Synthetic coordination chemistry

Design and synthesis of novel coordination complexes and ligands, and development of novel synthetic methodologies.

Over the current Delivery Plan period, we will continue to support core capability that feeds into the development of disruptive, emerging technologies in the UK. Developments in fundamental Synthetic Coordination Chemistry underpin advances, for example, in the key fields of catalysis and materials research.

In particular, our goal is for researchers in this area to generate new discoveries and insights with potential real-world benefits by working on truly interdisciplinary challenges and developing stronger links with:

  • Colleagues working in research areas such as Catalysis, Supramolecular Chemistry, Chemical Biology, Biological Chemistry, and Functional Inorganic Materials and Medicine. Powerful collaborations will accelerate pull-through of new technologies that build on the fundamental understanding of the reactivity and chemical properties of metals
  • Industry, to ensure early consideration of scale-up opportunities that also increase pull-through of scientific outputs. Not only will such collaboration accelerate impact – success will increase the profile of the capability generated by Synthetic Coordination Chemistry

The sustainable chemistry agenda is increasing in momentum and fundamental Synthetic Coordination Chemistry is vital to sustaining drives in innovation. For example, better understanding of the reactivity of abundant earth metals can influence and inform design of next-generation catalysts and functional inorganic materials, enabling greener energy solutions (Evidence source 1).

The UK community includes a number of internationally competitive groups, while the majority of investment is in supporting investigator-led research in fundamental physical sciences. The research is important to the wider research community due to the cross-cutting capability it provides.

This area links to top-down Challenges in EPSRC's Energy and Manufacturing the Future Themes; it also underpins fundamental fields (e.g. catalysis, supramolecular chemistry, inorganic materials, chemical biology and medicine) (Evidence source 1,2,3,4). Emerging interdisciplinary research in magnetism and data storage are potentially transformative. Strengthening and consolidating these links would accelerate outputs from this research area.

The majority of research within the EPSRC portfolio in the area is investigator-led. Synthetic Coordination Chemistry is relevant to disparate challenge-led areas and, as indicated above, applications are found in a number of sectors (e.g. pharma, manufacturing and energy) (Evidence source 1,2,3,4). This is reflected in the breadth of project partners on research proposals.

There is a healthy level of training support, particularly for interdisciplinary training focused on the challenges of chemical synthesis and sustainable chemistry. This area has a balance of researchers across career stages, enabling long-term resilience and the capacity to adapt to emerging research opportunities.

Research in Synthetic Coordination Chemistry remains capital-intensive with requirements for standard and specialist equipment and access to national facilities such as the National Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Facility.

This research area relates to a range of Ambitions in the Productive, Resilient and Healthy Nation Outcomes, specifically:

P1: Introduce the next generation of innovative and disruptive technologies

Improved fundamental understanding of metals used in data storage and of inorganic materials has potential to enable revolutionary technological advances.

P2: Ensure affordable solutions for national needs

P5: Transform to a sustainable society, with a focus on the circular economy

Development of novel complexes and ligands from sustainable sources, coupled with innovative synthetic methodology, will directly underpin transformative polymers and materials.

R1: Achieve energy security and efficiency

Improvements to nuclear energy generation/clean-up and research into the creation and optimisation of renewable technology solutions (e.g. dye-sensitised solar cells) will open up new capability.

H4: Optimise diagnosis and treatment

Development of new chemical probes and imaging techniques will advance and optimise medical imaging and diagnostics by improving sensitivity and scale.

This area also offers cross-cutting capabilities relevant to the Resilient and Productive Nation Outcomes, as it will provide fundamental understanding of abundant earth metals needed to generate affordable solutions for national needs and aid transformation to a sustainable, productive society. Cross-cutting capability will also contribute to the advanced materials agenda.

Research area connections

This diagram shows the top 10 connections between Research Areas within the EPSRC research portfolio. The depth of the segment relates to value of grants and the width of the segment relates to the number of grants shared by those two Research Areas. Please click to see the related Research Area rationale.


We aim to maintain this area as a proportion of the EPSRC portfolio.

Visualising our Portfolio (VoP)
Visualising our portfolio (VoP) is a tool for users to visually interact with the EPSRC portfolio and data relationships.

EPSRC Support by Research Area in Synthetic Coordination Chemistry (GoW)
Search EPSRC's research and training grants.

Contact Details

In the following table, contact information relevant to the page. The first column is for visual reference only. Data is in the right column.

Name: Eleanor Jaskowska
Job title: Portfolio Manager
Organisation: EPSRC
Telephone: 01793 444319