The Institute for Digital Molecular Design and Fabrication is a new Institute at Imperial College London and it is the first Institute in the world dedicated to digital molecular design and fabrication. It is a key priority of Imperial’s Academic Strategy and it is a flagship project working across all faculties and departments. The Institute’s vision is to transform chemical design, manufacturing and industry by moving away from slow, labour-intensive manual methods, to highly automated, data-driven approaches that capitalise upon advances driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Institute capitalises on expertise and infrastructure already existing in College and not available in concert elsewhere, spanning molecular synthesis through to artificial intelligence, robotics, automation, materials science, sensor technologies, and big data. DigiFAB acts as a catalyst for the cross-faculty convergence of expertise in chemistry, medicine, engineering, computing, statistics, mathematics, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as involving expertise from the Imperial College Business School. Thus, DigiFAB provides a single-entry point into the digital molecular design and fabrication expertise and facilities at the College.
DigiFAB aims to deliver research objectives, build capacity through education for students and stakeholders, and work in partnership with industry and end users to generate measurable benefit for the economy and the society.
DigiFAB is led by its Director Professor Sophia Yaliraki and its work is informed and supported by the DigiFAB Executive (Professor Mimi Hii, Professor Klaus Hellgardt, Dr Becky Greenaway, Dr Camille Petit, Dr Kim Jelfs, Professor Claire Adjiman), its Research Board, and the External Advisory Board.
Digital molecular design and fabrication aims to
To digitize the ability to make any known molecule or material on demand automatically.
To automate current molecular and materials discovery programs across sectors, with the aim of significantly increasing both the number and range of designed molecules and materials through the unbiased exploration of molecular space.
To drive digitally enabled product discovery by embedding artificial intelligence technologies to target unknown molecules and materials using assay driven search algorithms. This will directly impact everything from drug discovery through to vaccine development.
DigiFAB Research Pillars
DigiFAB relies on four interconnected pillars to tackle major challenges in digital molecular design and fabrication, led by experts reflecting Imperial College London's interdisciplinary strength. The pillars work together to deliver research applications such as reaction optimisation, dial-a-drug, materials discovery, and precision agriculture.
Synthesis and Processes
Digital design of synthesis and scaling-up manufacturing processes
Automation and Robotic advances in the lab for rapid, online reaction and chemical data generation
Sensors and Characterisation Platforms
Novel and high-throughput approaches for the analysis and characterisation of the generated data
Data and Modelling
Data-driven approaches, including machine learning and AI, coupled with modelling and optimisation for the design and analysis of chemical data