Catalysis is a core area of contemporary science posing major fundamental and conceptual challenges, while being at the heart of the chemical industry - an immensely successful and important part of the overall UK economy (generating in excess of £50 billion per annum). UK catalytic science currently has a strong presence, but there is intense competition in both academic and industrial sectors, and a need for UK industrial activity to shift towards new innovative areas posing major challenges for the future. In light of these challenges the UK Catalysis Hub endeavours to become a leading institution, both nationally and internationally, in the field and acts to coordinate, promote and advance the UK catalysis research portfolio. With a strong emphasis on effective use of the world-leading facilities on the RAL campus.
The project has four mature themes and a fifth theme starting in 2015 , each with a lead investigator as PI – Catalysis by Design (Catlow); Energy (Hardacre); Environment (Hutchings); Chemical Transformations (Davidson) and the new Biocatalysis and Biotransformations (Nick Turner Manchester) – with the design theme based in the Harwell hub.
Each theme is supported by £3 - 3.5M EPSRC funding over 5 years and within each theme there are typically six to eight sub-projects funded initially for 2 years, involving collaborative teams working at a variety of sites throughout the UK. Professor Hutchings acts as director of the whole national programme for the first three year period and chairs the management group, which is supported by a steering group and an industrial advisory panel. We note that engagement with industry is one of the key aims of the catalysis hub project.
As well as hosting the design theme, the centre within the Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH) will coordinate the programme, be a base for national and international visitors and provide both training and outreach activities.
The UK Catalysis Hub has five main themes of research:
Led by Professor Richard Catlow
Catalysis for Energy:
Catalysis for Chemical Transformations:
Led by Professor Matthew Davidson
Led by Professor Graham Hutchings
Bio Catalysis and BioTransformations :
Led by Professor Nick Turner