The Department of Chemistry’s Dr Marina Uzelac is one of 50 scientists to be awarded the Royal Society’s University Research Fellowship in 2022.

The scheme celebrates outstanding, early-career scientists showing potential to lead in their fields. The long-term fellowships offer the opportunity and freedom to pursue cutting-edge scientific research.

Dr Uzelac's work focuses where organic and inorganic elements meet. As an organometallic chemist, she studies compounds and reactions involving metal-carbon bonds. She's especially interested in sustainable synthesis and catalysis.

Catalysts are materials that help in the production of everyday items such as medicines, cosmetics, and fuels. With such widespread uses, the production of catalysts has a huge economic benefit. It’s estimated catalysis contributes around 35% of the global gross domestic product (GDP).

Until now, chemists have relied on catalysts that contain costly, toxic, and finite metals. The challenge now is how to make the current catalytic processes more sustainable.

Dr Uzelac plans to use the five-year fellowship to explore manganese in catalysis. As a much more abundant and benign metal, catalysts containing manganese would be a much cheaper and greener solution to the problem.