Five postdocs: Dr Kai Wang is working on neptunium chemistry. Dr Brad Cowie is working on new actinyl chemistry and C-H/C-element bond activation, funded by an NSERC fellowship. Dr Amy Price and Dr Tatsumi Ochiai are working on f-block structure and bonding and small molecule activation chemistry, funded by the EPSRC and a JSPS fellowship. Dr Rory Kelly is working on the ERC (European Research Council) funded project studying subtle ligand and reagent interactions with organo-f-block complexes.

Nine PhD students: Ryan Kerr, Connor Halliday, Stephen Gray, and Paul Ewing are part of the EPSRC-funded Criticat CDT (Centre for Doctoral Training) in sustainable catalysis, and supported in part by the UK catalysis hub. Ryan and Paul are working in collaboration with Andrew Smith in St Andrews on catalytic metal-N-heterocyclic carbene bond activation chemistry, and working on in the EaStCHEMcollaborative catalysis programme . Connor is working alongside Laura Puig, Megan Seymour, and Francis Lam on the use of chelating O-donor ligands that incorporate stabilising arene interactions for small molecule activation chemistry (hydrocarbons, CO, CO2, and N2 activation and catalysis), also funded by the ERC Advanced grant. Jamie Purkis is funded by the UK National Nuclear Laboratory on catalytic C-H bond functionalisation chemistry using uranyl complexes. Some of the actinide chemistry is carried out in the Actinide research lab of the EU Joint Research Centre for Nuclear safety and security, in Karlsruhe, Germany.


PLA: Recent CV. Polly holds the Crum Brown Chair of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. She took her degrees at Oxford and Sussex, and was a Fulbright postdoctoral fellow at MIT before returning to the UK to a lectureship in 1999. Her research is focused on exploratory synthetic chemistry, specifically the design and synthesis of metal compounds that can activate small, traditionally unreactive molecules such as carbon oxides and hydrocarbons, with the ultimate goal of developing these into innovative catalytic transformations. By working with some of the heaviest and most reactive metals, including uranium and lighter transuranic elements, new fundamental knowledge is gained that can help with understanding the behavior of nuclear wastes.

Polly has received a variety of awards and prizes including the RSC Wilkinson prize in 2018, the Lord Kelvin Medal 2017, which is the senior prize for the physical sciences awarded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Seaborg Lectureship 2015 (UC Berkeley, USA), and the Royal Society's Rosalind Franklin award in 2012. She made the film 'A Chemical Imbalance', a call to action for simple changes to achieve equality of opportunity in science, and was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours last year for her contributions to chemistry and women in STEM.

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