Dr Paul Davies

Dr Paul Davies

School of Chemistry
Reader in Organic Chemistry
Senior Admissions Tutor

Contact details

School of Chemistry
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Paul Davies runs an active research group focused in the areas of synthesis and catalysis. For more information on his research, please visit the Davies Group webpages.


• PhD in Chemistry 2003, Bristol University
• MChem in Chemistry with Year In Industry 1999, University of Sheffield


After completing his PhD at Bristol in 2003 under the supervision of Professor Varinder Aggarwal (FRS), Paul then moved to the Max Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung (Mülheim, Germany) working with Professor Alois Fürstner. In 2006, Paul was appointed Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at the University of Birmingham. In 2019 he was awarded a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Fellowship ane he is a Reader in Organic Chemistry.


Core courses taught in the undergraduate BSc and MSci Chemistry programme include:
• CHM1C3: Structure, Representation and Isomerism, Year 1 core module.
• CHM2C3: Synthesis and Mechanism - Reactive Intermediates; Year 2 core module.
• CHM4M2-III: Modern Methods in Synthesis - Transition-Metal Catalysis; Year 4 module.

In addition to full lectures and seminars, other regular teaching activities include:
• Small group tutorials.
• Undergraduate teaching lab and BSc/MSci project supervision.

Postgraduate supervision

Paul runs an active, vibrant and multinational research group and is interested in supervising doctoral research students in any area under his research interests:
For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.


Our research activities are centred in molecular synthesis and catalysis and cover fundamental studies into reactivity and structure across to applied preparation of compounds.  By developing new transformations and more general reactions we aim to offer more efficient and elegant synthetic routes, thus reducing the time, effort, cost and waste associated with the preparation of complex molecules. With catalytic methods being ideally suited to the task of imparting novel reactivity and high selectivity under mild conditions their use is integral to our work. Our interests span organic, organometallic, coordination, functional materials and medicinal chemistry.

A particular focus of our group concerns the use of precious metal catalysts, particularly those based on gold. We have a number of projects in this area ranging from exploring the unique properties of gold in chemical reactivity, to designing gold catalysts with enhanced properties to achieve more sustainable use of precious metal in molecular synthesis.

Research areas include:

  • Reaction discovery and development.
  • Catalyst design.
  • Mechanistic studies.
  • Structure-led investigation of polyfunctional organic materials.
  • Target-driven and diversity-oriented synthesis of biologically-relevant compounds.

Further information can be found at the Davies research group web pages.

Other activities

  • Appointed Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry Organic Division Council (2018-21)

Paul was previously:

  • Elected Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry Organic Division Council (2015-18)
  • Chair of the Young Chemists Panel, Society of Chemical Industry (2014-2016)


Selected Recent Publications (See group pages for a full list)

  • Divergent C-H Insertion-Cyclization Cascades of N-Allyl Ynamides;  H. V. Adcock, E. Chatzopoulou, P. W. Davies,* Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015: DOI: 10.1002/anie.201507167R2.

View all publications in research portal


The construction of organic molecules; use of catalysis to design new strategies to build molecules; pharmaceutical development.

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