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The University of Southampton

Professor Jonathan Essex announced as new Head of Chemistry

Published: 17 June 2020
Professor Jonathan Essex
Professor Jonathan Essex holds an international reputation for computer simulation methodology

Molecular modelling expert Professor Jonathan Essex has been named as the new Head of Chemistry at the University of Southampton.

The Professor of Computational Systems Chemistry, who has been based at the University for over 25 years, replaces Professor Gill Reid who will complete her term as Head of School at the end of July.

He inherits a high-performing School that was ranked joint first for research intensity in the Complete University Guide 2021 and sixth in the Russell Group for satisfaction with teaching in The Guardian University Guide 2020.

“It’s a huge privilege to be appointed as the new Head of Chemistry,” Jon says. “Southampton is one of the best places in the UK for chemistry, with a distinguished history in delivering advances in education, research and enterprise, and considerable success in raising research funding from the UK, EU and further afield. I’m very excited to get started as we build on our strengths and identify the opportunities for moving forward.”

Jon has developed an international reputation for computer simulation methodology in the study of organic and biological molecules. He was awarded the 2002 Marlow Medal from the Royal Society of Chemistry for his work developing techniques and applications of molecular simulations, together with a 2013 Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.

He is an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Computer Aided Molecular Design and BMC Chemistry. In addition, he serves on the Management Board of CCPBioSim, a collaborative chemistry project dedicated to biomolecular computer simulations, is a member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) college, and served on the Project Working Group for the procurement of HECToR, one of the UK’s former supercomputers.

Chemistry at Southampton is finalising a £12m investment in its facilities, which includes a complete renovation of its teaching laboratories.

This refurbishment will ensure students benefit from an outstanding educational experience, working in modern, state-of-the-art teaching spaces. Students will be able to work with the same facilities and equipment that are used in modern chemical laboratories, preparing them for future employment. The refurbishment delivers on the School and University strategy for increased environmental sustainability through reduced water usage and better energy efficiency, thanks to improved thermal insulation and the country’s first variable air volume and wind responsive extraction in a teaching laboratory.

The School holds an Athena SWAN Silver Award, recognising its continuing efforts to advance gender equality, and provides unique support to the UK research base through the EPSRC National X-ray Crystallography Service. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 found that 100% of chemistry research was world-leading or internationally excellent for the research environment provided to staff and students.

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