Biocatalysis Faraday Discussion

22 - 24 May 2024, London, United Kingdom



Join us for this edition of the Faraday Discussion series. The Faraday Discussions are unique international discussion meetings that address current and emerging topics at the forefront of the physical sciences.

This meeting is for established and early-career scientists, postgraduate students and industrial researchers working on various aspects of biocatalysis. It will be of interest to researchers working in the areas of enzyme design, protein engineering and catalyst optimization, both in industry and academia, and will provide the opportunity to identify opportunities and challenges, share expertise and advance knowledge at the frontiers of this rapidly developing area.

On behalf of the organising committee, we look forward to welcoming you to London, or if you are joining us virtually, online.

Adrian Mulholland and Nick Turner


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.


Biocatalysis, a rapidly evolving field with increasing impact in synthesis, chemical manufacturing and medicine, is being transformed by advances in biophysical and computational techniques. It is expanding into new areas of chemistry, facilitated by de novo protein design, directed evolution, incorporation of new catalytic functionality into proteins, genetic data, developing spectroscopic and structural techniques, and informed by modelling, machine learning and artificial intelligence. The four themes of this Discussion will unite researchers working in different fields (for example synthetic biology, computational chemistry and mechanistic organic and organometallic chemistry) to improve our understanding of enzyme catalytic power with a view to engineering hybrid and artificial enzymes.

Enzyme evolution, engineering and design: mechanism and dynamics
This session will focus on understanding the effects of directed evolution on biocatalysts, the practical application of directed evolution, and understanding and overcoming the limitations of protein design and directed evolution. Specifically it will include: incorporation of simulation with protein design and directed evolution into protocols for biocatalyst development and optimization; integration of structurally detailed mechanistic models into biocatalyst design and engineering; predicting and evaluating effects of mutations in silico; biocatalyst discovery and optimization; tailoring of enzymes to specific reaction environments; creating de novo catalytic activities; role of the enzyme scaffold and scaffold engineering; entropy, enthalpy and activation heat capacity in thermoadaptation; biocatalyst screening; data mining and combining catalytic and biological (e.g. genetic and structural) data; stability-activity trade-offs; development of experimental and computational assays for biocatalysis activity.

Biocatalytic pathways, cascades, cells and systems
This session will consider the compatibility of biocatalysts in natural (e.g. cellular) systems and how to integrate biocatalysts into practical processes, taking efficiency and environmental impact into account. Relevance to clean energy and achieving a net zero economy. Cleaner cofactor recycling for biocatalytic chemical synthesis. Whole cell cofactor regeneration. Sustainable synthesis. Environmental aspects. Engineering of metabolic pathways. Effects of cellular stress. Reaction optimization. Enzyme immobilization. Nanoreactors (e.g. lipid based). Biocatalytic retrosynthesis. Scale-up of processes. Opportunities to develop and optimise productive continuous flow processes in targeted catalytic reactions integrated with efficient product separation. Robustness of cascade/flow processes. In operando techniques for biocatalyst interrogation. Challenges of poorly water soluble substrates. Integrated chemo-enzymatic syntheses. Multiphase (liquid-liquid, solid-liquid) systems. Development of ‘toolboxes’ of biocatalysts primed for application and directed evolution.

Biocatalysis for industry, medicine and the circular economy
This session will explore challenges in developing industrial applications, including the need to accelerate predictions of activity from the sequence; library screening; identification and optimization of enzyme stability for practical process application and optimal lifetime; comparison of all aspects of biocatalytic and equivalent chemocatalytic processes to quantify sustainability/economic differences; the development of process design methods for efficient implementation of the biocatalytic alternatives in industrial applications, and linking these effectively to chemocatalytic processes.

Artificial, biomimetic and hybrid enzymes
This session will focus on the development of hybrid biocatalysts, incorporating features of natural proteins. Specifically, it will cover: the design, development and practical catalytic application of non-natural protein catalysts and biomimetic catalysts; comparison of artificial metalloprotein catalysts with natural metalloenzymes; control of reactivity and appropriate reaction conditions; metal recovery; optimization by chemogenetic methods to improve activity and selectivity of artificial metalloenzymes; links to protein design; scaffold and framework effects; directed evolution of protein biocatalysts containing unnatural amino acids; biomimetic organocatalysts. 
Abstract Submission

Oral Abstracts - deadline extended until 25 September

A full research paper containing new unpublished results always accompanies oral presentations at Faraday Discussions. 

Papers must be submitted by 8 January 2024 and be full research papers with a significant amount of new, unpublished work. 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 11 March 2024. 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

Researcher Development Grant and Travel Grants

If you are an RSC Member and you are one of the following
  • A PhD student; 
  • An academic researcher within 10 years of completion of a PhD (including postdoctoral researchers); 
  • Working in the industry within 10 years of leaving full-time education or; 
  • A technician within 10 years of leaving full-time education.
  • You can apply for up to £500 to support your participation in this event.

Please note it is not necessary to have confirmation of abstract acceptance before applying for a Researcher Development and Travel Grant and we encourage you to apply as early as possible. This Grant is open for 11 months of the year – January to November. 

Applicants must apply for activities occurring at least 2 months from the end of your application month. Please see the website for up-to-date information on eligibility, how to apply and submission deadlines.

Researcher Development and Travel 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 £1200/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).
The Royal Society of Chemistry

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

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A selection of sponsorship opportunities is available for companies who would like to promote their activities at the 2024 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 2024 Faraday Discussion series, please contact the Commercial Sales Department at the Royal Society of Chemistry on
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