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Frontier Non-Aqueous Uranium Chemistry: Structure, Bonding, Reactivity, and Nanomagnetism (UCHEM)
Start date: 01 Oct 2014, End date: 30 Sep 2019 PROJECT  ONGOING 

The Applicant has an outstanding track record of achievement and an international reputation for independent research in non-aqueous uranium chemistry. This high-impact, challenging CoG Proposal integrates four innovative ideas in uranium chemistry into a single overarching inter-/multi-disciplinary project to open up new horizons across molecular, catalysis, materials, magnetism and energy research. The Applicant’s ERC StG has been very successful and opened new doors to several new avenues of pioneering research that were not even conceivable before the work was done. This work extends out from the knowledge achievements of the StG into new, exciting research areas that are completely different. This is a strategically vital to understand yet poorly developed area due to legacy nuclear waste. This project will deliver innovation through studying: (i) uranium-nitrogen triple bonds as benchmarks for uranium bonding and for generating new small molecule activation and materials applications; (ii) homologation of CO to close the carbon cycle and sustainably remove reliance on dwindling oil; (iii) single molecule magnets that have applications in data storage, quantum computing, spintronics; (iv) uranium-metal bonds which act as exemplars for intermetalloids and bonding. This CoG will afford the freedom and impetus via consolidated funding to undertake fundamental, speculative research to deliver ‘big-hits’, whole new fields of actinide chemistry, and, based on this higher platform of understanding, new ways of thinking. This will induce previously impossible paradigm shifts in uranium chemistry and be included in future textbooks. This project addresses priority subjects in FP7 and the ERC, and, via an extensive network of international academic and industrial collaborations, will consolidate the PI’s team in an exciting, curiosity-driven environment, reverse a strategic skills shortage, and deliver high calibre, cross-disciplinary scientists for the EU.
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