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Harnessing non-covalent interactions for synthesis and catalysis Faraday Discussion

12 - 14 April 2023, York, United Kingdom



Join us in York in April 2023 for this latest addition to our Faraday Discussion series. For over 100 years and 300 meetings, Faraday Discussions have led the conversation in the sciences lying between chemistry, physics and biology. Many Discussions have become landmark meetings in their field, with their unique format allowing for in-depth discussions and opportunities to establish new collaborations.
This meeting is for established and early-career scientists, post-graduate students and industrial researchers interested in non-covalent interactions. The meeting will bring together teams of physical and life scientists to discuss new developments in the understanding and control of the non-covalent intermolecular interactions that drive synthetic and catalytic processes.
Oral and poster presentation opportunities are available to all, and we invite you to submit an oral or poster abstract to make your contribution alongside leaders in the field.
On behalf of the organising committee, I look forward to welcoming you to York.
Andrew Weller
University of York and Conference Chair


Faraday Discussions have a special format where primary research papers written by the speakers are distributed to all participants before the meeting, and most of the meeting is devoted to discussing the papers. All delegates at the meeting, not just speakers, have the opportunity to make comments, ask questions, or present complementary or contradictory measurements and calculations during the discussion sessions. In addition, there is a dedicated poster session where further discussion takes place. The research papers and a record of the discussion are published in the Faraday Discussion journal .

Find out more about the Faraday Discussions in the video available.


This meeting aims to bring together researchers from across the physical and life sciences working in the areas of synthesis, materials and catalysis and will be of particular interest to those interested in the mechanisms of both solid-state and solution processes where non-covalent interactions are important. There will be a particular emphasis on understanding and controlling the non-covalent intermolecular interactions that drive synthetic and catalytic processes across a range of length and timescales.  A common theme will be the development of new synthetic, measurement and modelling techniques that can be applied to new areas, with the overall aim of understanding and designing new efficient processes in chemistry, materials and biology. The meeting will embrace topics such as: synthetic methods that allow for control of the non-covalent environment around active sites, how these are identified and quantified, and the consequences of these interactions on structure and catalytic processes (for example rate, stability, selectivity).
The Faraday Discussion will be organised into four interwoven themes to provide a holistic structure that showcases how current scientific and technological developments in the understanding and control of non-covalent interactions can be used to optimise the properties and functions of new catalysts – from across the length scales (i.e. enzyme, homogeneous and heterogeneous catalytic processes).
Make – underpinning concepts of the synthesis of systems where non-covalent interactions are important
In this session we will highlight the underpinning concepts used to synthesise systems where non-covalent interactions are important. The session will encompass systems across the length scales (from molecular to enzymes to extended solids). The key challenges here involve developing our understanding, controlling and then manipulating the various coordination spheres to produce desirable characteristics of the system (i.e. structure/activity relationships).
Measure – understanding of structural and electronic changes occurring within the relevant timescale of catalytic systems
In this session we will develop an understanding of both the structural and electronic changes that occur within the relevant timescale of catalytic systems by measuring the non-covalent interactions present and how these interactions change. Employing complementary in operando techniques simultaneously offers insight that are not possible using a single measurement techniques. The key challenges to be addressed include the structure determination of intermediates, across a wide range of timescales, with a corresponding understanding of electronic states, and the design of in situ measurement cells which are compatible with the necessary measurement and reaction conditions.
Model – state-of-the-art modelling and computational analysis of reactive sites
In this session we will look at understanding the state-of-the-art in modelling and computational analysis of reactive sites and the role that non-covalent interactions play in the dynamic processes that occur in catalytic systems. In particular, the analysis of the ultrafast dynamics of molecules, atoms and electrons; the homogeneous catalysis and metal-mediated organic synthesis; and the mechanical motion of molecular crystals.  The key challenges to be addressed include the modelling of short-lived excited or transient states in photoexcitation processes, transient intermediates in catalytic reaction cycles, modelling the effect of weak and non-covalent interactions on transient states, and applying modelling to species in complex environments, e.g. crystalline frameworks.

