Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ECHONET Report Summary

Project ID: 316379
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: United Kingdom

Final Report Summary - ECHONET (Expanding Capability in Heterocyclic Organic Synthesis)

Overview and overall objectives:

ECHONET offers research training in state-of-the-art chemical synthesis, catalysis, computational chemistry, bioactive molecule design and high throughput library synthesis on both solid phase and flow platforms. Through integration of the complementary, interdisciplinary and intersectorial expertise of the associated partners, and the secondments of researchers to the associated partners, this ITN will help to strengthen Europe’s human resources in the fine chemical, agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries. The researchers are supervised and mentored by internationally recognised experts and have access to state-of-the-art equipment. Hands-on training is supplemented by formal training courses in relevant and related fields, and a wide variety of complementary training courses, summer schools and seminars. ECHONET researchers benefit from secondments to industrial partners, gaining exposure to commercial and complementary environments. The primary goal of this network is to create a highly skilled body of young researchers capable of internationally competitive research in the development of small molecule compounds. The main research objective is to apply and develop new methodology that can be utilised to prepare novel compounds for application as agrochemicals, agrochemical intermediates and bioactive compounds. The dedicated research programme has been carried out by 9 early stage researchers (ESRs) and 3 experienced researcher (ERs) all gaining full access to the combined expertise of all partner institutions. The extensive training programme was based around many exchange visits between the partners and benefits from 5 project workshops, 3 schools, and one final conference open for participation for the whole scientific community. The ECHONET ESRs and ER benefited from outstanding training experience, through extensive technical and complementary skills development.

Progress and results:

The ECHONET network’s research programme has focused on the development of novel synthetic methods for the preparation and functionalization of complex heterocyclic compounds and the exploitation of state-of-the-art high throughput methods for the synthesis of functionalized compounds of relevance to the agrochemicals sector.

Small bioactive molecules will continue to play an important role in addressing areas relating to health and food security that are of critical concern to the EU, it is therefore important that new actions are developed that support and grow the knowledge base in this area. In this context, the ECHONET consortium has been actively seeking to employ its expertise in chemical synthesis of small molecules in several ways. Specifically, 3 ESR fellows have been conducting investigations towards the synthesis of high value aromatic molecules. These compounds have been heavily used in industry over the past decades with much success, and the generation of new analogues provides a platform for new advances in these areas based on well-established principles. A number of successful novel approaches to these compounds have already been achieved by the consortium, leading to a large number of new chemical entities. A further 5 fellows have focused their efforts towards the development of efficient methods for the synthesis of more complex intermediates. Such compounds require control of 3D shape and have led to the generation of several intermediates of potential biological interest. Finally, the synthetic efforts have been supported and guided by 1 ESR who has employed computational methods to develop a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms that promote these chemical reactions and lead to controlled molecular assembly. The network has also been supported by 3 ERs who have developed heteroaromatic synthesis and functionalisations that have cross-sector and interdisciplinary relevance, delivering bioactive compounds and fluorescent molecules.

ECHONET final results and Impact:

This ECHONET action has delivered several new methods for the synthesis of high value compounds, many of which have been tested by our partner at Bayer CropScience. is the network has also taken the opportunity to extend the state-of-the-art in new chemical processes (e.g. flow chemistry) that has offered significant collaboration opportunities and new learnings for both Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) and Experienced Researchers (ERs). The fellows also organised and presented at a final conference that featured several academics who are leaders in the field. Overall therefore, all fellows received a unique combination of training opportunities that will allow them to better understand how new technologies can be exploited for the benefit of society.

With respect to the wider socio-economic impact, a key strength of ECHONET was the input of industrial organisations at both full network and associated partner levels. The experiential training included opportunities cutting across all sectors of the field, from SMEs to multi-national companies, via many stages of the supply chain. Therefore, the fellows received a unique combination of training opportunities that will allow them to better understand how new technologies can be exploited for the benefit of society.

Contact details:
Prof. Joseph Harrity


Reported by

United Kingdom


Life Sciences
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