3rd National Retrosynthesis Competition 2016

30 June 2015 - 31 March 2016, London, United Kingdom

UPDATE - March 2016: On Friday the 11th of March 2016, Burlington House was the venue for the final of the 3rd National Retrosynthesis Competition. This event was jointly organised by the Heterocyclic and Synthesis Group of the RSC, and the Fine Chemicals Group and Young Chemists Panel of the SCI, under the lead of Rob Wybrow of Syngenta, UK. From ~40 teams who entered the preliminary round in December 2015, 10 were selected for the final by the judging panel, Professor Chris Willis (Bristol University), Professor Paul Davies (Birmingham University), Dr Robin Attrill (GSK) and Dr Mike Mortimore (Vertex). The finalists were drawn from a broad cross-section of chemistry-based organisations, universities and academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies, CROs and agrochemicals. In the final, teams presented their synthetic strategies for the as yet unsynthesised natural product, Peritoxin B, and answered questions from the audience challenging their reasoning and route selection. The winning team was “Totally Disconnected with Base” from the University of St Andrews, the runners up were “A to Z of Retrosynthesis” from AstraZeneca and the third place was taken by “Oxford SBM 2014” from Oxford University.

The organising committee would like to thank all of the teams who entered for their contributions, the finalists, judges, guests, attendees, sponsors and exhibitors for their significant input into the event. We would particularly like to thank Phil Poyser for donating copies of his book “Eric Bloodaxe? and other verse”, and the SCI for their donation of a year’s subscription to all the members of the winning team. Based upon enthusiastic positive feedback from participants and special guests on the day the competition was hugely successful, underlining the key central importance of synthetic organic chemistry in both fundamental and applied research in the UK. Taking that positive momentum forwards, the organising committee has already begun their planning for the 4th National Retrosynthesis Competition, to be held in early March 2017.

Please find more information on this year’s event at these social media links (Twitter: @UKRetroComp: LinkedIn: Join the “UK Retrosynthesis Competition” group) and the event websites:


UPDATE - February 2016: The 3rd National Retrosynthesis Competition jointly organised by the RSC and SCI will be held at the RSC, Burlington House on Friday 11th March 2016. The event will run from 10:30am to 17:00 and will be followed by a wine reception.
We are delighted to announce the following teams were chosen by our panel of judges as finalists. They are now working hard on preparing a proposal on the retrosynthesis and synthesis of a second natural product which they will present at the event.
One ED (CRL)
Bingo Starr & the Boron Aldols (University of Cambridge)
RetroSyngenthesis (Syngenta)
Oxford SBM 2014 (University of Oxford)
A to Z of Retrosynthesis (AstraZeneca)
SYG Team 2 (Sygnature Discovery)       
Dalton Towers (University of Manchester)
Team Vertex (Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Europe))
Totally Disconnected with Base (University of St Andrews)
The Fraglets (Astex) 

We have a limited number of free tickets for the audience available, if you wish to attend please send the registration form to Maggi Churchouse Events (see form for details). These will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

UPDATE - October 2015: The moment you have all been waiting for has finally arrived and it gives me pleasure to release the first round molecule for the 3rd National Retrosynthesis Competition 2016. The molecule is Corianlactone (see attached Flyer) and along with both Coriatone, are two novel highly oxygenated picrotoxane-type sesquiterpenes, with an unprecedented sesquiterpene basic skeleton, named coriane. They have been isolated from Coriaria nepalensis Wall plant and have showed interesting biological activity. All entries should be submitted to Maggi Churchouse (maggi@maggichurchouseevents.co.uk) no later than 5pm on Friday 11th December 2015. All entries must use the template (see attached the PowerPoint template), which has been set up for a 4 x retrosynthesis and 4 x forward synthesis slides but these can be changed using the Slide Master options should you so wish (NB no more than 8 slides can be used in total, not including title and reference pages). Each entry must also include their company/institution and team name in the file name. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Robert Wybrow (robert.wybrow@syngenta.com) but in the meantime, good luck and we look forward to receiving your entries no later than Friday 11th December 2015

UPDATE - October 2015: Molecule release on October 26th! Pre-registration Following its successful application at the 2014/2015 event, the competition Organising Committee are again offering the opportunity to pre-register for the first round. This will allow you and your team to receive the first round molecule, by email, on Monday 26th October 2015, the day that it is released and the first round begins. If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please register your details (name and institution or company) by email to Robert Wybrow (robert.wybrow@syngenta.com).

OVERVIEW The RSC and SCI are please to present the 3rd National Retrosynthesis Competition to be held at RSC HQ, Burlington House on 11th March 2016. For many years, the UK has produced high caliber synthetic organic chemists, able to retrosynthetically disconnect complex molecules and natural products then solve the challenging problem associated with the forward synthesis. To celebrate this and following on from the success of the events in 2012 and 2015, the groups from the RSC and SCI would like to present the 3rd National Retrosynthesis Competition to be held at RSC HQ, Burlington House on 11th March 2016. The event aims to showcase the calibre of UK chemists from both industry and academia to showcase their retrosynthetic and forward synthetic prowess. An exciting line up of the UK's leading academic and industrial synthetic chemists will judge the event, with the top three teams winning cutting edge scientific equipment and specifically designed trophies, donated by our generous sponsors. This is in addition to the acclaim and praise from peers, colleagues and the wider Chemistry community for winning the event. The template for the event will be based around the 2015 competition, consisting of two rounds; The first will require teams to provide both a retro- and forward synthetic route to a given target which will then be judged on brevity of synthesis, feasibility in forward synthesis, elegance and style of presentation. A number of teams will then be selected to progress to the second round where they will be asked to provide a retro- and forward synthetic route for another more challenging molecule. These teams will then be invited to present their routes to the judging panel and audience at the final. Please check back for information on how and when you can enter.
Sponsorship & supporting organisations
The Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BA, United Kingdom

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