Research at Harwell

JMT molecule illustration

The science of the UK Catalysis Hub was originally built round the four themes of Catalysis Design, Environmental Catalysis, Catalysis for Energy and Chemical Transformations, with each theme having a lead investigator. The initial research projects followed those outlined in the original proposal to EPSRC and successfully established the programme.

Subsequently the Hub has supported eighty-two novel and topical projects in catalytic science, successive projects were selected following calls for project proposals across the scientific themes.

This approach has allowed Hub science to evolve and to address key current and future challenges.

Key themes


Optimising, Predicting & Designing New Catalysts

Catalysis at the Water Energy Nexus

Catalysis for the Circular Economy & Sustainable Manufacturing

Original themes

Catalysis By Design

The aim of the Catalyst By Design (Design) theme was to develop Fundamental knowledge of structure and mechanism promoting innovation. This theme focussed on i) Computational Modelling ii) Use of cutting edge facilities including synchrotrons such as Diamond Light source, neutron sources including ISIS and Laser facilities and iii) Multi scale and multi-technique approach: from[...]


The Environmental Catalysis theme aimed to use catalysis to make the world a better place. The theme combined heterogeneous, homogeneous and bio catalysis together with experimental and theoretical approaches to attack key problems including i) Improved atom efficiency – eradicating waste. ii) Environmental cleanup – dealing with waste. iii) New green applications – catalysis in[...]

Chemical Transformations

The Chemical Transformations theme aimed to promote the prosperity of the UK manufacturing base in fine and bulk chemicals, polymers and pharmaceuticals areas of research include: i) Enhancing selectivity and sustainability of existing processes, ii) Pharmaceutical process chemistry; synthesis gas conversion; renewable polymers, iii) New catalytic approaches to transformations including catalysis in confined environments; transition[...]


The catalysis for energy theme aimed to use fundamental science & engineering to develop innovative & practical solutions for current and future energy needs including: i) Gas to liquid transformation, ii) Synthesis and utilisation of biofuels, iii) Process integration and intensification for efficient energy usage and storage, and iv) Photocatalytic water splitting.     See[...]

Biocatalysis & Biotransformations

Biocatalysis & biotransformations was submitted to EPSRC with the aim of strengthening Hub capability, growing UK excellence in this fundamental area of catalysis, and integrate biocatalysis research across the full remit of the Hub’s catalysis portfolio. Biocatalytic processes underpin future manufacturing routes across the entirety of the chemical sciences, with all principal sectors of the[...]