The development of Chemistry as a separate department at the University of Oxford began in earnest in 1860, with the building of its own dedicated laboratory. Since that time, Oxford Chemistry has grown into one of the largest and most highly-regarded chemistry departments in the world, both with respect to teaching and research.
Supported by around 900 researchers in 3 major laboratory buildings, world-class facilities, and approximately £75 million in funding per year, the research activities of the department truly span the length and breadth of the field of chemistry. Particularly in the field of energy, research extends outwards from a core of fundamental research to a myriad of real-world energy applications. In recent years, commercialization efforts initiated by members of the department have resulted in 11 new companies, including several which undergone successful IPOs.
Notable examples of successful energy-related research at Oxford Chemistry include the discovery of electrode materials for the first commercially-viable lithium ion batteries and the development of catalysts and microreactor technology for the production of liquid fuels from non-conventional feedstocks.
The department engages in major collaborations with other departments at Oxford, with other UK and international universities, as well as with numerous industrial partners.
In 2010, Oxford Chemistry has received planning approval for a new Chemistry Research Laboratory, which will not only greatly expand the technical capabilities of the department, but has ambitions to be the greenest and most energy-efficient building of its type in the world.