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4th Retrosynthesis Competition

SnaAZzy Synthesisers, the winning team at 4th Retrosynthesis Competition.

28 Mar 2017

On Friday 10 March 2017, SCI in Belgrave Square, London, hosted the final of 4th National Retrosynthesis Competition, a celebration of organic chemistry. This event was jointly organised by members of SCI’s Fine Chemicals Group, SCI’sYoung Chemists’ Panel and RSC’s Heterocyclic and Synthesis Group, under the leadership of Dr Rob Wybrow of Syngenta, UK.

From ~40 teams who entered the preliminary round in December 2016, 10 were selected for the final by the judging panel, Dr Ross Denton (University of Nottingham), Professor Paul Davies (University of Birmingham), Dr Robin Attrill (GSK) and Dr Sharan Bagal (AstraZeneca). The finalists were drawn from a broad cross-section of chemistry-based organisations, universities and academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies, CROs, and agrochemicals.

At the final, teams presented their synthetic strategies for the as yet un-synthesized natural product, eucalrobusone D (DOI: 10.1002/chem.201601732), and answered questions from the audience and judges challenging their reasoning and route selection. The winning team was SnaAZzy Synthesisers from AstraZeneca and the runners up were Dysfunctional Group from the University of St Andrews, with We Mean Bismuth from the University of Oxford taking third place. Special commendation from the judges was also made to Chapel Team from Concept Life Sciences (previously Peakdale Molecular) for a valiant effort.

The organising committee would like to thank all the teams who entered the competition for their contributions as well as the judges, guests, attendees, sponsors and exhibitors for their significant input into the event. We would particularly like to thank SCI for their generous support for this year’s competition, which included the donation of a year’s membership to all the members of the winning team and e-memberships to the runners-up. Based upon enthusiastic positive feedback from participants and special guests on the day, the competition was hugely successful, underlining the key central importance of synthetic organic chemistry in both fundamental and applied research in the UK.

Taking that positive momentum forwards, the organising committee has already begun their planning for 5th National Retrosynthesis Competition, to be held in early March 2018. For further details on the next competition, follow us on Twitter @SCIUpdate @UKRetroComp and LinkedIn.

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