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Professor Sylvia Draper

Professor (Chemistry)

Professor (CRANN)

Prof. Sylvia Draper graduated in Chemistry from the University of Exeter (1:1) in 1988. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1991, working with Dr. C. Housecroft on 'Boron Butterfly Clusters'. Since 1993, after a short PD fellowship with Prof. D. Cardin, Sylvia has worked as a lecturer, fellow and now Professor in Inorganic and Synthetic Materials Chemistry in Trinity College Dublin. Sylvia'a career represents many firsts, the most current being her appointment as secretary to the Royal Irish Academy's (RIA) Mathematics and Physical Sciences Committee. She was the first Trinity recipient of both a Provost Teaching Award and a National Award for the Integration of Research Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) in 2008. She is heavily engaged in student-led teaching and scholarship and has been nominated by students for the Provost's teaching award annually since its inception. She has held several senior management positions as Head of Discipline in Inorganic and Synthetic Materials from 2003-11 and as Head of the School of Chemistry from 2013-17. In 2017 she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). This was in recognition of her contribution to the discipline and of her role as the sole Irish representative on the Society's Dalton Division Council and several of its award committees. She is currently the Irish Representative on the RSC Heads of Chemistry UK standing committee and the Chair of its local Irish section (the first female to hold this position). She is passionate about the public promotion of science (RTE 1 Pat Kenny, Sean O'Rourke, Newstalk) and continues to work closely with the Higher Education Authority (Leaving Certificate Assessment) and others, on matters of educational policy and outreach. She has a number of educational publications and is an active contributor to RTE Brain Storm, a platform for public engagement in science. A strong advocate for Trinity, Sylvia has been on a number of senior appointment, selection and review committees both internal and external to College. She is currently the Chair of the College Library and Information Policy Committee, a role which has involved her in furthering the strategic objectives of its library and IT academic support services. She is an active researcher, a founding member of CRANN and co-PI in AMBER 2 and an discipline expert and reviewer (recently concluding an 8 year stint on the European Research Council's starter and collaborator PE5 award panels). In 2018 Sylvia was awarded the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland's prestigious David Brown award 'in recognition of [her] outstanding contribution to inorganic chemistry both nationally and internationally. She also became the proud supervisor of the RIA's Chemistry Ph.D. graduate of the year. 2018 also saw her spear-head a successful Dublin bid to host the 47th Inorganic Coordination Chemistry Conference. This is one of the longest standing and most highly respected conferences in field of inorganic chemistry. In 2018 she was re-elected for a second 4 year term as a fellow's representative on the Board of the College. Sylvia sits of several College Boards including that of the Trinity Translational Medicine Institute. She has been an advocate for action in the area of gender, equality and diversity throughout her career. She Chairs the School of Chemistry's Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team and has been a vocal contributor to the College's Athena SWAN Committee through which she has been driving institutional change in this area.
 Compound Interest: Multiple Outputs from Light-emitting materials
 When Chemistry Stacks-Up: A Bottom-Up Approach To Functional Molecular Graphenes
 New Polyaromatic Thiophenes as Opto-Electronic Switches
 HEA PRTL4 Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology
 Non-Linear Optics: An Evaluation of New Push-Pull Thienyl and Ferrocenyl Complexes using EFISH and HR Technique

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Details Date
Invited member of international and national research programme assessment panels: 2018 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (IF) (approx 30 proposals). (2018) Foundation for Polish Science, Interdisciplinary Panel of Experts, First Team Programme (30 proposals and interviews) European Research Council ERC-PE5 (2011, 2013 starter and consolidator awards, 2015 - 2018 starter awards) (approximately 280 proposals and 180 interviews) European Research Council ERC-PE5 external post-award reviewer e.g. Advanced Award 2016. Panel Review for Enterprise Ireland international collaborator scheme (2006-2009)(90 proposals) EU evaluator FP6/FP7 MC networks (2010) (3 proposals). L'Oreal Women of Science (2011-13) (15 proposals).
