Liverpool to lead national NMR network

The University has received funding from the EPSRC, the BBSRC and the MRC to lead, with the Universities of Bristol and Oxford, Connect NMR UK, a nationally endorsed NMR network.

Its aim is to maximise the impact of the UK NMR infrastructures in the physical and life sciences and is supported by more than 200 academics and industrial partners across the UK NMR science.

NMR spectroscopy is arguably the most widely employed tool in materials, chemical and biomolecular research sciences for the study of atomic structure and behaviour. It has a uniquely powerful ability to probe the chemical structure at atomic level, combined with sensitivity to their motions and changes in chemical environment.

The importance of NMR spectroscopy has been recognised by the UKRI’s recent and largest-ever investment of £20 million in NMR spectroscopy in a UK-wide network of NMR spectroscopy facilities in 2018.

Together these and previous significant capital investments made by UK research intensive universities, research councils and medical charities, position the UK at the forefront of NMR technologies and enable a very wide range of scientific investigations to a depth that was previously impossible.

To ensure maximisation of the value of the UK NMR infrastructures, the community has organised itself to establish, Connect NMR UK, a national NMR network in the physical and life sciences, integrating the three main existing interdisciplinary communities (UK solid-state NMR; liquid-state, biological NMR; UK NMR managers group) and two learned societies (Royal Society of Chemistry NMR Discussion Group; Institute of Physics Magnetic Resonance Group) and connecting all of these NMR facilities through a central web portal, annual discussion forum, workshops and training scholarships.

This will ensure that the community links the NMR solutions provided by the latest instrumentation and personnel, centred around the very- and ultra-high field NMR facilities, with the challenges being tackled by the UK’s leading scientists.

Providing these scientists with access to the cutting edge capabilities, sharing knowledge from the experts in these NMR facilities with the wider UK scientific community and exchanging best practice between the experts will ensure maximum value is obtained from the UKRI research council investment.

Dr. Frédéric Blanc from the Department of Chemistry said “I am delighted by the investment of EPSRC, BBSRC and the MRC in this national network that is engaging a very broad membership from all the UK NMR community. This timely initiative will contribute to ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of NMR science and its application, and demonstrates the commitment of the community itself to maintain a world class research environment.”

The mechanisms in place to maximise the impact of the UK NMR infrastructures will focus on building a web portal and working with a UK NMR research network manager to facilitate knowledge of, and access to, UK NMR infrastructures and capabilities coupled with the organisation of workshops, training and an annual forum to increase and share knowledge base, promoting usage of the most advanced NMR technologies.

Funding will be available to the community for activities and includes travel bursaries for Principal Investigators, Postdoc and PhD students for training activities.

A UK NMR research network manager position is available at the University of Liverpool to organise and coordinate the network activities of Connect NMR UK, and is an excellent opportunity for an NMR expert with great people skills.

Follow the network on Twitter at @ConnectNMRUK