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News and events

Orientation Week

Thursday 06 September 2018

You can find information on Orientation Activities

Giulia Bignami wins the British Zeolite Association Founders' Award

Friday 03 August 2018

Giulia Bignami

Giulia Bignami has been awarded the Founders' Award from the British Zeolite Association (BZA) for the best PhD thesis research in zeolites. The Founders' Award is an annual award for UK-based postgraduate student working in the area of micro or mesoporous science. Guilia's research used sophisticated high-resolution solid-state NMR techniques to understand novel porous solids. Guilia received her prize and gave a very successful lecture at the recent BZA International Meeting in Ambleside. Congratulations to Giulia.‌‌

John Irvine wins Lord Kelvin Medal 2018

Friday 27 July 2018

Professor John Irvine has been awarded the 2018 Lord Kelvin Medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The award is in recognition of John’s outstanding contribution to the field of energy materials research. We congratulate!

Chemistry Graduation and Prizes 2018

Monday 02 July 2018

 A record number of 90 students graduated with an Honours degree in chemistry from St Andrews in 2018. After the University graduation ceremony in Younger Hall, this was celebrated with a reception outside the School of Chemistry, where the best students (and teacher) were awarded prizes for outstanding achievements. The prizes were presented by Prof. David O'Hagan (Head of School).

 In pictures:

L-R: Daniel Harraghy, Annabelle Lacey and Andrew Devine (joint winners of the Gray Prize for the best essay on a prescribed topic in chemistry).


Bethany Thompson (GSK Prize for the best honours research project in organic chemistry).


Andrew Devine (Astra-Zeneca Prize for the best honours research project in biological chemistry).


Savannah Turner (Charles Horrex Prize for the best honours research project in physical chemistry).


The Drochaid Prize for the best honours research project in inorganic chemistry went to Hannah Potter who will graduate in 2019 but attended the reception to receive the prize from Drochaid Managing Director and St Andrews Honorary Professor Bob Tooze.


Sean Evans (Oxford University Press Book Prize for the best student in the 4th year BSc chemistry class).


Alice Bumstead and Chao Dun Tan (joint winners of the Forrester Prize for the best graduating students in the 4th and 5th year classes).

Alice also won the Irvine Jubilee Prize and Medal for the most distinguished graduating MChem student.


Andrew Maitland (Head of School Award for an undergraduate who has contributed notably to the life of the School).


Alan Aitken (best teacher as nominated by the honours classes).



Andy Smith wins RSC Charles Rees Award 2018

Thursday 08 February 2018

Prof ‌Andy Smith is this years recipient of the Charles Rees Award for organic heterocyclic chemistry.

Andy received his Award ‘for the development of organocatalysis methodology to synthesise new heterocyclic ring systems’. Details can be found on the RSC website.

Our new staff member Allan Watson has been awarded the EuCheMS Division of Organic Chemistry, Young Investigator Award 2018. Congratulations!

Allan Watson wins Young Investigator Award

Thursday 08 February 2018

‌Our new staff member Allan Watson has been awarded the EuCheMS Division of Organic Chemistry, Young Investigator Award 2018. Congratulations!

Academic Women Here! Book Launch

Tuesday 06 February 2018

The Principal of the University, Professor Sally Mapstone, visited Chemistry yesterday (5th Feb 2018)  to launch ‘Academic Women Here!’, a book edited by Sharon Ashbrook (Chemistry), Aileen Fyfe  (History) and Ineke De Moortel (Mathematics and Statistics, )celebrating the diversity of research interests and career paths of female mid-career academics in the University. A PDF version of the book is available here.

Professor Russell Morris FRS wins The Cronstedt Award

Tuesday 01 August 2017

Russell Morris has been voted the 2017 recipient of the Cronstedt Award form zeolite chemistry. 


The award is presented only every three years at the triennial Federation of European Zeolite Associations (FEZA) which this summer was held in Sofia, Bulgaria. The award is named in honour of the Swedish mineralogist Axel F. Cronstedt (1722–1765), who was the first scientist to describe their distinctive properties and introduced the term “zeolite”. 

