The Department of Chemistry’s Dr Matthew Grayson is honoured with the Royal Society of Chemistry's Hickinbottom Prize for his work using computational modelling and machine learning to address pharmaceutical challenges.

Using computational approaches to design reactions that deliver new chemicals is regarded as one of organic chemistry and biochemistry’s ‘holy grails’. Predicting chemical behaviour with computational methods can provide faster and more cost-effective alternatives to trial-and-error experimentations, and in some cases animal testing, in drug design, toxicology and chemical synthesis.

Dr Grayson’s research group at the University of Bath is developing new, rapid, high-throughput computational screening tools through simulations and machine learning, answering questions in synthetic chemistry, toxicology and drug design.

These new methods will help the UK chemical and pharmaceutical industries become more competitive and help improve patients’ quality of life by delivering medicines faster.

Dr Grayson said: “It is a great honour to be receiving the Hickinbottom Prize, especially given the distinguished list of previous winners.”

The Hickinbottom Prize is awarded for the most meritorious contributions to any area of organic chemistry made by an early career scientist. He joins a prestigious list of past Royal Society of Chemistry prize winners, 60 of whom have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their work.

Dr Helen Pain, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “The chemical sciences are at the forefront of tackling a range of challenges facing our world. From fundamental chemistry to cutting-edge innovations, the work that chemical scientists do has an important role to play in building our future.

The Research and Innovation Prizes celebrate brilliant individuals across industry and academia. They include prizes for those at different career stages in general chemistry and for those working in specific fields, as well as interdisciplinary prizes and prizes for those in specific roles.”