Dial-a-Molecule builds on three interrelated themes providing a co-ordinated approach to addressing the Grand Challenge “How to make molecules in days, not years”. The themes are further subdivided into focus areas.
To achieve the Dial-a-Molecule goals, synthesis needs to increasingly become a data driven discipline that makes full use of the revolution in computing and automation that has taken place in the past 20 years. This theme encompasses how synthesis should be performed and the prediction of which reactions to use. The theme has been subdivided into four interdependent focus areas, with an emphasis on collection, sharing and exploitation of reaction data.
The ability to make any molecule at will, inexpensively and on a meaningful timescale is at the heart of the Dial-a-Molecule vision and will unlock hitherto unimagined opportunities for future scientific advance against different applications. Although it is possible to make most molecules if given sufficient time and resource, synthesis remains as a bottleneck in key fields such as healthcare, agrochemistry, molecular electronics and other emerging fields. The step change required to achieve this has been subdivided into 2 areas of focus.
- Perfect and reliable reactions to enable linear synthesis
- Generating maximum value from every synthetic step
Catalysis is already playing a significant role in delivering more sustainable synthetic methods and will be central in addressing the Grand Challenge. Recent advances in metallo-, organo- and biocatalysis have opened up many new pathways for synthesis. Notwithstanding, many challenges for the development of modern catalysis remain, including robustness and scope of methodology, environmental acceptability, timescales for reduction to practice and security of supply. Three subdivided focus areas have been defined to direct the required research.