ECR Meeting 2019

Dial-a-Molecule and Directed Assembly Networks ECR Event
Supporting Synthesis and Self Assembly

When: 4-5thJuly, 2019

Where:  University of York, Chemistry Department

The 4th Early Career Researchers’ meeting of the Dial-a-Molecule and Directed Assembly EPSRC Grand Challenge networks took place on the 4thand 5thof July 2019, at the University of York.

For the first time, the initial session of the event was a joint session with the Dial-a-Molecule Annual Meeting and comprised stellar talks from Prof Marty Burke (Illinois) and Prof Adam Nelson (Leeds). Many of the attendees at Annual Meeting then stayed on to hear 2 minute flash talks presented by most of the ECRs by way of introduction – the topics varied widely reflecting the diversity of interests at the meeting and triggering the prospect of potential future collaborations. The formal sessions on day one were brought to a close by Dr Sarah Staniland (Sheffield) who gave a great talk on her work and included some personal reflections on career progression.

The second day of the meeting focussed on academic-industry relationships, collaboration building and equality, diversity and inclusivity in chemistry. There were perspectives from Allan Watson (St. Andrews), Mei Lee (GSK) and Rob Davidson (Dr Reddy’s) on different ways for academia and industry to work together. Anna Slater (Liverpool) gave an overview of a project she had been involved with through Vitae on the ‘Experience of researchers taking maternity, paternity, adoption and/or parental leave’, whilst Dave Smith talked through the key findings in the recently issued report ‘Exploring the workplace for LGBT+ physical scientists’ – both excellent pieces of evidence based research with recommendations on how the workplace needs to change. The sessions included lively discussions confirming the high level of interest of the topics to the audience.

As well as scientific and career based discussions there was ample time for networking during the breaks and there was a wide ranging exhibition on show. However the highlight of the networking aspect of the event was a drinks reception and dinner together with speakers from the Dial-a-Molecule Annual Meeting, held at the National Railway Museum in York – a number of delegates discovered a love of trains that they didn’t know they had!

Comments from delegates include
‘I’d like to single out Allan Watson’s discussion of academic-industrial partnerships as being particularly useful – it is rare to get insight into this from an ECR perspective rather than from either the industrial side of things or from a more established researcher who is involved in a much larger-scale collaboration.’

‘Allowed me to see links between the experiences of females with respect to maternity leave and LGBT+ colleagues, something I hadn’t considered/realised previously’

‘This provided a very important opportunity for networking with fellow ECRs and was a thoroughly enjoyable and valuable experience’

‘Great. Ample time for networking, structured talks, plenty of exhibitors to engage with also’

Available Presentations:

Academia-Industry Partnerships: An Industrial Perspective, Mei Lee, GSK

Academia-Industry Partnerships, Allan Watson, University of St. Andrews.

Diversity and Inclusivity in Science, Dr Anna Slater, University of Liverpool.

No Sexuality Please, We’re Scientists, Prof. David Smith, University of York.


We are very grateful to the sponsors of the ECR event whose generous support allows us to run the meeting with a very low registration fee for attendees.

AstraZeneca –


Asynt –

Biotage –

Buchi –

Chemspeed –

GPE Scientific –



Mettler-Toledo –

Radleys –

Royal Society of Chemistry –

Shimadzu –

SpringerNature Communications Chemistry –

Teledyne –

Unchained Labs –

Uniqsis –