;
  • Project resources and the skills base – PhD studentships vs postdocs;
  • Funding calls vs responsive mode applications;
  • Different opportunities of Research Council, IUK and EU funding mechanisms.


Identifying areas where collaboration can add value – Matching industry challenges with academic expertise.

Short pitches – 10 mins max – alternating Industry Academics

  • Industrial representatives outlined broad industry challenges where academic inputs may be transformative;
  • Academics suggested pre-competitive study areas that could be developed and could lead to useful insights for industry.
  • Started to define tangible themes for funding bids and identify ‘theme leads’

Evening: Informal networking

Informal discussions about potential pre-competitive research topics that are of mutual interest to both industry and academic partners.

Day 2 – Developing Science into Projects:

  1. Review of emerging research themes

Agreed on the themes that have emerged as having potential for the development of collaborative project proposals

  1. Identification of Theme Leads and potential collaborators

Defined a shortlist of topics for future collaborations with interested partners and nominated a Lead for each project

  1. Cohort building

Split into parallel discussion groups, headed by theme leads, to discuss key challenges for each research topic and possible funding strategies.

  1. Collate the feedback from discussions

Suggested further actions and next steps for each identified topic area.

  1. Suggested follow-up events and/or activities


Event Organisers:

Mimi Hii

John Leonard