Sustainable nitrogen activation Faraday Discussion

27 - 29 March 2023, London, United Kingdom



Join us in London, or online, in 2023 for this edition of the Faraday Discussion series. For over 100 years and 300 meetings, Faraday Discussions have been the forefront of advancing the chemical sciences, and many of the Discussions have become landmark meetings in their field. The unique format of the Faraday Discussions allows for in-depth discussions and opportunities to establish new collaborations.

This Discussion will focus on the development of more sustainable routes to ammonia production. It is aimed at all researchers working in the area, including established and early-career scientists, post-graduate students and industrial researchers. Oral and poster presentation opportunities are available to all these groups, and I 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 London, or if you are joining us virtually, online. There will be a session of online-only activities on Friday 24 March, including discussion rooms on the themes of the meeting and an online poster session – I hope to see you there.
Justin Hargreaves


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 journal Faraday Discussions.

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


Industrial scale ammonia synthesis, as accomplished by the Haber Bosch Process, was a landmark achievement of the 20th Century. However, as currently practiced, including feedstock generation, the process accounts for 1-2% of global energy demand and contributes significant fossil fuel based CO2 emissions. Accordingly, there is much contemporary interest in the development of more sustainable ammonia synthesis routes which could, for example, be operated on the local scale employing renewable energy. The four themes of this discussion will unite different research communities around a topic of mutual interest and great societal importance and particular emphasis will be placed upon the transfer of learning between the different themes.

Heterogeneous catalytic and chemical looping routes to N2 activation
This session will target fundamental understanding of N2 activation and its enhancement, integrating theory and experiment to understand the reaction mechanism and develop catalytic materials operating by, for example, associative pathways and those which circumvent the limitations of traditional catalysts. Approaches to the design of novel catalytic systems will be explored, including the development of chemical looping reagents and the emerging area of plasma-based catalytic routes for ammonia synthesis.

Electrocatalytic and photocatalytic routes to N2 activation
This session will consider two major challenges in the area of electrocatalytic N2 activation – the elimination of false positives in relation to obtaining reliable and reproducible data and the suppression of the competing hydrogen evolution reaction in relation to the nitrogen reduction reaction. The session will also consider photocatalytic N2 activation, with a focus on performance enhancement via defect engineering, enhanced light harvesting, increased understanding of structure(morphology)-activity relationships and suppression of competing pathways.

Enzymatic N2 activation
This session will relate to enhanced understanding of enzymatic N2 activation, particularly the detail of the mechanistic pathways used in nature and how an understanding of this can inform the identification of new systems and approaches for N2 activation. The session will consider the nature of the rate determining step, the role of protein environment and the interstitial carbon and the nature of electron transfer being topics of discussion. The structure-activity relationship will also be considered, with areas such as the effect of amino acid substitution (with parallels to ligand design as mentioned below for homogeneous systems) being investigated.

Homogeneous N2 activation
This session will cover experimental and computational approaches to homogeneous and biomimetic N2 activation systems. The focus will be on mechanistic studies, pathway development, identification of novel ligands, in terms of both electronic and steric influences extending across a range of systems, the design of novel systems with boosted proton coupled electron transfer, the optimisation of solvent systems and acidity, suppression of competitive hydrogen producing pathways and the design of novel bi- and multi-metallic systems. The interplay and importance of associative and dissociative pathways will be discussed.

Abstract Submission

Oral abstracts

Oral abstract submission is now closed.
A full research paper containing new unpublished results always accompanies oral presentations at Faraday Discussions. Submit an oral/paper abstract by 25 July 2022 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 7 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.
Submit your poster abstract by 23 January 2023. Posters are displayed throughout the meeting and a poster session is held on the first evening. A poster prize will be awarded to the best poster presented by a student at the conference.

Additonal 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. 

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.

Registration is now closed.

In-person registration includes:
  • Attendance at all scientific sessions, including the pre-conference online sessions on Friday 24 March
  • Live interaction with delegates attending virtually
  • Attendance at the poster session and access to the virtual poster gallery
  • Refreshments throughout the meeting and lunch on all three days
  • Attendance at the poster drinks reception on 27 March 2023
  • Attendance at the conference dinner on 28 March 2023
  • Access to all journal paper pdf “pre-prints” before the meeting
  • Access to recordings of all scientific sessions post-event
  • Free Affiliate membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry for you to benefit from
  • *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, including the pre-conference online sessions on Friday 24 March
  • Live interaction with delegates attending in-person and other virtual delegates
  • Access to the virtual poster gallery and exhibitor/sponsor virtual rooms
  • 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.
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 participation at conferences, either in-person or virtual.

Applications are processed monthly, with the deadline for each round being the last day of the month, and decisions being sent out by the 21st 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
The Royal Society of Chemistry

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

The Burlington House (Royal Academy) courtyard is located on the north side of Piccadilly, directly across the street from Fortnum and Mason. The Royal Society of Chemistry is located on the right hand side of the Burlington House courtyard.


By underground: The nearest stations are Green Park or Piccadilly Circus; both are a 5-minute walk to the venue. If you use Green Park please leave via Piccadilly Northside and look for the Royal Academy entrance, turn left out of the station, you will see the red flags of Burlington House ahead of you.

By train: London Kings Cross, London Liverpool Street or London Victoria train stations are the most accessible and then require a short tube journey to the venue You can take either the Piccadilly or Victoria line to Green Park or Piccadilly tube stations and only the Victoria line to Green Park from Victoria station

By coach: National Express operates a comprehensive coach service to most parts of the country from Victoria Coach Station, 164 Buckingham Palace Road, Sw1W 9TP
National Express coaches:
Megabus low-cost coach tickets:
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