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John Blacker

Professor of Process Chemistry

"I am interested in the development of chemical and process technologies to improve manufacturing efficiency. Examples include pharmaceutical route design, asymmetric transfer hydrogenation and dehydrogenation, asymmetric cyanation, biocatalysis, continuous flow processing."
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Process Research and Development

Process lab

This group provides novel solutions for the sustainable and economic manufacture of fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals and new materials. Interactions in the key area between chemistry and chemical engineering are managed through the Institute for Process Research and Development (iPRD). 

The iPRD was established in 2008 as a collaborative venture with the School of Chemical and Process Engineering through extensive University investment (a £2M Transformation Fund project), and is underpinned by four joint appointments between the two Schools, including two new professors appointed from industry with over 30 years’ experience. The Institute builds on expertise in synthesis and catalysis within the School of Chemistry. These activities, focused through the iPRD, are achieved through a balanced portfolio of basic research, translational research and client/product-specific work. In all cases, industrial partnership and, where appropriate, co-funding of research, is key to ensuring the end-user relevance.

Research in the PRD group focuses on:

  • sustainable pharmaceutical chemistry
  • catalytic hydrogen transfer chemistry
  • carbon capture technology based on amine chemistry

 

PhD positions

The range of PhD projects available is very wide and potential projects can be found on the Project opportunities  page, as well as through links from individual staff research pages. 

Facilities

The group has superb research facilities that include:

  • a fully operational process laboratory which is believed to be a unique facility in an academic host institution.
  • a wide variety of pilot-scale batch and flow process equipment, providing safe scale-up of chemical processes up to 50 litre and to make 10’s kg of product

 

Links with industry

Links to a range of industries are extremely strong. These are managed through an Industrial Club comprising 15 companies from the UK, EU and beyond (China, India, Switzerland), whose interests range from pharmaceuticals to equipment manufacture. Our engagement with industry is driven through the University’s High Value Chemical Manufacture, Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical Sector Innovation Hub, and Energy Hubs.

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