The Irish Representative (elected by RoI Heads of School) on the Royal Society of Chemistry's Heads of Chemistry UK standing committee. This committee meets bi-annually. Its remit is to set the agenda of the HCUK meetings (2 per annum). It provides expert input and advise on UK governmental science policy e.g. EPSRC funding processes, opinion and consultation documents on Open-Science, gender and diversity, Chemical Safety, and the implementation of Research and Teaching Excellence Frameworks. It is an independent body representing the interests of departments engaged in chemical education, scholarship and research in universities and similar institutions throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. With 72 members from UK and Irish 3rd level institutions it is a key stakeholder group in higher education. 2015
Referee for R.S.C., A.C.S., Wiley, Elsevier and Nature journals: e.g. J. Am. Chem. Soc., Chem. Eur. J., Chem. Commun., Adv. Mater., Dalton Trans., Inorg. Chem., Organometallics, Polyhedron, Cryst. Eng. Comm. , J. Chem. Ed., RSC Advances, Nature Materials, Nature Communications,
External Examiner for Chemistry Undergraduate degree programmes in University College Cork. Reviewing/correcting examination papers, making recommendations on viva candidates, curriculum development. Retained on request for additional 1 year of office. First female UG external examiner in the history of the School. 2014
Elected member of the RSC Dalton Division Council (DDC) (global electronic election process). The division promotes the study and dissemination of all aspects of inorganic chemistry. It organises symposia (including one day meetings) featuring special lectures and regional meetings. It offers awards, bursaries and fellowships for young members. Personal active contributions were nomination of industry representative, participation in council review, allocation of DDC travel bursaries, organisation of first Dalton Poster Symposium (now RSC Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson Dalton Poster Symposium). 2012
One of a 3-member TCD Chemistry panel providing on-site review of the Undergraduate Chemistry degree programmes offered by the University of Thapar. I wrote-up the panel review findings and recommendations and provided follow-up consultancy with the President of Thapar. 2015
Chair of Royal Society of Chemistry's Republic of Ireland Section (elected, first female to be appointed to this role). Remit is to represent the geographic spread and diverse interests and expertise of RSC members in the RoI. This involves supporting professional Chemists and promoting an understanding in broader society of the role of Chemistry. The Republic of Ireland Local Section (RoI LS) has a small annual budget through which to support activities and events organised by its RSC members. Examples of personal actions in 2018 include presentation of the RSC North-South Lectureship Award, Consultation on Irish Child Protection Laws with RSC Education Coordinator and Ireland Programme Manager, representation at RSC networks conference (Liverpool), Successful local-funding top-up to RSC central, distribution of approx. 10k€ to events organised by members in RoI, Review and renewal of membership, review of criteria for funding awards. 2018
External Ph.D. examiner e.g. Dublin City University (2003), National University of Maynooth (2006), Queen's University Belfast (2008), University of Manchester (2009), University of Bath (2011), University of Nottingham (2013), University of Leeds (2014). 2014
Internal Ph.D. viva examiner (on average one per annum all disciplines). Most recent Dec. 2018 Keith Flaherty (Senge)
Conference organisation: Irish Inorganic Symposium Series (2010 - 2014). EuroVariety-2013, 65th ICI Irish Universities Chemistry Research Colloquium (2013), Women in Science symposium (2013), Cocker Lecture (2014),
International Consultant: Virtual Graphene Centre (Bath/Exeter) EPSRC 2011 Application was successful.
External expert on National University of Ireland appointment committees in Inorganic Chemistry: Dr. Luca Ronconi (2013) and Dr Constantina Papatriantafyllopoulou (2016)
External referee for promotion (R. Douthwaite, Reader) University of York (2014). 2014
Co-author of a number of successful School research infrastructure bids e.g. NIR spectrometer 2011, mass spectrometer 2017. 2011
Academic promotion committee (merit-bar review: David Leigh) National University of Galway 2011
Appointed External Undergraduate Examiner at the University of Warwick for BSc Chemistry/MChem & variants (2018-2022). External role in the quality assurance process and culture of quality enhancement in the University.
External examiner for Inorganic Chemistry undergraduate programmes in St. Andrew's University (2019-2023) pending Senate endorsement.
