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Welcome to the Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry submitted 46 members of staff, comprising 44.2 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) staff, to the REF Chemistry Unit of Assessment (UoA).  The submission included three Early Career Researchers.

Find out more about us
96% of our research outputs are world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2021)
5th in the UK for Chemistry in the Guardian University Guide 2022
6th The Complete University Guide 2022
Ranked 5th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020

About Us

Durham Chemistry’s research aims to address central grand-challenge themes through collaborative research within the department and through engagement with university-wide research centres and institutes as well as external partners.

Our research is structured in six research groupings:

  • Soft Matter and Interfaces
  • Bioactive Chemistry and Synthesis
  • Computational and Dynamics
  • Functional Molecules and Materials
  • Catalysis and Sustainable Chemical Processes
  • Physical Organic & Assembly

Through these, we advance science and technology in areas such as photo active materials and molecules for sensing, therapeutic and emission-dependent applications,  exploitation of first-principles soft-matter modelling to societally important formulation challenges. Our researchers are also working on the application of biochemical expertise to treat neglected tropical diseases, improving understanding of photon and electron driven chemistry in materials, the atmosphere and the interstellar medium, and improved industrial sustainability via application of novel chemical processes, mechanistic insight and enhanced catalysts.

Much of our work is done in partnership, both within the university and externally. Examples include our research partnership with P&G, which has a particular focus on soft matter chemistry and challenges at the chemistry-life sciences boundary; and our Bioactive Chemistry Research Grouping who work under the umbrella of Durham's Biophysical Science Institute and lead a multi-partner international GCRF Network in Neglected Tropical Diseases.

The department’s research is underpinned by a vibrant cohort of PDRAs and PhD students, many of whom are supported through our Centres for Doctoral Training (SoFI, MosMed, GCRF, ReNu) and industry. The department produces world-leading research with global societal impact which feeds back into our research-led teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Chemistry REF Impact Case Studies

We submitted four impact case studies including structural science and research spin-out companies.

Click below to read more about our case studies

Structural Science – software and solutions

Chemistry research has led to many widely-used crystallographic tools, diagnostic routines, software packages and enhanced instrumentation.

Fluorescent Retinoids

Durham spin-out, LightOx Ltd, is underpinned by interdisciplinary research spanning the fields of spectroscopy, medicinal chemistry and biology.
Light cascade

Applied Graphene Materials plc

Durham Chemistry has developed new continuous synthesis methods to prepare graphene nanoplatelets.

Durham Chemistry and P&G Strategic Partnership

Research from this partnership has "enabled unique and globally scalable innovation that has improved billions of consumers' lives around the world".

 

 

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Research Themes

Chemistry’s six research groups, uniting teams of Principal Investigators in collaboration: Soft Matter and Interfaces, Bioactive Chemistry and Synthesis, Computational and Dynamics, Functional Molecules and Materials, Catalysis and Sustainable Chemical Processes, and Physical Organic & Assembly.

More about our Research Groups

Like to Know More?

We have a strong focus on interdisciplinary research and departmental structures mesh with larger research centres and institutes within the University:

  • Centre for Global Infectious Disease

    By bridging our Chemistry and Bioscience Departments, we bring together specific, multidisciplinary expertise to tackle challenges in global infectious disease.
    A map of the world made out of coloured pills
  • Durham Centre for Soft Matter

    A Centre for research in soft matter and polymer science, including materials synthesis, characterisation, design, simulation and theory.
    Soft matter

Centre for Global Infectious Disease

By bridging our Chemistry and Bioscience Departments, we bring together specific, multidisciplinary expertise to tackle challenges in global infectious disease.
A map of the world made out of coloured pills

Durham Centre for Soft Matter

A Centre for research in soft matter and polymer science, including materials synthesis, characterisation, design, simulation and theory.
Soft matter