Manipulate – techniques to manipulate the surroundings of a synthetic catalyst to control activity and selectivity
In this session we will discuss the manipulation of the surroundings of a synthetic catalyst to control the activity and selectivity displayed by the system using the non-covalent interactions involved. Such an approach mimics the working principles of enzymes, Nature’s catalysts, in which the second coordination sphere around the active site also contributes significantly to the properties of the system. We will address the methodologies to develop second coordination sphere approaches and also the current limitations/opportunities of such techniques. The key challenges to be addressed include the development of the reliable protocols for the synthesis of non-covalent systems and can the selectivity required by second coordination sphere manipulation be reliably achieved?
Abstract Submission

Oral abstracts

Oral abstract submission is now closed.
Submit an oral/paper abstract if you wish to be considered for an oral presentation and associated published paper. A full research paper containing new unpublished results always accompanies oral presentations at Faraday Discussions. 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 21 November 2022.

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

Poster abstract submission is now closed.
Posters are displayed throughout the meeting and a poster session is held on the first evening. Poster prizes will be awarded. 

Additional information

All oral and poster abstracts will be reviewed by the committee. 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.


Planning your trip

We encourage delegates who are planning to attend events in person to arrange suitable travel and accommodation insurance, which should include cover for the postponement or cancellation of travel caused by regulations and guidelines relating to Covid-19. We also recommend considering flexible travel and accommodation booking options where possible.

In-person registration includes:

  • Attendance at all scientific sessions
  • Live interaction with delegates attending virtually
  • Attendance at the poster session
  • Refreshments throughout the meeting and lunch on all three days
  • Attendance at the poster drinks reception on 12 April 2023
  • Attendance at the conference dinner on 13 April 2023
  • Access to all journal paper pdf “pre-prints” before the meeting
  • Access to recordings of all scientific sessions post-event
  • *A copy of the Faraday Discussions journal volume, issued approximately 5 months after the meeting, containing all papers presented at the meeting and accompanying discussion comments.
Please note accommodation is not included in the registration fee.

In-person registration fees are as follows (subject to VAT at the prevailing rate):
Early bird Standard
RSC member* £395 £445
Non-member* £495 £545
Student RSC member £195 £245
Student non-member £245 £295
Accommpanying person £125 £125

Virtual registration includes:
  • Attendance at all scientific sessions via the Royal Society of Chemistry’s virtual conference platform
  • Live interaction with delegates attending in-person and other virtual delegates 
  • Access to all journal paper pdf “pre-prints” before the meeting
  • Access to recordings of all scientific sessions post-event
  • A copy of the Faraday Discussion journal volume, issued approximately 5 months after the meeting, containing all papers presented at the meeting and accompanying discussion comments. 
Virtual registration fees are as follows (subject to VAT at the prevailing rate):
RSC member £235
Non-member £295
Student RSC member £115
Student non-member £145

Student delegates 

In order to encourage undergraduate or postgraduate students to attend the Discussion, a reduced conference fee is available for students. 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 Faraday Discussion journal volume containing papers presented at the Discussion (issued approximately 5 months after the meeting) is not included in the student registration fee. Students may purchase a copy of the volume at less than half price. This discounted price is available to delegates when ordering during the registration process, or orders placed at the meeting where an application form will be made available. 

Accompanying person

If you would like to bring a guest to the conference, this can be done during the registration process. There will be an additional charge which will include all lunches, refreshments and the conference dinner. The fee does not include attendance at any scientific sessions, journal paper pre-prints or the journal volume.


The RSC 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.

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


Researcher development grant

If you are an RSC member and a PhD student or postdoctoral researcher based at a higher education or research institution you are eligible to apply for a Researcher development grant.

This grant can provide up to £500 towards activities that will develop your skills and experience as a researcher, which includes registration fees for virtual conferences.

Applications are processed monthly, with the deadline for each round being the last day of the month, and decisions being sent out by 21 of the following month. Researcher development grants can be applied for in addition to Grants for carers and Assistance grants.

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 2023 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 2023 Faraday Discussion series, please contact the Commercial Sales Department at the Royal Society of Chemistry on Sponsorship Menu
​National Stem Learning Centre

​National Stem Learning Centre, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom

The ​National Stem Learning Centre is within walking distance from York city centre. York is ideally placed with excellent rail links, thanks to the east coast mainline, and close to the M1, M62 and M18.


By train: You can get to York from London in less than two hours with services from both LNER and Grand Central. There are direct services from Birmingham and the South West. TransPennine Express runs direct train services from Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

By bus: A bus service, the number 66, runs from York station to the University approximately every 10 minutes. Alight at the University Library stop. The scheduled journey time is 20 minutes. Find out more about getting around York by bus.

On foot: STEM Learning is located on York University campus. It takes 25-40 minutes to walk from York city centre or York train station.
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