Details Date From Date To
Secretary of the Physics, Chemistry and Mathematical Sciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy Sept 2018 Sept 2020
Chair of the Republic of Ireland Local Section of the Royal Society of Chemistry Committee 2018 2023
Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry March 2017 present
Member of Iontas Alliance, National Forum 2017
FemCam - Society for Female Chemists in Ireland 2012 present
WITS- Women in Innovation and Technology Science 2006 present
Associate PI of Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices 2001
Sole Irish representative on the Royal Society of Chemistry Head of Chemistry UK committee 2015 2019
Elected member of the Dalton Division Council of the Royal Society of Chemistry 2008 2012
C. Chem. Professional Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry 1996
Lu, Y, Conway-Kenny, R, Wang, J, Cui, X, Zhao, J, Draper, S M, Exploiting coumarin-6 as ancillary ligands in 1,10-phenanthroline Ir(iii) complexes: generating triplet photosensitisers with high upconversion capabilities., Dalton transactions (Cambridge, England : 2003), 47, 2018, p8585 - 8589, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Wang, Junsi, Lu, Yue, McCarthy, William, Conway-Kenny, Robert, Twamley, Brendan, Zhao, Jianzhang, Draper, Sylvia M., Novel ruthenium and iridium complexes of N-substituted carbazole as triplet photosensitisers, Chemical Communications, 54, (9), 2018, p1073-1076 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Qian Shen, Eugene J. Larkin, Colm Delaney, Yingchun Cheng, Chunyang Miao, Xiong Zhou, Lacheng Liu, Wei Huang, Hongying Gao, Sylvia M. Draper, Harald Fuchs, Coordination Reactions of 5-(2-(4-Bromophenyl)ethynyl)pyrimidine in On-Surface Synthesis, The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 122, (16), 2018, p8954--8959 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Ren, J., Larkin, E., Delaney, C., Song, Y., Jin, X., Amirjalayer, S., Bakker, A., Du, S., Gao, H., Zhang, Y.-Y., Draper, S.M., Fuchs, H., Chemistry of 4-[(4-bromophenyl)ethynyl]pyridine at metal surfaces studied by STM, Chemical Communications, 54, (67), 2018, p9305 - 9308, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
L. P. Wijesinghe, S. D. Perera, E. Larkin, G. M. Ó Máille, R. Conway-Kenny, B. S. Lankage, L. Wang, S. M. Draper, , [2+2+2] cyclotrimerisation as a convenient route to 6N-doped nanographenes: a synthetic introduction to hexaazasuperbenzenes;, RSC Advances, 7, 2017, p24163 - 2416, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Lu, Yue, Conway-Kenny, Robert, Twamley, Brendan, McGoldrick, Niamh, Zhao, Jianzhang, Draper, Sylvia M., 1,10-Phenanthroline Ruthenium(II) Complexes as Model Systems in the Search for High-Performing Triplet Photosensitisers: Addressing Ligand versus Metal Effects, Chemphotochem, 1, (12), 2017, p544-552 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Wijesinghe, L.P., Perera, S.D., Larkin, E., Máille, G.M.Ó., Conway-Kenny, R., Lankage, B.S., Wang, L., Draper, S.M., [2 + 2 + 2] cyclotrimerisation as a convenient route to 6N-doped nanographenes: A synthetic introduction to hexaazasuperbenzenes, RSC Advances, 7, (39), 2017, p24163-24167 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Yue Lu, Robert Conway-Kenny, Brendan Twamley, Niamh McGoldrick, Jianzhang Zhao, Sylvia M. Draper, Front Cover: 1,10-Phenanthroline Ruthenium(II) Complexes as Model Systems in the Search for High-Performing Triplet Photosensitisers: Addressing Ligand versus Metal Effects (ChemPhotoChem 12/2017), ChemPhotoChem, 1, (12), 2017, p532--532 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Lu, Y., Wang, J., McGoldrick, N., Cui, X., Zhao, J., Caverly, C., Twamley, B., Ó Máille, G.M., Irwin, B., Conway-Kenny, R., Draper, S.M., Iridium(III) Complexes Bearing Pyrene-Functionalized 1,10-Phenanthroline Ligands as Highly Efficient Sensitizers for Triplet"Triplet Annihilation Upconversion, Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, 55, (47), 2016, p14688 - 14692, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Yue Lu,[a] Niamh McGoldrick,[a] Frances Murphy,[a] Brendan Twamley,[a] Xiaoneng Cui,[b] Colm Delaney,[a] Gearóid M. Ó Máille,[a] Junsi Wang,[a] Jianzhang Zhao[b] and Sylvia M. Draper*[a], Highly efficient triplet photosensitizers: a systematic approach to the application of Ir(III) complexes containing extended phenanthrolines, Chemistry - a European Journal, 22, 2016, p11349 - 11356, Notes: [10.1002/chem.201601534], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI

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Sylvia Draper, 'Mercury - an element of Mystery and Murder', 01-09-11 'Poisons', RTE1 Pat Kenny, 2011, -, Broadcast, PUBLISHED
Sylvia Draper, 'When it Glows', RTE 1,, RTE Radio 1, 2011, -, Broadcast, PUBLISHED
Sylvia Draper, 'Chemistry in the Absence of Gravity', European Space Agency, 2006, -, Script, PUBLISHED
Sylvia Draper, 'Chemistry For Fun', Agtel: independent Television and Schools Media Production Company, 2005, -, Script, PUBLISHED
S. M. Draper, N-Larging the Heterosuperbenzene Family : Syntheses on the Double, 36th International Conference in Coordination Chemistry, Mexico, 2004, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED
S. M. Draper , Carbon-Rich Supermolecules, 3rd RSC Supramolecular Chemistry Symposium, Dublin, 2003, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED
S. M. Draper, Polyheterocyclic-C,N Materials - Carbon Nanostructures with a difference, Inorganic Chemistry Research Conference, Maynooth, 2002, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED
