Annual Meeting, Liverpool: Transforming Chemical Synthesis

Dial-a-Molecule Annual Meeting 2017

Transforming Chemical Synthesis

When: 21st June 2017

Where: Liverpool; The Foresight Centre, 1 Brownlow St, Liverpool L69 3GL

Meeting report:

Around 100 people gathered in Liverpool on 21st June for Transforming Chemical Synthesis, the 2017 Annual meeting of the Dial-a-Molecule Meeting.

Attendees were treated to a great set of talks, looking at how we can push the boundaries of chemical synthesis and also took advantage of the networking opportunities provided by the event.

Presentations from Lee Cronin, Steve Hilton, Varinder Aggarwal and Andy Cooper covered the connected laboratory, intelligent autonomous systems, 3D printing, molecular assembly lines and computationally led design of functional molecules, demonstrating just how much is possible by forward looking and creative groups. Coleen Robinson highlighted the importance of engaging the end-user in the design and selection of automated equipment options, in order to enable uptake of these tools, whilst Mimi Hii introduced the concept of a Dial-a-Molecule Grand Challenge Institute providing widely accessible, state-of-the art equipment and expertise to accelerate the progress and capability of UK synthetic chemistry. In the final session Patrick Courtney and Bill Whittingham gave us insights into Future Opportunities, both from the European perspective and in terms of priorities for industry. The day was completed with flash presentations from ECRs and an exhibition.

A number of speakers have kindly provided their presentations for publication – please click on the links below:



Towards the digitisation of chemistry & autonomous chemical synthesis
Prof. Lee Cronin, University of Glasgow

3D printing in the Catalysis of Batch and Flow Reactions
Dr. Steve Hilton, University College London

Assembly Line Synthesis
Prof. Varinder Aggarwal, University of Bristol

Engaging Scientists in the Adoption of Automation
Coleen Robinson, AstraZeneca

Functional Materials Design & the Materials Innovation Factory
Prof. Andy Cooper, University of Liverpool

Dial-a-Molecule Institute
Prof. Mimi Hii, Imperial College London

Future Opportunities; The European Perspective
Dr. Patrick Courtney; tec-connection

Future Opportunities – The industry Perspective – Top Ten Priorities that will transform synthesis
Dr. Bill Whittingham, Syngenta

In addition there were some excellent Flash presentations:

Light As an Enabling Tool in Synthesis
Dr Susannah Coote, Lancaster University

Harnessing the reactivity of arynes
Dr. Chris Jones, Queen Mary University of London

Artificial receptors for the discrimination of epigenetically modified lysines
Dr. Tobias Gruber, University of Lincoln

Design by Numbers
Dr. Marc Reid, University of Strathclyde

Metal-Organic Frameworks in Seconds via Microwave Heating
Dr Andrea Laybourn, University of Nottingham

Catalytic Transformations of π-Arene Ruthenium Complexes: Trifluoromethylation, C­-H Activation and SNAr
Dr. James Walton, University of Durham

Methodology: Understood
Dr. Liam Ball, University of Nottingham

Catalytic Construction of Quaternary Carbon Centres: Exploring New Areas of 3D Chemical Space

Dr. Vil Franckevicius, Lancaster University

Dial-the-next-molecule: different approaches to molecule recommendation

Aileen Day, Royal Society of Chemistry


Following the success of this 1-day meeting, we intend to return to a 2-day format for the Annual Meeting in 2018.


We would like to thank our sponsors and exhibitors:




Syrris –

Vapourtec –

Uniqsis –

Amigo Chem –

Advion –

Radleys –

Chemspeed –