 Russell was recognised for his work in developing the assembly-disassembly-organisation-reassembly (ADOR) process for the synthesis of new zeolites. This is a very nice acknowledgement of his work and the efforts of his research group.


Principal & Vice Chancellor dedicates the Dr Ettie Stewart Steele Reading Room

Monday 03 April 2017

On Thursday 30thMarch the Principal & Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Sally ‌‌‌Mapstone officially dedicated our Reading Room to Dr Ettie Stewart Steele. Dr Steele was the first female student to present a thesis for Ph.D in St Andrews  (1919, “The structure of mannitol”) and the first woman Lecturer (1920) in Chemistry. She worked her entire career at St Andrews and retired in 1956.


History in the making:  The photo above shows Professor Sharon Ashbrook (left) and Professor Alex Slawin (right) after the ceremony. Alex was the first woman Professor of Chemistry in St Andrews (2004) and Sharon (2013) is the second…we need some more!

Professor Sharon Ashbrook receives Suffrage Science Award

Monday 06 March 2017

Professor Sharon Ashbrook has been selected as the next recipient of the Suffrage Science award for women in engineering and physical sciences. The Suffrage Science scheme celebrates women in science across the UK for their scientific achievement and for their ability to inspire others. 


The Award (an heirloom) is handed down from one recipient to the next, and in this case Sharon will receives a bespoke piece of designer jewellery from Professor Polly Arnold (Edinburgh, Chemistry), who was the previous recipient for engineering and the physical sciences. 

Many congratulations ‌Sharon!

Professor Andrew D Smith elected FRSE

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Professor Andy Smith

Very many congratulations to Professor Andrew D Smith in Chemistry who has just been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.  Andy is an organic chemist with a very active research group developing new methods in asymmetric  organo-catalysis.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh is the leading learned Society of Scotland and each year it elects 60 new Fellows from across all academic disciplines, industry and cultural life in Scotland, as well as some international Fellows. Election is a recognition of academic standing as judged by peers.

Prof Stephen Gillespie in Medicine was also elected this year from St Andrews, as was Prof Neil McKeown from our EaStChem partner at  Edinburgh University.

Alice Green wins Salters Graduate Prize

Thursday 13 October 2016

Alice Green, who graduated with an MChem in June 2016, was selected to receive one of the prestigious  Salters Graduate Prize’s at  a ceremony at the Salters Institute in London on December 9th.

The Salters Awards are given to Chemistry graduates of  exceptional ability and promise.  Alice is pictured receiving her award with the Master of the Salters Company and Dr Annette Doherty, a senior vice president at GSK.  Alice is now carrying out a Ph.D in Oxford.

Dr John Smith retires after 47 Years

Thursday 13 October 2016

Dr John Smith retired this month after 47 years’ service to the School of Chemistry and the University.

John joined the University in 1969, at the age of 16 as a technician in the 1st year teaching lab. At the end of his career he was the Buildings Officer for the Purdie (Chemistry) and BioMedical Sciences buildings, working closely with Estates on major and minor buildings modifications. Along the way he gained Degree, Masters and Ph.D degrees.

There are very few who have achieved 47 years service to the University, an exceptional tour of duty!

We wish John and his wife Melanja (Technician for 45 years) the very best in their retirement.

Jim Naismith elected Fellow AAAS

Monday 21 November 2016

It is a pleasure to report that Professor James Naismith FRS was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This is  in recognition for his “sustained and distinguished contributions to the structural and functional analysis of enzymes”.

It is relatively rare for a non US based academic to receive this recognition. Founded in 1848, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society.

Many congratulations to Jim.

Professor Jim Scott wins UNESCO gold medal

Thursday 13 October 2016

Professor Jim Scott FRS, who has a joint position between Chemistry and Physics, received a UNESCO gold medal for "Contributions to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology" at a ceremony at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on October 11th.

The medal recognises his pioneering research on ferroelectric materials and devices, including the nano-memories that are now used in millions of e-money smartcards around the world.

