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1 million grant success for Chemistry - innovative synthesis: Culture and Entrepreneurship in Chemistry

The EU programme InterReg IVa has boosted graduate student training in "Innovative Organic Synthesis" with a grant of over 6.5 million Euros.

This grant links the two largest UK university chemistry departments (UEA and Southampton) in the coastal Trans-Manche region with chemists of universities of the Normandy Institute for Molecular, Medicinal and Macromolecular Chemistry (Caen, Rouen, le Havre).

The focus is synthetic organic chemistry. Organic chemistry research groups in CAP will be joined by 19 additional PhD and MSc students, plus 15 visiting PhD students from Normandy as the INTERREG project progresses.The first cohort of InterReg students will start their research in October 2009. This injection of over £1 million will give organic synthesis in the School a timely boost.

The project was initiated and is being led by Richard Stephenson, who has been a visiting professor at the Université de Caen. The participating universities have collaborated since the 1990s by hosting international conferences to promote organic chemistry in the region. The new grant, however, takes organic chemistry at UEA in a new direction by integrating research skills with international partners to provide a training environment for organic synthesis that matches the best in the UK.

Over 30 French academic research groups are participating in the project, and many of these scientists will visit UEA during the 5 years of the programme. Cooperation in research and teaching at graduate level will be strengthened by this development. UEA hosts the first meeting of the steering group of this new programme on the 23 March, which will be followed by a joint Scientific Congress and Launch Ceremony in Caen in May which will bring together research groups from Caen, Rouen, le Havre, Norwich and Southampton.