Building is catalyst for new Chemistry Department

Story supplied by LU Press Office

Head of Chemistry Professor Peter Fielden and lecturer Dr Michael Peach Head of Chemistry Professor Peter Fielden and lecturer Dr Michael Peach

Chemistry's return to Lancaster University marks a significant investment by the University.

As part of this investment, a major building redevelopment programme got underway this week to refurbish part of the Faraday Building.

This will become a state-of-the-art laboratory, where a whole range of new instrumentation and equipment is being put in place.

This is the latest in a series of decisions designed to enhance the already excellent position of Science and Technology at Lancaster and will significantly strengthen the chemistry facilities available in the North West of England.

Lancaster's ambitious new Chemistry Department is headed up by Professor Peter Fielden. His team includes 11 members of staff from some of the UK's top research institutions and this will expand to 16 by September.

"This is the first stage in a rolling programme, which will see the recruitment of more academic, research, teaching, technical and administrative staff over the coming months and years," explained Professor Fielden.

"Students will benefit from one of the most competitive staff-to-student ratios in the UK and from a range of modern, dedicated instrumentation and equipment."

Exciting key strengths in the growing field of chemical theory and computation are already emerging at the new department.

Several members of the teaching team have a background in this area, where research is being increasingly used to understand the fundamental physical processes behind the chemistry which can then be used in the design of new pharmaceuticals or materials.

A second evolving strength is in energy research, where many of the current major research challenges include, for example, developing efficient solar cells, organic light-emitting devices and new battery technologies.

Other strengths are in synthetic chemistry, analytical chemistry and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), where many of the department's research challenges are at the boundaries of Chemistry and other disciplines, such as biology and medicine, engineering or physics.

The Department will see its first intake of students on a newly-developed single-honours chemistry programme in October.

"The chemistry degree has been specifically designed to be interdisciplinary and focuses on providing students with a vibrant, modern undergraduate curriculum, with an emphasis on small-group teaching, developing research skills, and providing a supportive environment in which students can achieve their full potential," added Professor Fielden.

Wed 19 June 2013