Dr Paul Davies

Reader in Organic Chemistry

ORCID: 0000-0002-0340-2414

UoB staff page

email: p.w.davies at bham.ac.uk

Address: School of Chemistry, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK

I studied Chemistry with a Year in Industry (MChem) in Sheffield, with a year in the Medicinal Chemistry department at SmithKline Beecham plc in Harlow, Essex. After graduating I joined the group of Professor Varinder Aggarwal (FRS) to study palladium-catalysed cascade reactions for my PhD (Bristol, 2003) which was supported by AstraZeneca plc (Process Chemistry department). My next position was in the Max Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung (Mülheim, Germany) working as a postdoctoral fellow with Professor Alois Fürstner on several projects across organometallics and catalysis for organic synthesis. These included developing new ligands and metal complexes toward stereoselective metathesis processes, and developing platinum-catalysed cycloisomerisation reactions and their application in antibiotic natural product synthesis. In 2006, I was appointed as Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at the University of Birmingham and was then promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2012 and Reader from August 2021. In 2019 I was awarded a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship.

My research interests span all aspects of organic chemistry, especially if it involves catalysis. I am particularly interested in developing and exploring new synthetic methods and strategies for the efficient and flexible synthesis of complex molecules, especially those that allow us to test a new reactivity hypothesis. We use precious metals and platinum group metals extensively in our discovery programmes, as well as earlier, more abundant metals and organic catalysts. Another key area is the design of novel and functional molecules where we seek to develop expedient routes that accommodate structural variety to facilitate exploring structure-reactivity/activity-relationships. Do take a look at the research pages to get a flavour of some of the chemistry that we do in the group.

I am very grateful to the institutions that have funded our research programme: the EPSRC, the European Commission, the BBSRC, the Royal Society, the Leverhulme Trust, AstraZeneca plc, Eli Lilly plc and the University of Birmingham.

Community contributions

2020-2024: External Examiner for Undergraduate Degree Programmes in the School of Chemistry at the University of Leicester and the Dalian-Leicester Institute of Science.

2019 to date: Academic Editor for Heteroatom Chemistry (Wiley/Hindawi)

2016-2021: Elected and then Appointed Member of the Organic Division Council of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

2014-2016: Chair of the Young Chemist’s panel of the Society of the Chemical Industry

2011-2016: Member of the Young Chemist’s panel of the Society of the Chemical Industry


2020-21: Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow

2012: Thieme Chemistry Journals Award winner

Faculty roles

Teaching: I teach across all levels of the Chemistry undergraduate curriculum in Birmingham, from the introductory organic chemistry course in year 1 to advanced synthetic methods in year 4. My teaching includes lecture courses, tutorials, workshops, problem-based learning sessions and mini-research projects as well as MSci project supervision.

Management: As Senior Admissions Tutor in the School of Chemistry, I lead our undergraduate recruitment programme.

Significant previous roles include: Head of the Chemistry Graduate School; Placements Tutor for the Year in Industry and Study Abroad (incoming and outgoing) programmes; Membership of Safety Committee and Research Committee, Research Unit Lead (Molecular Synthesis and Catalysis); Director of Studies (year 2); Practical Coordinator for organic chemistry; Chair of the CTL (Collaborative Teaching Laboratory) course design committee.