Dr Adam Clayton

Dr Adam Clayton


Academic Positions

  • University Academic Fellow, School of Chemical and Process Engineering & School of Chemistry, University of Leeds, UK (2022-present)

Research Positions

  • Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow (2022-2027)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Leeds, UK (2020-2022)


  • PhD, Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Leeds, UK (2016-2020)
  • MChem (Hons), Chemistry, University of Huddersfield, UK (2012-2016)


I graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a First in Chemistry (MChem), during which I:
(i) conducted a one-year placement in the lab of Prof. Joe Sweeney, developing novel catalytic methods for late-stage functionalisation of drug-like molecules;
(ii) undertook a final year research project under the supervision of Dr Duncan Gill, developing new approaches for the total synthesis of spiroquinazoline alkaloids.

In 2020, I completed my PhD (AstraZeneca CASE studentship) in Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Leeds, where I continued as a postdoctoral research associate until 2022, supervised by Prof. Richard Bourne. My doctoral and postdoctoral research were focused on the development of self-optimising systems, carried out in collaboration with multinational pharmaceutical companies (AstraZeneca, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, UCB).

I am currently a University Academic Fellow at the University of Leeds, where I am working on the autonomous development of multistep continuous flow syntheses and telescoped catalytic reactions.

Research interests

Pharmaceutical manufacturing typically uses batch processing at multiple locations, resulting in a large carbon footprint. My research interests focus on designing and applying new digital technologies to accelerate the development of more sustainable chemical processes, with particular interest in multistep continuous flow synthesis and telescoped catalytic reactions.

Fellowship: Autonomous Development of Telescoped Catalytic Reactions – RAEng

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Chemical and Process Engineering
  • MChem in Chemistry

Student education

I am involved in teaching Process Technologies and Organic Chemistry courses. I also supervise undergraduate Chemistry projects in the area of Continuous Flow and Process Optimisation. 

Professional recognition: Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA)

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute for Process Research and Development
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/1387-sustainable-pharmaceutical-manufacturing:-autonomous-development-of-telescoped-catalytic-reactions">Sustainable Pharmaceutical Manufacturing: Autonomous Development of Telescoped Catalytic Reactions</a></li>