Jonathan, from the University’s Department of Chemistry, is the recipient of a £10k a year award over a five year period. The award will fund his research group’s work in designing metal catalysts for new chemical reactions.
In many cases, the metal catalysts developed by the group allow reactions to be more environmentally friendly because molecules can be constructed more efficiently and with less energy.
Professor Paul Raithby, Head of the Department of Chemistry, said: “Jonathan is undoubtedly one of the most creative and productive organic chemists of his generation in the UK. His work has influenced academic chemistry internationally, as well as having had significant impact in industrial practice.
“Jonathan has attracted a talented group of organic chemists to Bath and we are determined to support him in further developing the department’s international reputation as a leading centre for catalysis and chemical synthesis. This award is a significant contribution to that goal and I offer my wholehearted congratulations to Jonathan and his research group.”
Until recently, Jonathan’s research group worked on a method of constructing chemical bonds using catalytic reactions that they termed ‘Borrowing Hydrogen Methodology’. This focused on the metal catalyst temporarily removing hydrogen from the starting material, allowing it to react much more easily.
Jonathan said: “The resulting compounds from this technique are made more cleanly than they would be traditionally. Using our methodology, the only by-product created is water, and there is no need to use carcinogenic starting materials.”
However, the group’s focus has recently changed and the Wolfson Merit Award will fund research into new catalytic reactions.
Jonathan said: “We’re now focusing on developing new approaches to the formation of amides. Amides are very important chemical bonds found in proteins, in many drug molecules, and in robust materials such as Nylon and Kevlar.
“This new research will aim to identify catalytic methods for the formation of amides, which are traditionally prepared using cumbersome, inefficient chemistry.”
The Wolfson Merit Award follows numerous accolades for Jonathan’s research over the past year, including an EPSRC Dream Fellowship which started in August, and the Royal Society of Chemistry Award for Homogeneous Catalysis in May.