Reaction mechanisms in catalysis: Faraday Discussion

17 - 19 February 2021, London, United Kingdom



This Faraday Discussion conference has been rescheduled from 22-24 April 2020 to 17-19 February 2021 and we are looking forward to seeing you at the conference on the new dates.  Understandably, there will be continuing uncertainty regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the dates of any forthcoming event, and as appropriate we will actively explore alternatives, such as further postponement or transitioning to a virtual conference, in case these may be needed.  We fully understand that it is difficult for delegates to make travel and conference plans at this time, however we encourage delegates to continue to register for the conference without risk as we are happy to refund registration fees at a later date if the conference plans change. We will contact all registered delegates as soon as possible with any changes to planned events, and the latest information on the conference schedule, registration details and any programme changes will be announced on these web pages. If you have any questions please contact us. We remain grateful for your support.


Join us in London in February 2021 for this addition to our Faraday Discussion series. For over 100 years and 300 meetings, Faraday Discussions have been the forefront of physical chemistry. Many of these Discussions have become landmark meetings in their field.
We invite you to join us to discuss the topic of Reaction mechanisms in catalysis and make your contribution to this cutting-edge dialogue alongside leaders in this field.
This meeting is for established and early career scientists, post-graduate students and industrial researchers interested in the key aspects of reaction mechanism studies and how this can drive rational design of catalysts. Given that the reaction mechanisms of many commercial processes although successfully operated, are still a matter of debate and controversy, the unique format of the Faraday Discussions will allow for in-depth discussions and opportunities to establish new collaborations.
On behalf of our committee, we look forward to welcoming you to London.

Justin Hargreaves
Chair, Reaction mechanisms in catalysis


The Royal Society of Chemistry is keen to encourage and enable as many people as possible to attend our events, to benefit from the networking opportunities and the chance to hear talks from leaders in the field. If you would like to discuss accessibility, or have childcare, caring responsibilities or other care needs, please contact us to discuss your requirements so that we can enable your attendance. Please refer also to our Grants for carers fund, for more information please see the ‘bursaries’ section on this page.

Format of the Discussion

Faraday Discussions remain amongst the only conferences to distribute the speakers’ research papers in advance, allowing the majority of each meeting to be devoted to discussion in which all delegates can participate.  Following each meeting a written record of the discussion is published alongside the papers in the Faraday Discussions journal. 

Find out more about the Faraday Discussions in this video


Heterogeneous catalysis is a core area of contemporary physical chemistry posing major fundamental and conceptual challenges. Catalysis lies at the heart of the chemical industry - an immensely successful and important part of the overall UK economy, and catalysis plays a crucial part in the production of 80% of all manufactured goods. Catalysis is a major theme in chemical sciences and engineering that underlies much of the key research and teaching in these subjects.
The reaction mechanisms of many commercial processes although successfully operated, are still a matter of debate and controversy, e.g. methanol synthesis and Fischer Tropsch catalysts. Hence there is now the opportunity to focus a Faraday Discussion concerning key aspects of reaction mechanism studies and how this can drive rational design of catalysts.
The Faraday Discussion will be organised into the following themes:
Theory and reaction mechanisms
Modern theoretical methods are now playing a central role in understanding reaction mechanism and are starting to enable catalyst design. This is an exciting topic to open the discussion, as there remain several technical and scientific challenges.
Challenges of using advanced characterisation methods for in situ reaction mechanism studies
The use of photon  and neutron sources (synchrotron, neutrons and lasers) have fast become significant in determining the active sites of catalysts which is a key requisite for understanding reaction mechanisms. The session will explore new opportunities including those arising from Free Electron Laser (FEL) sources and in situ methods and reaction mechanisms. The latest techniques in which catalysts are interrogated under realistic reaction conditions have led to major discoveries and this will be a key topic for discussion, including developments in spatial and temporal resolution which will be needed in developing mechanistic understanding.
Opportunities for understanding reaction mechanisms under flow conditions
Most commercial catalysts are operated under flow conditions and reaction mechanism studies require a substantial array of advanced techniques and often show key differences from batch reaction studies. This session will discuss how studying reaction mechanisms under flow conditions can benefit from modern methodology.
Dynamic catalytic systems on the border of heterogeneous/homogeneous catalysis
Application of nanoparticle catalysts in fine organic synthesis is the central topic for development of efficient synthetic procedures for producing drugs and pharmaceutical substances. This highly valuable research area is demanded in the pharma industry. In this session we will discuss fundamental topics on dynamics of catalytic systems, effect of leaching on stability and activity of nanoparticle catalysts.
Abstract Submission

Abstract submission is now closed

Oral Abstracts and Research Papers

A full research paper containing new unpublished results always accompanies oral presentations at Faraday Discussions. Submit an oral/paper abstract by 1 July 2019 if you wish to be considered for an oral presentation and associated published paper. The oral/paper abstract should outline current research in progress. Authors of the selected abstracts must then submit a full research paper with a significant amount of new, unpublished work by 9 December 2019.

The research papers are reviewed upon submission and are sent to all delegates 4 weeks before the meeting so they can be read in advance. At the meeting the presenting author is allowed five minutes to highlight the main points of their paper, and the rest of the time is for discussion. The discussion is recorded and will be published alongside the research paper in the Faraday Discussion Volume.  

