27th International symposium: Synthesis in organic chemistry

19 - 22 July 2021, Oxford, United Kingdom

Due to the continuing uncertainty of Covid-19, we understand the difficulty when planning to attend conferences. The RSC would like to reassure all delegates that this event will go ahead. We are actively planning to hold this event virtually, but continue to remain hopeful that the conference will be able to be held physically if it is safe to do so. Abstract submission is open and we encourage delegates to submit oral and poster abstracts in confidence. Registration will open when we are able to confirm the format and in good time for delegates to make travel plans if required. Please contact us with any questions; we remain grateful for your support.
The Synthesis in Organic Chemistry conference is a flagship event for the international organic chemistry community.

The first meeting of this internationally renowned symposium was held in Oxford in 1969, and since then the meetings have alternated on a biennial basis between Oxford and Cambridge.

The Synthesis in Organic Chemistry conference will cover all aspects of contemporary organic synthesis and provide a forum for the ever more exciting methodologies and strategies that continue to emerge. The conference will be of interest to all early-career and established scientists, post-graduate students and industrial researchers working in this field.

Organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, the 2021 conference will host some of the leading organic researchers from around the world. It promises to be a great forum to network and build strong collaborations within the community and related disciplines.

We look forward to welcoming you to Oxford in July 2021

Jonathan Burton, Tim Donohoe and Véronique Gouverneur


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.

Benjamin Davis, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Ben Davis got his B.A. (1993) and D.Phil. (1996) from the University of Oxford. During this time he learnt the beauty of carbohydrate chemistry under the supervision of Professor George Fleet. He then spent 2 years as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Bryan Jones at the University of Toronto, exploring protein chemistry and biocatalysis.

In 1998 he returned to the U.K. to take up a lectureship at the University of Durham. In the autumn of 2001 he moved to the Dyson Perrins Laboratory, University of Oxford and received a fellowship at Pembroke College, Oxford. He was promoted to Full Professor in 2005. In late 2019 he became the Science Director for Next Generation Chemistry at the Rosalind Franklin Institute.

His group's research centres on the chemical understanding and exploitation of biomolecular function (Synthetic Biology, Chemical Biology and Chemical Medicine), with an emphasis on carbohydrates and proteins. In particular, the group's interests encompass synthesis and methodology; target biomolecule synthesis; inhibitor/probe/substrate design; biocatalysis; enzyme & biomolecule mechanism; biosynthetic pathway determination; protein engineering; drug delivery; molecular biology; structural biology; cell biology; glycobiology; molecular imaging and in vivo biology.

Ben Davis was/is co-founder of Glycoform, a biotechnology company that from 2002-2011 investigated the therapeutic potential of synthetic glycoproteins; of Oxford Contrast a company investigating the use of molecular imaging for brain disease; of SugaROx a company that uses bond-breaking methods in planta to control and stimulate plant growth and productivity and of Scindo, a cleantech company started by former DPhil student Gustaf Hemberg that is harnessing the power of enzymes to recycle the unrecyclables. In 2003 he was named among the top young innovators in the world by Technology Review, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)'s magazine of innovation in the TR35 awards and was a finalist in the BBSRC Innovator of the Year competition in 2010.

He was elected to the Royal Society in 2015.

Ross Denton, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

Ross began his research career at The University of Nottingham, carrying out his PhD studies with Professor Jim Anderson. Following the completion of his doctoral research he moved to The Scripps Research Institute in California as a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Professor K.C. Nicolaou. Returning to the UK he carried out further postdoctoral studies with Professor Steven Ley, CBE, FRS at Cambridge University. He returned to Nottingham to begin his independent research career in 2008 as a fixed term Lecturer in Organic Chemistry. In 2009 he was appointed to a Lectureship in Organic Chemistry. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2016 and to Professor of Organic Chemistry in 2020.

Alois Fürstner, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Germany

Alois Fürstner is a native of Austria and obtained his doctoral degree from the Technical University of Graz (Prof. H. Weidmann). After a postdoctoral stint with the late Prof. Oppolzer at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and completion of his Habilitation in Graz, he joined the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung in Mülheim, Germany, in 1993 as a group leader. In 1998, he got promoted to the rank of Director and served two terms as the Managing Director.

His research interests in the area of organometallic chemistry and homogeneous catalysis range from the characterization of reactive intermediates and method development to applications in natural product total synthesis.

His honors include the inaugural Mukaiyama Award (Japan), a Centenary Lectureship (RSC), the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (ACS), the Janssen Prize for Creativity in Organic Synthesis, the Prelog Medal (ETH Zürich), the Karl Ziegler Prize (GdCH), the Gay Lussac/Humboldt Prize (France), the H. C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods (ACS), and the Prix Mondial Nessim Habif (Switzerland). He is member of the German National Academy “Leopoldina”.