Read the full press release

Blue Plaque honouring St Andrews Chemists

Tuesday 11 October 2016

A Royal Society of Chemistry ‘blue plaque’ was placed on the railings in North Street last week to recognise the historic contributions of Professor Thomas Purdie and Professor James Irvine in carbohydrate structure analysis in St Andrews, just before the 1st World War. Purdie and Irvine developed new derivatisation methods for sugars and using these methods worked out, among other things, the structures of glucose, fructose and lactose.

See recent RSC News Item

St Andrews spin out wins RSC Emerging Technologies Award 2016

Friday 17 June 2016

MOFgen, a spin-off company from the School of Chemistry and led by Prof. Russell Morris, FRS, have won first prize in the Royal Society of Chemistry Emerging Technologies competition for their Health and Wellbeing Technology. The Emerging Technologies Competition is the Royal Society of Chemistry’s annual innovation initiative, turning promising ideas into commercial reality. The competition brings cutting edge science to the real world for the benefit of society.

MOFgen develops and manufactures highly porous metal-organic framework materials for applications in healthcare. The technology came through an invention by Paul Wheatley in the Russell Morris group, and the current team of Morven Duncan, Stewart Warrender, Ian Muirhead and Yvonne Davies have developed both the science and the commercialisation potential of MOFgen to a high level.

Further details of the RSC Emerging Technologies Award can be found at

Catherine Cazin receives RSC Chemistry of the Transition Metals Award

Tuesday 10 May 2016

Dr Catherine Cazin has been selected as the 2016 recipient of the RSC Chemistry of the Transition Metals Award

The Award recognises outstanding research in any aspect of the chemistry of d- and f-block elements.

 Catherine receives her Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry for her ‘’outstanding contributions to homogeneous catalysis mediated by palladium, ruthenium and copper complexes using synergistic ligand effects’’

Very many congratulations to Catherine and the ‌Cazin research group!

Russell Morris elected FRS

Friday 29 April 2016

Professor Russell Morris has just been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS).  Election to the Royal Society, the oldest scientific society in the world,  is a rare achievement and only scientists of exceptional international standing are recognised in this way. Russell was elected for his pioneering work on metal organic frameworks. He developed the ADOR (Assembly-Disassembly-Organisation-Reassembly) and he pioneered the ‘ionothermal’ approach for the preparation and processing of porous solids.

Russell is pictured (centre)  with two other FRSs in the School of Chemistry, Jim Scott (left) and Jim Naismith (right).

Very many congratulations Russell and also to his research group!

St Andrews chemists win the 2016 National Retrosynthesis competition.

Thursday 31 March 2016


(from left:  Ross Chisholm; Aileen Frost; Kevin Kasten; Thomas West; Stefania Musolino; Claire Young; James Taylor)

‌A team of organic chemists from the Andy Smith and James Taylor groups won the Royal Society of Chemistry, National ‌Retrosynthesis competition at Burlington House in London on 11th March. 

The team presented the most elegant synthesis approach to a complex natural product (structure below) to beat nine other teams from academia and industry, and won a nice glass trophy!

Professor Sharon Ashbrook FRSE

Friday 25 March 2016

 Professor of Physical Chemistry, Sharon Ashbrook has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The Royal Society of Edinburgh is the leading learned Society of Scotland and each year it elects Fellows from across all academic disciplines, industry and cultural life in Scotland, as well as some international Fellows. It is a measure of distinction to be elected FRSE.


 Many congratulations ‌Sharon!


Undergraduates publish their work in leading journal

Friday 25 March 2016

Dr Iain Smellie (Senior Teaching Fellow) has led a recent publication (J. ‌Chem., Education, 2016, 93, 362) including nine St Andrews undergraduate chemists as co-authors.

Many congratulations to all!

PERSPECTIVES IN CHEMISTRY, Photography exhibition

Sunday 17 January 2016

Many congratulations to PhD student Stefania Musolini, whose photograph (below) was selected as the winner in the School's “Perspectives in Chemistry” photography exhibition.

The top selection of photographs are on public  display within the School of Chemistry through 2016 and can be seen here.

