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Our research excellence

Our research is driven by our desire to help solve some of society’s greatest scientific challenges. 94% of our research outputs are recognised as internationally excellent or world-leading (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

The research in our Department is organised into three groups, all sitting under our Chemical Sciences Division:

  • Biomedical, Molecular and Analytical Chemistry
  • Materials and Interfaces for the Future
  • Soft Matter.

Learn about the University's Chemical Sciences Research Division

Where will you take us next?

We work together to make life better for everyone, and our students are actively involved in our world-class research.

Watch our video to learn more about the research in our Department.

Our research groups

Our researchers are generating knowledge that is helping to develop sustainable technologies for energy production, improve healthcare, understand and limit anthropogenic climate change, and ensure clean drinking water for all.

We want society to benefit from our research, both locally and globally. 

Biomedical, Molecular and Analytical Chemistry

The research in this group focuses on the development of new methodologies for the synthesis of medicines and biologically active natural products.

The group also researches the application and development of (bio)analytical methods to identify and characterise important (bio)molecules, from health/disease biomarkers and medical target compounds to environmental pollutants and forensic markers.

A subgroup is interested in the synthesis of molecules/materials with function such as metal catalysts, peptides, and functionalised ligands. In addition to classical approaches, this section uses enabling technologies such as continuous flow, photochemistry, and electrochemistry to achieve these transformations.

The group also features experts in a range of analytical techniques. They answer important questions in the development of novel materials and technologies that support future health and the protection of our environment.

Biomedical group members

Members of the Biomedical, Molecular and Analytical Chemistry research group:


Meet our team

Materials and Interfaces for the Future

Research spans the broad areas of surface chemistry and catalysis, solid-state computational chemistry and property modelling, and materials chemistry.

Fields of particular importance include study of materials for sustainable energy applications and thermoelectric inorganic materials for recovering energy from waste heat.

Members of this research group are expert in the synthesis and structural analysis of inorganic networks that show either negative thermal expansion effects or contain molecular-sized channels suitable for drug storage and delivery.

State-of-the-art X-ray diffraction instruments for structure determination under non-ambient conditions are available in the Chemical Analysis Facility and play a key role in establishing structure-property relationships.

Materials group members

Members of the Materials and Interfaces for the Future research group:


Meet our team

Soft Matter

Research spans broad areas of macromolecular chemistry, physical organic chemistry, and surface chemistry.

The research areas include:

  • hydrogels for use in healthcare
  • DNA complexes
  • conducting polymer fibres
  • healable polymers and nanocomposites
  • novel high surface area network materials
  • nanoelectrochemistry
  • the use of X-ray spectroscopy to probe the mechanisms of reactions.

These experimental studies are supported by computational analysis using quantum mechanics and molecular dynamic simulations.

Soft Matter group members

Members of the Soft Matter research group:


Meet our team
Box full of pipettes

Collaborating with us

Our research groups have worked on projects with a number of major organisations.

As well as forging new relationships, we currently work with organisations such as AstraZeneca, BP, Cytec, DuPont, GSK, Henkel, Johnson Matthey, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Syngenta and Unilever.
Scientist looking at an agar plate in front of a computer

Wider research at Reading

We apply our research expertise in collaborations across the University. 

We have particularly strong links with the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences and Reading School of Pharmacy.
Athena SWAN Silver Award