Xiaoguang Lei, Peking University Beijing, China

Prof. Xiaoguang Lei obtained BS from Peking University in 2001, and Ph.D. in organic synthesis from Boston University in 2006. He conducted postdoc research at Columbia University. In 2009, he started his independent career. Now he is the Boya Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Peking University. His research focuses on chemical biology, natural product synthesis, synthetic biology and drug discovery. He received 2017 Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award.

Alastair Lennox, University of Bristol, United Kingdom

Alastair Lennox attained his PhD from the University of Bristol under the supervision of Prof Guy Lloyd-Jones. After a short time in industry, Alastair moved to the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis in Rostock to work with Prof Matthias Beller with an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, before moving to University of Wisconsin-Madison for further postdoctoral research with Prof Shannon Stahl. In 2018, Alastair returned to the UK with a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to start his own research programme at the University of Bristol. His group are interested in the development of novel synthetic methods with a strong emphasis on sustainability.Alastair Lennox attained his PhD from the University of Bristol under the supervision of Prof Guy Lloyd-Jones. After a short time in industry, Alastair moved to the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis in Rostock to work with Prof Matthias Beller with an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, before moving to University of Wisconsin-Madison for further postdoctoral research with Prof Shannon Stahl. In 2018, Alastair returned to the UK with a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to start his own research programme at the University of Bristol. His group are interested in the development of novel synthetic methods with a strong emphasis on sustainability.

Ilan Marek, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel

Ilan Marek received his PhD in 1986 from the University Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France under the supervision of Prof. Jean Normant. Following post-doctoral studies at the University Catholique de Louvain, Belgium with Prof. Leon Ghosez, backed to Paris he joined the CNRS in 1989. In 1997, he moved to the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and currently holds the Sir Michael and Lady Sobell Academic Chair. Professor Marek’s honors include the RSC Organometallic Awards (2012), Israel Chemical Society Excellence Award (2012), Janssen Pharmaceutica Prize for Creativity in Organic Synthesis (2012), the Moore Distinguished Scholar Appointment from CalTech (2013), The Weizmann Prize for Exact Sciences (2015), The Yannai Award for Excellence in Teaching (2016), the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award by the ACS  (2021). In 2017, he was elected Member of the French Academy of Sciences and in 2019, Member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Takashi Ooi, Nagoya University, Japan

Takashi Ooi received his Ph.D. from Nagoya University (1994, Prof. Hisashi Yamamoto). After his postdoctoral study at MIT (Prof. Julius Rebek, Jr.), he was appointed as an assistant professor at Hokkaido University in 1995 and promoted to a lecturer (1998). He moved to Kyoto University as an associate professor (2001), and became a full professor of Nagoya University in 2006. Since 2013, he has been a professor of Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM), Nagoya University. Research in his group is mainly focused on the molecular design and precise structural control of chiral organic molecular catalysts, particularly ion-pair catalysts, for selective organic synthesis.

Angela Russell, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Angela is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry jointly between the Departments of Chemistry and Pharmacology at the University of Oxford. She gained her DPhil in Organic Chemistry in 2004, and in 2007 she was awarded a Research Councils’ UK Fellowship. Her research concerns the discovery and translation of new molecules and mechanisms to manipulate cell fate, particularly for degenerative diseases.

Ruth Webster, University of Bath, United Kingdom

Ruth Webster obtained her MSci from the University of Strathclyde and her PhD from the University of Bristol (2011, Professor Robin Bedford). Following a Commonwealth Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of British Columbia with Professor Laurel Schafer, Ruth returned to the UK in 2012 where she is currently an EPSRC Early Career Fellow in Catalysis at the University of Bath.

Omar Yaghi, University of California, Berkley, United States

James and Neeltje Tretter Chair Professor of Chemistry
University of California, Berkeley 

Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute at Berkeley
California Research Alliance by BASF
Elected Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Recipient of the 2018 Wolf Prize in Chemistry. He published over 300 papers which as of September 2020 have been cited 160,000 times.

  • Donna Blackmond The Scripps Research Institute, California, United States
  • Tanja Gaich University of Konstanz, Germany
  • Syuzanna Hartutyunyan University of Groningen, Netherlands
  • Rubén Martin Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia , Spain
  • Emma Parmee Merck, United States
  • David Procter University of Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Corinna Schindler University of Michigan, United States
  • Ryan Shenvi The Scripps Research Institute, California, United States

Abstract Submission
Submit your poster abstract by 4 May 2021.

Due to the popularity of the event and space limitations at the venue, it is only possible for us to accept 80 poster abstracts to present at this event.

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.

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).

Travel Grants

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. 
Keble Collge

Keble Collge, Keble College, Oxford, OX1 3PG, United Kingdom

Contact information
Showing all upcoming events
Start Date
End Date
Subject area
Event type


E-mail Enquiry