John Murphy


  • United Kingdom

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Personal profile

Personal Statement

I am an organic chemist and my research group revels in exploring chemical reactivity in synthesis and in biology. We have a particular interest in electron transfer reactions and in radical chemistry, but are generally interested in mechanisms of organic reactions.

Read more about my research group at

I was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College, Dublin (BA) and the University of Cambridge (PhD). I obtained my DSc in 2002.

After my PhD, I held Fellowships at the University of Alberta and the University of Oxford. I moved to the University of Nottingham as Lecturer, and was promoted to Reader there.

I moved to my current position as Merck-Pauson Professor of Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde in 1995.

I was visiting Professor at a number of institutions:

  • Universite Claude Bernard Lyon 1, 2017
  • Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, 2004
  • NAIST, Japan, 2001
  • l’Université d’Aix Marseille 1996

I also was Visiting Fellow to the Australian National University in 1995 and 2007. I held a Royal Society Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship in 2001.

I was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (National Academy of  Scotland) in 2001. 

I was Director of the Glasgow Centre for Physical Organic Chemistry (GCPOC) 2008-2013.

From August 2006 - August 2008, I was Director of WestCHEM, the newly formed integrated Research School in Chemistry for the West of Scotland.

From 2013-2016, I was Head of Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry


2018 Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation)

2016 C W Rees Award for Heterocyclic chemistry (Royal Society of Chemistry)

2012 Bader Award  (Royal Society of Chemistry)

Research Interests

His chemical interests are in mechanistic and synthetic chemistry, in reactive intermediates and in the development of new reactions.

Academic / Professional qualifications

Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize Winner 2018

in recognition of my achievements in research and teaching

Academic / Professional qualifications

Charles Rees Award 2016 Winner

The citation reads: "Awarded for his highly innovative studies on the preparation, properties and applications of very reactive heterocycles, ranging from extreme electrophiles to super-reducing agents".

Academic / Professional qualifications

Bader Award 2012 Winner

The  citation reads: "Awarded for his many highly creative and original contributions to reactivity in organic synthesis, including free radical chemistry, the concept of the radical-polar crossover reaction and electron transfer in the invention of organic super electron reducing agents".

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where John Murphy is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2005 2023

Research Output 1999 2019

4 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)

Concerted nucleophilic aromatic substitution reactions

Rohrbach, S., Smith, A. J., Pang, J. H., Poole, D. L., Tuttle, T., Chiba, S. & Murphy, J. A., 11 Nov 2019, In : Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 58, 46, p. 16368-16388 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Substitution reactions
Computational chemistry
Transition metals
Chemical activation
Ground state
Organic compounds
Substitution reactions


An experimental and computational investigation of transition metal-free reactions

Author: Allison, M., 1 Apr 2018

Supervisor: Murphy, J. (Supervisor) & Tuttle, C. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

A quantitative scale for directing group power in ruthenium(II)-catalysed ortho-directed C-H arylation reactions

Author: McIntyre, J., 1 Oct 2016

Supervisor: Nelson, D. (Supervisor) & Murphy, J. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Bader Award 2012

John Murphy (Recipient), 2012

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Charles Rees Award 2016

John Murphy (Recipient), 9 May 2016

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Activities 2008 2017

ESOR (European Symposium on Organic Reactivity)

John Murphy (Contributor)
3 Sep 20178 Sep 2017

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Royal Society International Exchanges Panel 2017-2019 (Event)

John Murphy (Member)

Activity: Membership typesMembership of committee


Radicals on Campus

John Murphy (Participant)

Impact: Impact - for External PortalQuality of life and safety, Environment and sustainability - natural world and built environment