Poster Abstracts 

Submit your poster abstract by 10 February 2020. Posters are displayed throughout the meeting and a poster session is held on the first evening. The Faraday Division Poster Prize will be awarded to the best poster presented by a student at the conference.

Additional Information

Authors will be notified of the outcome of the review process within about 6 weeks of the submission deadline. The abstracts should be no longer than one A4 page in portrait layout. Please ensure you provide the details of the presenting author and indicate whether you are submitting an abstract for oral or poster presentation.

Please read the registration information before registering.  You can register by clicking on the online registration link on this page.  Please note accommodation is not included in the registration fee.

For non-member registrants attending this event, affiliate membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry is available until the end of 2021, the affiliate membership application will be processed and commence once the registrant has attended the event.

Registration includes:
  • Attendance at the sessions
  • Refreshments throughout the meeting
  • Lunch on all 3 days
  • Attendance at the poster drinks reception on Wednesday 17 February
  • Attendance at the conference dinner on Thursday 18 February
  • A copy of the discussion pre-prints
  • A copy of the final theme issue of Faraday Discussion Volume containing papers presented at the Discussion (issued approximately 6 months after the meeting)**5
Regsitration fees are as follows (subject to VAT at the prevaling rate):

Early Bird

(6 January 2021)


(27 January 2021)

Members* £304.17 £350
Non-members £395.83 £441.67
Student members* £145.83 £191.67
Student non-members £170.83 £216.67
Guest Fee*** £150 £150

* If you are an Royal Society of Chemistry member and wish to register for this meeting, please select the member option on the online registration page. You will need to enter your membership number.

 **Excluding students, who can order the volume at a reduced price at the conference. 

*** This includes all lunches, refreshments and the conference dinner but does not include attendance at any scientific sessions.​

Student Delegates

In order to encourage undergraduate or postgraduate students to attend the Discussion, a reduced conference fee (to include a set of pre-prints but not the final Discussion Volume) is available. This fee applies to those undertaking a full time course for a recognised degree or a diploma at a university or equivalent institution.

A copy of the publication may be purchased at less than half price, only for orders placed at the meeting where an application form will be made available. 

Conference Dinner

The conference dinner on Thursday 18 February is included in the regsitration fee. 

Travel and Health Insurance

Delegates are advised to ensure that they have appropriate travel and health insurance.
Book now

Terms and Conditions for Events run by the Royal Society of Chemistry

In light of COVID-19, we are not currently accepting applications to our Travel Grant for PhD Students and Early Career Scientists. We will update our Travel Grants website with more information as it becomes available.

We have two types of grants available to attend this meeting:
  • A limited number of non-competitive travel grants of up to £200 are available for PhD students and early career scientists. These are assigned on a first come, first served basis.  Applicants must be Royal Society of Chemistry members of any level at the time of making their application.
  • Competitive grants of up to £800 are available to assist with international travel expenses for PhD students, postdocs within 10 years of completing their PhD and early career scientists (including technicians and industrialists) within 10 years of leaving full time education. In addition, applicants must be Royal Society of Chemistry members of any level at the time of making their application.
To take advantage of these grants and many other benefits, become a member. Follow the link on the right hand side to find out more and join today!

Grants for Carers

Grants for carers have been introduced following the Royal Society of Chemistry Breaking the barriers report where 78% of chemists working in UK academia felt that managing parenting and/or caring responsibilities has an impact on women’s retention and progression. This fund is not limited to women scientists and welcomes applications from anyone with caring responsibilities. These grants have been supported by The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemists’ Community Fund.

You can apply for up to a maximum of £1000/year to assist with additional financial costs that you incur for care usually provided by you whilst you attend a chemistry related meeting, conference or workshop or a professional development event.
Caring responsibilities are wide and varied, and so each application will be individually assessed, examples of applications that we will consider include:
  • paying for extra home help or nursing care for a dependent whilst you will not be present
  • additional medical/respite care for a dependent whilst you will not be present
  • travel expenses for a relative to travel with you to care for dependents whilst you attend a meeting or event
  • paying for extended hours with a care worker/childminder/play scheme to cover time when you will arrive home later than normal.
You are eligible to apply if:
  • you are a chemist
  • you will incur additional caring expenses whilst attending a chemistry-related meeting, conference, event or workshop or a professional development event
  • you will use these funds to cover the cost of care that you usually provide
  • you are based in the UK or Ireland or if not, you will normally have held three years RSC membership (past or current).
Sponsorship & supporting organisations
A selection of sponsorship opportunities is available for companies who would like to promote their activities at the 2021 Faraday Discussion series

There are opportunities available to become the Faraday Discussion series sponsor,  Research & Development partner or Poster prize series sponsor as well as some individual meeting options. A sponsorship menu document is available to download from this page with more details and prices.

Please note that exhibition spaces are limited, spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

If you would like more information about sponsoring the 2021 Faraday Discussion series, please contact the Commercial Sales Department at the Royal Society of Chemistry on Sponsorship Menu
The Royal Society of Chemistry

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

Please note that accommodation is not included in the registration fee.

Ellis Salsby are providing an accommodation booking service for this event.  If you would like to book accommodation, please use the link provided.

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