£4.4m science partnership unveiled

A £4.4 million partnership is to be set up by the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde to boost world class research in chemistry and drug discovery.

WestCHEM ヨ the universities' joint chemistry research school ヨ will join forces with the Strathclyde Institute for Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences to advance understanding and technology in Physical Organic Chemistry and pharmaceuticals.

The cash boost will help to fund 26 new research posts, as well as equipment and infrastructure. The five-year partnership is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Scottish Funding Council, industry partners and the universities.

Areas of multi-disciplinary research will include:

ᄋ Drug discovery and development, including investigations into the behaviour of molecules in liquids and solids to improve drug solubility and the delivery of medicines into the body

ᄋ Pioneering technology and understanding of nanomolecular-science ヨ the science of the very, very small ヨ particularly looking at how molecules behave in current electronic devices and those of the future

ᄋ Improving chemical reactions and pioneering greener and more efficient catalysts for a range of industries including electronics and pharmaceuticals

Strathclyde Professor John Murphy, Director of WestCHEM, said: "This new collaboration will offer a tremendous boost to chemistry and drug discovery, and will help ensure the West of Scotland remains at the forefront of international research. We are pleased that, from the start, this partnership will feature extensive interaction with and additional funding by industry.

"Physical Organic Chemistry plays a pivotal role in the UK's economy and is at the heart of the chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries. By pooling our research capabilities and expertise, we can bring real benefits not only to chemistry and industry, but to society."

Glasgow Professor Chick Wilson, Deputy Director of WestCHEM added: "This exciting initiative will underpin an interdisciplinary approach to molecular sciences around the central framework of the partnership in Physical Organic Chemistry.

"This area is particularly relevant to modern chemistry, unifying synthesis and characterisation in the development and understanding of new functional molecular materials."

Professor Graham Coombs, Head of the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, said: "This is an exciting opportunity to build on our proud record of drug discovery and development. By expanding our knowledge and understanding of drugs, we can improve treatments for the illnesses of the 21st Century."

Martin Shannon (m.shannon@admin.gla.ac.uk)


Notes to Editors:

1. The EPSRC awarded the partnership ?2.5 million from its Science and Innovation Awards. ?1.06 million has been awarded from the SFC, and the remaining funds are from the universities. Additional funding will be provided by industry partners.

2. WestCHEM is the joint chemistry research school of the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde. Formed in February 2005, it brings together the strengths of the two major chemistry departments and offers an outstanding research environment.

3. The Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS), brings together leading researchers in the chemical, biological and pharmaceutical sciences to help combat health issues of the 21st Century. Building on Strathclyde?s success in drug research and working with industry, SIPBS will conceive and develop new treatments for a range of illnesses, from cardiovascular and inflammatory conditions to infectious diseases.

Further information:

Professor Chick Wilson, WestCHEM, University of Glasgow, T: 0141 330 8522

Martin Shannon, Corporate Communications, University of Glasgow, T: 0141 330 8593

Professor John Murphy, WestCHEM, University of Strathclyde, T: 0141 548 2389

Kat Ferguson, Press Office, University of Strathclyde, T: 0141 548 4123

First published: 20 December 2006