Lab 4.0 Feature Session

Transitioning of the Chemical Laboratory through Digitalisation

Time & Location

Wednesday: 13.00 to 14.00, Stage 3

Session Host: Brian AttwoodEditorial Director, Laboratory News

About this session

This year’s Lab News hosted speaker session will include expert speakers specialising in chemistry research and transition, business change, technology adoption, and digital transformation for scientific research. Throughout the session, our experts will present short, practical discussions around the transition of R&D chemical processes through a digitised framework.

With a focus on the effects of Lab 4.0 on product development cycles, time to market and cost to market, we will consider how digital best practice processes and chemical laboratory management solutions provide a competitive advantage that helps chemical companies drive higher levels of innovation and profitable growth. We shall look at how AI already impacts many areas of chemistry, and how we must ‘AI-enable’ the next generation of chemists. Finally, we hope to point our audience in the direction of useful digital transformation initiatives for chemical R&D laboratories.

13:00    Introduction from Brian Attwood, Lab News, Editorial Director

13:05   AI in Chemistry – some perspectives on research and teaching’

Professor Tim Albrecht, Director of Research & Knowledge Transfer, School of Chemistry – University of Birmingham

13:25   Driving innovation in UK chemical labs in small and medium enterprises through the adoption of company-wide Industry 4.0 solutions

Iwona Anna Kandpal, Business Change and Technology Adoption Consultant, Made Smarter UK

13:45   Global enterprise digital transformation initiatives for chemical R&D: Preparing the Ground for AI

Peter Rhodes, Digital Transformation for Scientific Research, Dotmatics

Session Host Bio:

Sarah is responsible for writing, commissioning, editing and promoting all content for the Laboratory News portfolio. This includes a print magazine, supplements and associated digital products aimed at laboratory professionals and the scientific research community.

Guest Speakers

Professor Tim Albrecht

Professor Tim Albrecht

Director of Research & Knowledge Transfer, School of Chemistry, University of Birmingham

Presentation Title:

‘AI in Chemistry – some perspectives on research and teaching’

Presentation overview:

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are increasingly pervasive in all areas of science and technology, which includes many aspects of chemistry from materials design and molecular property prediction to data analysis and sensing. I will cover some selected examples to illustrate the impact that these new tools are already having. At the same time, many societal and technological challenges require interdisciplinary teams to work together, i.e. domain experts from the AI community as well as chemists and many others, who need to develop a common “language” for this to happen in an efficient manner. This raises the question how we actually train chemistry students to “AI-enable” them and help them operate successfully in a modern professional environment. At the University of Birmingham, we have taken steps in this direction and I will share my thoughts in this regard as well.

Speaker Bio:

Tim studied Chemistry at the University of Essen in Germany from 1995-2000 and did his PhD in Peter Hildebrandt’s group at the MPI for Radiation Chemistry in Muelheim/Germany, with extended research visits to Portugal (ITQB, UNL) and Denmark (DTU). He then joined Jens Ulstrup’s group at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) as a Marie-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow to work on charge transfer processes in single-molecules (2003-2006) and took up his first independent academic position in the Chemistry Department at Imperial College London, where he was made Senior Lecturer in 2011 and then Reader in 2014. In 2017, Tim joined the School of Chemistry at Birmingham University as Chair of Physical Chemistry and has been the School of Chemistry’s Director of Research & Knowledge Transfer since 2018. He is the coordinator of the School’s Interest Group “Data and Machine Intelligence” and UoB Turing Fellow since 2021.

Iwona Anna Kandpal

Iwona Anna Kandpal

Industrial Digital Technology Adviser - Made Smarter UK

Presentation Title:

Driving innovation in UK chemical labs in small and medium enterprises through the adoption of company-wide Industry 4.0 solutions

Presentation Overview:

Iwona will discuss driving innovation in UK chemical labs in small and medium enterprises through the adoption of company-wide Industry 4.0 solutions.

Chemical companies already use a number of different technologies such as LIMS and MES (manufacturing execution systems) but there remains a significant opportunity to benefit from LEAN IT architecture, where modular solutions function in full convergence with each other. Additionally, the adoption of company-wide digital technology across, research laboratories in addition to business operations, will further streamline both internal and external collaboration.

Speaker bio:

Iwona Anna Kandpal has a commercial background in enterprise IT solutions, and in the last 10 years, she has been working with some of the largest UK manufacturers from the Chemical, Pharma and Life Science sectors helping them transform their operations with industrial digital technology.

Peter Rhodes

Peter Rhodes

Digital Transformation for Scientific Research, Dotmatics

Presentation Title:

Global enterprise digital transformation initiatives for chemical R&D: Preparing the Ground for AI

Presentation overview:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other data-driven approaches that aim at accelerating new product innovation now feature on many executive agendas and are often prominent in shareholder annual reports. They are seen as a strategically important in expediting dramatic improvements in business operations and responsiveness to (even anticipation of) environmental and market forces and to guide companies in delivering the right products to market faster.

Global multidisciplinary scientific research teams are now expected to contemplate collaborative exploration of huge areas of hitherto hidden design space for innovative chemistry and biology applications and manufacturing methods; at pace, scale and with certainty of outcome.

As part of these efforts, organizations need to answer:

–        What pragmatic steps can chemical companies now take towards this new world?

–        What to do first, how well positioned are they with respect to their industry peers (how real is the threat)?

–        How well aligned are the internal stakeholders for digital transformation of scientific R&D?

–        What are the expected costs & benefits?

This talk presents a number of foundational strategies for consideration and challenges companies to consider a horizontal view of their organisation in readiness for embracing a culture of change.

Speaker Bio:

Peter has 27 years of industry experience in helping companies to transform their business processes around R&D digitalisation. He has a BEng in Aerospace Engineering from Kingston University and a MSc in Engineering Business Management from Warwick University. He has worked with companies such as JCB, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, GSK, Arkema and Croda to introduce large scale change programmes aimed at optimising multidisciplinary workflows; from new product introduction and process development through manufacturing. With Dotmatics the focus is now to accelerate scientific research and help make the world a healthier, cleaner, and safer place to live.