Cairong Jiang wins RSE BP Hutton Prize

Thursday 12 November 2015

‌Many congratulation to Dr.Cairong Jiang, who has just been awarded the Royal Society of Edinburgh, BP Hutton Prize in Energy Innovation.  This  prestigious prize (£10,000) is funded by the BP Trust, and is awarded to an early career researcher based in Scotland. Cairong has made a major contribution to energy development through her extensive work on direct carbon fuel cells (DCFCs). More information can be found on the website of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Sharon Ashbrook wins Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award

Tuesday 04 August 2015


Prof Sharon Ashbrook has been awarded a Royal Society, Wolfson Research Merit Award. These Awards provide support to enable the UK to retain scientists of outstanding achievement and potential. Congratulations!

Angelica Orsi wins SCI Scholarship

Friday 10 July 2015

Many congratulations to Angelica Orsi, a 2ndYear PhD student working with Professor Paul Wright, who has just been awarded a SCI Scholarship. The Scholarship  provides an additional £5,000 for her research related activities.

Angelica says: ’Being awarded this prestigious SCI Scholarship will enable me to acquire further equipment for my studies and fund possible conference excursions to build relationships with both academic and industrial communities.'

Prof Chun-Li Bai visiting St Andrews

Monday 01 June 2015

The President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor Chun-Li Bai,  visited St Andrews on 30th May. Professor Bai is a chemist (surface scientist, nanomaterials). He is pictured with some of our Chinese undergraduates, Ph.D students and postdoctoral researchers.

It was an honour to have the most senior scientist in China visit St Andrews

St Andrews Chemistry 2nd in Guardian University League Tables

Tuesday 26 May 2015

According to the Guardian University League Tables,  the School of Chemistry in St Andrews iss the second best place to study chemistry in the UK. The University overall achieved an impressive third place!

REF 2014: EaStCHEM comes top in Scotland and second in the UK power tables

Thursday 18 December 2014

EaStCHEM, the joint School of Chemistry between the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews, has been ranked 2nd out of 35 submissions in the REF-2014 listing as judged by the Power Table and EaStCHEM was placed top for Chemistry research in Scotland. The Power Table is used by Government for allocating the level of resource to support research activity in Departments of Chemistry within UK Universities. This is particularly impressive as 99 % of our academic staff were included and the assessment indicates a research intensity second only to Oxford from 35 other submissions.

Overall, 95 %, of our research was judged to be 4* or 3* (on a 1* to 4* scale); that is ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. This can be compared with just 70 % in the last assessment (RAE-2008). The EaStCHEM School of Chemistry is among the largest in the UK with over 80 research academics, and thus this level of performance illustrates the breadth, strength and quality of our research activity.

St Andrews chemists form enterprise to commercialise research output.

Friday 05 December 2014

Researchers from the School of Chemistry have founded SynthAndrews, a company to design and market chemical products for industry.

Jim Naismith appointed as Bishop Wardlaw Professor

Friday 05 December 2014

Jim Naismith appointed as Bishop Wardlaw Professor

Professor Jim Naismith was formally  appointed to a Bishop Wardlaw Professorship by the University.  Bishop Wardlaw is recognised as the founding father of the University in 1413,  and the University confers this status on its most distinguished academics.

Andy Smith wins Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award

Friday 05 December 2014

Professor Andy Smith

Prof Andy Smith has been awarded a Royal Society, Wolfson Research Merit Award. These Awards provide support to enable the UK to retain scientists of outstanding achievement and potential. Congratulations!

Chemistry first School in St Andrews to receive Athena SWAN Silver award

Thursday 25 September 2014

Chemistry has become the first ever school within the University to attain the ‘Athena SWAN Silver Award at Departmental Level’.  The Athena SWAN Charter is a national framework to advance the representation of women in science, engineering and technology.

Athena Swan Trophy

St Andrews 3rd in Times University Guide and 1st in Scotland

Thursday 05 June 2014

St Andrews came third of all UK Universities and was named Scottish University of the Year in the 2015 Times and Sunday Times University Guide.

