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Graham Hutchings  CBE FRS

Professor Graham Hutchings CBE FRS

Regius Professor of Chemistry

School of Chemistry


  • The study of gold nanocrystals as novel active heterogeneous catalysts and their characterisation.
  • The design of selective oxidation and hydrogenation catalysts and their study using in situ spectroscopy.
  • Designing novel heterogeneous catalysts

































Book sections




  • The study of gold nanocrystals as novel active heterogeneous catalysts and their characterisation.
  • The design of selective oxidation and hydrogenation catalysts and their study using in situ spectroscopy.
  • Designing novel heterogeneous catalysts

Supported gold and gold palladium alloy catalysts have been found to be particularly effective for a number of selective oxidation reactions. Supporting gold on graphite or activated carbon makes catalysts that can oxidise alkenes with molecular oxygen under mild conditions. New gold palladium catalysts have been designed that can be used under inherently safe, non-explosive conditions. The gold palladium nanocrystals have been found to have both core shell structure as well as being homogenous alloys and can give exceptionally high rates of synthesis without making water as a by-product. The same catalysts have been shown to be equally effective for the oxidation of primary alcohols using oxygen under mild solvent-free conditions.   We have found that benzyl alcohol can be oxidised using oxygen under mild reaction conditions (100-160 °C) in the absence of solvent to give benzaldehyde in high selectivity will a yield of over 90%. Other alcohols can also be reacted and, in particular, primary alcohols, which are normally very unreactive can readily be oxidised. This work has been extended to new oxidation target reactions, including hydrocarbon oxidation. We have found that toluene can be selectively oxidized to benzoyl benzoate using supported gold palladium alloy catalysts prepared using a sol-immobilisation method. In addition we have found a non complex method for removing residual ligands that can remain on the surface of metal nanoparticles prepared using the sol- immobilsation method. Research in the group is now actively investigating the oxidation of methane and other alkanes.


Highly efficient catalytic production of oximes from ketones using in situ-generated H2O2; making hydrogen peroxide in situ could improve overall process efficiency for production of key nylon precursor.


Education and Qualifications:
1972 - BSc in Chemistry with First Class Honours, University College London
1975 - PhD in Biological Chemistry, University College London. Supervisor: Prof C Vernon
2002 - DSc (University of London)

Professional Appointments:
1975 - 1984 ICI Petrochemicals Division
1975 - 1978  Technical Officer, Research Department Wilton, Teeside
1978 - 1981  Plant Manager and Production Support manager, Oil Works, Teeside
1981 - 1983  Senior Research Officer, AECI, Modderfontein, S Africa (Seconded)
1983 - 1984  Chief Research Officer, AECI, Modderfontein, S Africa (Seconded)
1984 - 1987  University of Witwatersrand, S Africa
1984 - 1987  Lecturer (1984-6),Senior Lecturer (1986-7)in Chemistry
1987 - Professor 
1987 - 1997  University of Liverpool
1987 - 1994 Assistant Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Innovative Catalysis
1994 - 1997 Deputy Director and Professor
1997 -  present Cardiff University
1997 - 2006 Head of School and Professor of Physical Chemistry
2006 - 2019 Distinguished Research Professor
2008 - 2019 Director: Cardiff Catalysis Institute
2010 - 2012 Pro Vice-Chancellor Research
2016 - present Regius Professor of Chemistry

Honours and awards

Prizes/ Distinctions
*Langmuir Distinguished Lecturer Award, Division of Colloid and Surface,Science, ACS, August 1996.
*Member of the Fachbeirat of the Fritz-Haber-Institut, Berlin, 1999-2015.
*Member of Sasol (South Africa) Heterogeneous Catalysis Advisory Board : 2000-2009.
*Member of NIOK International Review Group 2000, 2006, 2010 (Chair).
*DGMK 2001 – Kolleg Lectureship, Germany, 2001.
*Invited Professor in Residence at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, 2003-4.
*IChemE Entech Medal 2004.
*Appointed RAE panel member for Chemistry (Panel 18) 2005-2008.
*RSC 2004 Award for Heterogeneous Catalysis.
*2006 François Gault Lecturer of the European Federation of Catalysis Societies
*I Chem E Impact Award for Applied Catalysis 2005.
*RSC Green Chemistry Lecturer 2007.
*IChemE Environwise Award for Green Chemistry 2007.
*Winner Dow Methane Challenge 24th January 2008.
*Elected Fellow of the Royal Society 2009
*RSC Award for Surfaces and Interfaces 2009
*I Chem E Sustainability Award 2009
*Appointed chair of SCORE 2010-2013
*Elected member Academia Europaea September 2010
*Elected Founding Fellow Learned Society of Wales
*Appointed REF Panel member and Deputy Chair for Chemistry (Panel B8) 2011-2014.
*Appointed President Elect of the Faraday Division of RSC 2010 President 2012-2015.
*IPMI Henry J. Albert Award 2011
*France Great Britain Chemistry Prize 2011
*Dechema Alvin Mittasch Award 2012
*International Association of Catalysis Societies Heinz Heinemann Award 2012
*Thompson Reuters Citation Laureate September 2012
*Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, Catalysis Society of South Africa, 2013.
*Royal Society Davy Medal 2013
*Dewar Lectureship, Queen Mary College, London.
*Thompson Reuters Most Cited Scientist Award 2014
*Xingda Lecturer University of Peking 2015
*Institute of Chemical Engineering Innovative Product Global Award 2015
*Cardiff University International Impact Award 2016
*Appointed Inaugural Regius Professor of Chemistry, 2016, in honour of the Queen’s 90th Birthday
*C N R Rao Award Lecture Bangalore 2017
*Menelaus Medal of the Learned Society of Wales 2017
*Royal Society of Chemistry Industry-Academia Collaboration Award 2017 for the discovery of the gold catalyst for VCM.
*ENI Award for Advanced Environmental Solutions 2017
*Royal Society of Chemistry Faraday Lectureship Prize 2018
*Appointed CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018
*Zhang Dayu Lecture DICP, China 2018
*Awarded 2019 Distinguished Scientist CAS President's International Fellowship Initiative (PIFI)