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The University of Southampton

Southampton professor praised by Royal Society of Chemistry for advancing exploration of ‘Open Chemistry’

Published: 3 September 2021
Professor Jeremy Frey
Professor Jeremy Frey is Head of Computational Systems Chemistry at Southampton.

A collaborative response during the pandemic to enhance the use of chemical information has been recognised with an Inspirational Committee Award by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

The RSC Chemical Information and Computer Applications Group (CICAG), supported by the University of Southampton’s Professor Jeremy Frey, launched an Open Chemistry series and transitioned to virtual meetings in the growth of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All areas of chemistry, from drug discovery to the development of novel materials, require access to chemical information, chemical data and the methods and technologies to build models from this data to predict and rationalise chemical discovery. Such discoveries would not be of much use without the dissemination of these ideas and community involvement.

CICAG is a RSC special interest group that supports users of chemical information, data and computer applications by promoting the latest developments in these areas, as well as tools and techniques for handling chemical information. The group runs scientific and educational events to keep members informed and connected.

At short notice, CICAG transitioned from physical to online meetings, developing a series of virtual events and workshops that explored the benefits, risks and likely future developments associated with open chemistry.

Announcing its 2021 prize-winners, the RSC explains: “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CICAG sub-committee formed a team that engendered collaboration, building on each other's strengths, to come up with new, exciting –  but also workable – ideas for its members to interact.”

Professor Frey, CICAG secretary, says: “I was very surprised by this award and know that everyone who worked on this project is honoured by the recognition by the RSC of the way we were able to pivot our meeting to be online and expand the reach and diversity of the conference.”

Professor Frey is Head of Computational Systems Chemistry at Southampton and Principal Investigator for the AI for Scientific Discovery Network. His experimental research probes molecular organisation in environments from single molecules in molecular beams to liquid interfaces using laser spectroscopy from the IR to soft X-rays. He investigates how e-Science infrastructure supports scientific research with an emphasis on the way digital infrastructure can enhance the intelligent creation, dissemination and analysis of scientific data.

This work blends with his computational and theoretical interests focussing on chemical informatics for the prediction of chemical properties making use of AI and Machine Learning as well as developments in modern mathematical ideas.

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