A full-page spread shows our chemistry PhD students Tamara Kosikova and Stephen Thompson:

Sharon Ashbrook wins Frotscher Medal for Helping Hands

Thursday 05 June 2014

 Professor Sharon Ashbrook of the School of Chemistry is this year’s recipient of the Frotscher Medal for Helping Hands.

This is an Award of the University which recognizes exceptional support to students by a staff member or another student.  The prize has been established by the family of two St Andrews students in gratitude and recognition of the support those students received at St Andrews.

Sharon (right) receiving the Medal from Christine Lusk (left), Director of Student Support Services, in July 2014.

Very many congratulations!

Alex Slawin publishes 1000th paper

Monday 12 May 2014

We congratulate Prof Alexandra Slawin to the publication f her 1000th paper. With an H index of 60 and 21,749 citations in more than 13,000 publications, she remains the School's most prolific scientist in terms of publications. Many of those papers are in high-impact journals: 56 in Angewandte Chemie, 47 in JACS and 7 in Nature or Science!

Andy Smith wins Merck Award

Monday 24 February 2014

Prof Andy Smith received the Royal Society of Chemistry's 2014 Merck Award "for his outstanding contributions to the creative assembly of enantiopure building blocks by organocatalysis" . Congratulations! Details can be found on the RSC page.

Jim Naismith appointed as FRS

Friday 02 May 2014

Jim Naismith appointed as Fellow of the Royal Society

Professor Jim Naismith has been elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS).  The Royal Society is the oldest scientific society in the world and election to FRS is among the greatest achievements that can be conferred on a scientist. Very many congratulations Jim!


Jim  is cited by the Royal Society for his stunning structural and chemical dissection of the many proteins involved in natural product recognition, synthesis and export. His work has revealed new paradigms in the recognition of nucleic acids and carbohydrates, unveiled novel chemical mechanisms for enzymatic nucleophilic substitution and addition and provided the first views, both structural and dynamic, of polysaccharide export systems in bacteria. His work is characterised by a synthesis of three-dimensional structural understanding with profound chemical insight.

Jim was elected FRS along with Professor  Paul Attfield, an EaStCHEM  colleague in Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh  Edinburgh.

Catalysis CDT awarded - PhD studentships available NOW

Friday 28 March 2014

CRITICAT: Critical Resource Catalysis

The EPSRC and SFC have funded a £10 M Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Critical Resource Catalysis (CRITICAT) to generate a world-leading PhD training environment founded on the scientific excellence of St Andrews, Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. CRITICAT will allow >70 bright minds to be challenged in a comprehensive and state-of-the-art 4-year PhD training regime in catalytic science, transforming them into future scientific researchers, leaders, and entrepreneurs.

Applications for up to 12 PhD studentships to start in September 2014 are now open with a closing date of Friday 30th May 2014. We are seeking applications from students who have interests across the breadth of the catalysis research area, in particular those with a chemistry, biological, or engineering background. We encourage all prospective applicants to contact potential supervisors prior to their application in order to discuss potential research projects and the CRITICAT CDT.

Applications should be e-mailed directly to Prof. Andrew Smith ( by Friday 23rd May 2014 and should include:

1. A covering letter that explains your motivation to undertake a CRITICAT PhD and your interest and experience of your intended research area (1000 words maximum)
2. A CV (which should include a transcript of your degree results to date) with the contact details of at least two referees.

For further information visit the CRITICAT website or download the CRITICAT flyer (PDF, 606 KB):

Themed Issue of Philosophical Transactions A edited by St Andrews chemists

Monday 24 February 2014

 A themed issue of the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions A, entitled Density functional theory across chemistry physics and biology and edited by Tanja van Mourik and Michael Bühl from St Andrews, together with Marie-Pierre Gaigeot (Evry, France), has been published.

Exhibition: "Elements of Genius: The Legacy of Chemistry in St Andrews"

Monday 04 July 2011

As part of our Chemistry@200  celebrations, the display boards from this exhibition have moved to the Purdie Building