C.Ollagnier, S.M.Draper, R.Bedford, New "SCS" and "SNS"- pincer ligands, 9th Irish Inorganic Conference, Maynooth, 2002, Conference Paper, PRESENTED
S. M. Draper, Novel Opto-electronic materials from 2D graphenes to 3D azfullerenes, Pan European Conference, Institute of Chemical Industry, London, 2001, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED
S.M.Draper, The Emergence of a N-Heterosuperbenzene Family, Research Seminar, Imperial College London, 2001, Invited Talk, PRESENTED


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Award Date
Institute of Chemistry of Ireland, David Brown award for Inorganic Chemistry research Dec. 2018
Irish Laboratory Awards: Collaboration Category (short-list) April 2018
Irish Laboratory Awards Collaboration Achievement (shortlist) April 2017
Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry March 2017
National Award for the Integration of Research Learning and Teaching (NAIRTL) Dec 2008
Provost's Teaching Award, Trinity College Dublin May 2008
co-PI of Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research Centre (AMBER 2) 2018
Irish representative of Royal Society of Chemistry, Heads of Chemistry UK Committee 2015-2019
R.S.C. Individual Research Fund Award: 'The Metallisation and Linkage of Organofullerenes' 1995
Ciba Geigy Individual Research Award (5 awarded globally per annum) 1995-7
Fellow, University of Dublin, Trinity College 2001
Advancement beyond Merit Bar/ Accelerated Promotion 1999
R.S.C. Individual Research Fund Award: 'The Synthesis and Metallisation of the Fullerene Family' 1994
G.P.D.S.T. Trust Scholar 1983-5
I have worked for nearly three decades as a senior synthetic chemist specialising in functional molecular materials and their opto-electronic applications. Many of my research publications sit at the forefront of emerging fields and are testament to my collaboration with some leading research figures at home and abroad. The significance and quality of my national and international contribution to Inorganic Chemistry Research was marked by the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland's prestigious David Brown award in 2018. The body of work I have produced in supramolecular, bio-inorganic and materials chemistry underpins the outputs of several of Trinity's leading Research Centres and Institutes. These include conceptually new ideas e.g. methionine-baiting in the development of new palladium therapeutics (Centre for Chemical Synthesis and Chemical Biology), TRH-DE inhibitors (Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience), and the exploration of non-porphyrin NIR photosensitisers for application in Photodynamic Therapy (Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute). The underlying motivation for my research is the creation of synthetic routes to highly, sought after molecular and luminescent materials. This sustained interest arose from early investigations into alkynes as electronic linkers in metal clusters. The latter are precursors to polyaromatic and heteroaromatic compounds and led me to develop a pathway to, and hence a unique class, of electron-accepting planar molecules: the Nitrogen-heterosuperbenzenes. This pioneering work spawned a significant number of highlighted (Chem. Eng. News) and prestigious publications (JACS, Angew. Chemie., Chem. Commun.). In particular it served to ignite the heteroatom-nanographene world and stimulated new directions within the field of molecular materials including on-surface mediated graphene synthesis. My research is marked by >7M€ in direct research funding as PI, >80 journal publications (>50 since last promotion) with average IF >5. In 2015 while Head of School I was awarded one of only 13 of the nationally awarded SFI-PI research grants (>1M€) in science that year and remain one of a handful of TCD Chemists with SFI-PI funding. Significant research results are the synchrotron molecular structures of the founding members of the nitrogen heterosuperbenzene family, the use of large-surface ligands in photoresponsive, coordination compounds and a host of structurally versatile supramolecular and polymeric networks built-up from aromatic backbones. Recent Draper successes include the delivery and evaluation of molecular upconversion materials that exhibit the highest recorded singlet oxygen and upconversion quantum yields (using low density power sources). This work alone, initiated through the hosting SFI-Walton Professor (J. Zhou) from Dalian University of Technology has given rise to 10 Draper-led publications (including Angew. Chemie (x1) (IF 11.99), Chem. Comm. (x3) (IF 6.32), Chem. Eur J. (x1) (IF 5.32)), two front covers (Dalton Trans., ChemPhotoChem.) and one hot paper (J. Mater. Chem. C). In the last three years, as PI I have given 9 invited speaker presentations at international conferences (e.g. ISPPCC-2017, ICCC-2018). In addition members of my research team and I have been singled-out to receive a number of awards (2017 Royal Irish Academy Young Irish Chemist's Award (Junsi Wang for the best Chemistry Ph.D. thesis produced in 2017-18), RSC Materials poster awards (Yue Lu, Beijing 2016), School of Chemistry BOC gases PG award 2017). The impact of my research is internationally recognized, far-reaching and transformative. Its quality has ensured that my group remains at the forefront of cutting-edge developments (Non-Disclosure Filed Nov. 2018). It is driving new industrial processes and technologies (e.g. with Johnson Matthey, Henkel Global Ltd.). and fueling international collaborations in two-photon absorption applications.