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Process Research and Development

PGR-RA-108

Expertise of research area
Chemical manufacture; continuous processing; green chemistry; photochemistry; self-optimisation of reactions; Catalysis; reactor design


<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

This group develops new technologies to support the development of chemical processes from laboratory to manufacturing scale. This involves new chemical technologies (catalysis, photochemistry, electrochemistry), reaction understanding (physical organic chemistry), new reactor design (eg continuous flow processing) and new optimisation processes (including self-optimisation algorithms).

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>The safe, sustainable and economic manufacture of the fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals and new materials to meet global needs represent major societal challenges, the solutions to which require cross-disciplinary thinking and approaches. &nbsp;New catalytic and processing technologies are required to make better use of existing chemical feedstocks, as well as embracing new renewable sources of feedstocks such as bio-based raw materials. The use of cleaner technologies such as electrochemical and photochemical processes require both new chemistry and engineering solutions to become viable commercial processes.</p> <p>Researchers in this grouping in the School of Chemistry collaborate extensively with colleagues in the School of Chemical and Process Engineering and beyond through the University&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.iprd.leeds.ac.uk/facilities/">Institute for Process Research and Development (iPRD)</a>. The iPRD is underpinned by four joint appointments between the Schools of Chemistry and Chemical and Process Engineering, including two Professors appointed from industry with over 30 years&rsquo; experience.</p> <p>The iPRD is home to a 650 m2 state-of-the-art process development laboratory which is the first of its kind in the UK, making Leeds the ideal host for students wishing to gain industry-relevant skills through their studies.</p> <p>We collaborate extensively with industry through the iPRD&rsquo;s Industry Club (a major pre-competitive research forum) as well as through individual research projects. &nbsp;Members of the PRD research group contribute to both the training and research threads in the Leeds-hosted <a href="https://moleculestoproduct.leeds.ac.uk/programme/">EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecules to Product</a>.</p> <h5>Examples of key strengths within the group include:</h5> <ul> <li>Development of continuous flow platforms for challenging processes such as electrochemistry, photochemistry, biocatalytic transformations and multiphasic chemistry. &nbsp;An exemplar technology is the Freactor, developed at Leeds and commercialised by <a href="https://www.asynt.com/product/freactor-complete-kit/">Asynt</a></li> <li>Rapid autonomous optimisation of chemical manufacturing through digital processing, using automated feedback loops to identify optimum processing conditions</li> <li>Development of new catalysts and catalytic processes for applications in fine chemical synthesis e.g. hydrogen transfer chemistry, polymerisation catalysts etc.</li> <li>Utilisation of feedstocks from renewable resources e.g. development of personal care products from food waste and other resources (commercialised through the University of Leeds spin-out company <a href="https://www.keracol.co.uk">Keracol</a>&nbsp;and high value chemicals from lignin waste</li> <li>Development of novel technologies for the capture and reutilisation of carbon dioxide, exploited through the University of Leeds spin-out company <a href="https://www.c-capture.co.uk">C-Capture</a></li> </ul> <h5>For queries relating to your research proposal or subject area, please contact the individual supervisors listed below:</h5> <ul> <li><a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/chemical-engineering/staff/409/professor-john-blacker">Professor John Blacker</a></li> <li><a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/chemical-engineering/staff/596/dr-richard-bourne">Dr Richard Bourne</a>&nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/chemistry/staff/4190/professor-steve-marsden">Professor Steve Marsden</a>&nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/chemistry/staff/4179/professor-patrick-mcgowan">Professor Patrick McGowan</a>&nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/chemical-engineering/staff/553/professor-frans-muller">Professor Frans Muller</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/chemistry/staff/4205/dr-bao-nguyen">Dr Bao Nguyen</a>&nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/chemistry/staff/4182/professor-chris-rayner">Professor Chris Rayner</a></li> <li><a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/chemistry/staff/4617/dr-visuvanathar-sri-sridharan">Dr Visuvanathan Sridharan</a></li> <li><a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/chemistry/staff/4201/dr-charlotte-willans">Dr Charlotte Willans</a></li> </ul> <h3>Useful links and further reading:</h3> <ul> <li><a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/chemistry-research-degrees">Research degrees within the School of Chemistry</a></li> <li><a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/chemistry-research-groups/doc/process-research-development">Process Research and Development</a></li> <li><a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/chemistry-research-innovation">School of Chemistry, Research and Innovation</a></li> </ul> <h3>Leeds Doctoral College</h3> <p>Our <a href="https://www.leeds.ac.uk/info/130558/leeds_doctoral_college">Doctoral College</a> supports you throughout your postgraduate research journey. It brings together all the support services and opportunities to enhance your research, your development, and your overall experience.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the <a href="http://www.leeds.ac.uk/info/130206/applying/91/applying_for_research_degrees">University&#39;s website</a>.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For queries relating to your research proposal or subject area, please contact the individual supervisors listed above.</p> <p>For general enquiries and details regarding the application process, please contact the Graduate School Office:<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk">maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk</a>, t: +44 (0)113 34 35057</p>


<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h2>