Weetwood Hall Conference Centre & Hotel, Leeds, 19-20 May 2015
“Making Molecules to Make Materials” was a two-day event jointly organised by the ESPRC Dial-a-Molecule and Directed Assembly Grand Challenge Networks. The event was designed to bring together Early Career Researchers from across the two Networks to discuss research, learn about funding opportunities and form research collaborations in areas relevant to the Grand Challenges.
Day One began with an entertaining lecture from Prof Chick Wilson (University of Bath) who described the path his research had taken, “From structure to crystallisation and manufacturing: A journey from fundamentals to flow”. This was followed by the highlight of the meeting for most, 3 minute flash presentations where the delegates had the chance to tell each other about the research they are currently involved in, and their 5-year outlook, or DREAMS for the future.
Dr John Leonard (Royal Society of Chemistry Industry Associate) began the afternoon Industry Session, speaking on “Industry/Academia Partnerships: Opportunities to collaborate in a rapidly changing world”. He was followed by representatives from Lilly, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Syngenta, GSK, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Domainex who each described the activities their companies are involved with, and detailed specific collaborative opportunities.
Prof Ian Fairlamb (University of York) kicked off Day Two by explaining “Why fundamental mechanistic studies in catalysis matter: a perspective on Pd-catalysed cross-coupling” and was followed by Dr Sarah McLusky (Royal Society of Chemistry) who gave a very insightful and thought provoking talk on “Public Engagement: Why? Who? How?” The formal program was concluded by presentations from Gary Townley (Intellectual Property Office) who described “The value of intellectual property”, and Dr Stuart Cantrill (Nature Chemistry) who gave a lively account of “The Nature of chemistry publishing”
The meeting was attended by 34 Early Career Researchers from 24 different research institutes around the UK. The combined interests of the delegates showcased the diverse and multidisciplinary areas needed to contribute towards realising both Grand Challenges. The enthusiasm shown by the delegates throughout the meeting, coupled with the high quality research and overall positive outlook bodes well for future of UK research directed towards problems identified by the Grand Challenges!