Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - IONIC LIQUIDS (Training in industrial applications of ionic liquids for sustainable chemistry)

The principal aim of QUILL was to explore, develop, and understand the role of ionic liquids as media for industrially relevant chemistry and to provide all the physical and chemical engineering data necessary in order to facilitate the design and operation of a pilot plant. Therefore the fellows (depending on their individual requirements) all had the opportunity to be trained not only in the preparation, analysis, and industrial applications of ionic liquids but also in reaction optimisation, computational techniques, spectroscopic techniques and engineering considerations. This training was carried out under the guidance of academics and industrialists and with the readily available expertise of chemical engineers, physical, inorganic, organic, pharmaceutical and computational chemists. Training at QUILL gave the fellows the unique chance to work in an industry-university collaborative centre.

There are currently fourteen industrial members of the QUILL consortium, thus the fellows were able to draw on a vast amount of knowledge, experience and resources in a wide variety of fields. The current members (listed alphabetically) are BP, Chevron, Cristal, Cytec, Eastman Company, Givaudan,, Invista, Merck, Petronas, Procter & Gamble, Sachem, Shell, Strata Technologies Ltd and UOP.

The QUILL Centre is part of the school of chemistry and chemical engineering at Queen's university Belfast and, when originally built, was composed of six laboratories, an instrument room and a computer room. During August 2007 to February 2008 QUILL underwent a major expansion and refurbishment and is now composed of 8 (larger and better equipped) laboratories, two instrument rooms, an (open access) computer room and a suite of offices / meeting rooms for general use. This refurbishment was essential to the growth of the centre and was not only hugely beneficial but also unavoidable and could not, in any way, be postponed. Unfortunately, this only added to our already frustrating problem of not being able to fill all of our allocated fellow-months as we were now limited (by space and services) to the number of fellows that we could accommodate at QUILL. From the beginning of the project it became obvious that filling the long-term fellowships (anything over six months) was going to prove difficult. Recruitment in general was very difficult, despite constant advertising by various means, however the six month fellowships were, by far, much easier to fill. Eventually we had to resort to offering a six month fellowship with the hope that the fellows would opt to extend. This indeed is what happened on two occasions: Cristina Paun extended her fellowship twice so that by the end of her fellowship she had been with us for 20 months and Marijana Blesic (who was unable to extend her fellowship as she had other commitments) returned to QUILL for a second fellowship of 3 months.

Despite these problems we have found the project to be very successful in terms of the quality of the fellows that have been recruited and from seeing the enjoyment and experience that they have gained from their time at QUILL. A good indication of this is that three of the fellows, Eva Boros, Cristina Paun and Marijana Blesic, have all returned to QUILL in another capacity on a full-time basis.

Without failure, all of the fellows have expressed how valuable their time at QUILL has been to them and the vast majority have shown a genuine desire to return. As QUILL continues to grow we are regularly recruiting for new (post-doctoral) researchers and we very much hope that there will be an opportunity for many of the Fellows to return as we know them to be excellent and conscientious researchers with a genuine interest in the field of ionic liquids.

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The Quill centre, David Keir building, Stranmillis road
United Kingdom