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Personal profile

Research interests

My research focuses on the synthesis and development of new homogeneous catalysts. I use skills in synthetic main group chemistry to construct new ligands that include cooperative reaction sites to increase the potential for exciting new reactivity. Synthetic organometallic chemistry is exploited to form new transition metal and f-element catalysts for testing in challenging reactions such as dehydrocoupling and the catalytic functionalisation of dinitrogen.


Stephen started his undergraduate degree in 2001 at Imperial College London and graduated in 2005 working with Prof. Mike Hill for his MSci project on chiral ligands for enantioselective lanthanide catalysis, and winning the H.V.A. Briscoe prize for excellence in Inorganic Chemistry. In 2005 he moved to The University of Bristol and graduated in 2009 with a PhD under the joint supervision of Dr Chris Russell and Prof. Duncan Wass working on low valent and low coordination chemistry in the main group elements, with particular emphasis on developing new ligands for transition metals. He then undertook a one year post-doctoral position with Prof. Nick Norman researching boron-nitrogen analogues of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. In 2010 he moved to The University of Edinburgh undertaking research on small molecule activation using highly reactive uranium centres in the group of Prof. Polly Arnold. In 2013 he worked with Prof. Paul Raithby, Prof. Chick Wilson and Dr Andy Burrows at The University of Bath in a multi-disciplinary project on meta-stable functional materials before being appointed Lecturer at Heriot-Watt University in September 2013.

Key Research Words/Phrases

Homogeneous catalysis

Cooperative reactivity

Ligand design

Main group chemistry




  • QD Chemistry
  • Inorganic
  • Catalysis

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Research Output

  • 43 Article
  • 1 Meeting abstract
  • 1 Literature review

An indenide-tethered N-heterocyclic stannylene

Bischof, T., Evans, K., Haddow, M. & Mansell, S. M., Feb 2020, In : Acta Crystallographica Section E: Crystallographic Communications. 76, Part 2, p. 254-256

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 4 Downloads (Pure)

    Functionalised N-Heterocyclic Carbene Ligands in Bimetallic Architectures

    Evans, K. J. & Mansell, S. M., 25 Jan 2020, In : Chemistry - A European Journal.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

    Open Access
  • 2 Downloads (Pure)

    The Lewis acidity of borylcarboranes

    Benton, A., Watson, J. D., Mansell, S. M., Rosair, G. M. & Welch, A. J., 1 Feb 2020, In : Journal of Organometallic Chemistry. 907, 121057.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Lithium Complexes with Bridging and Terminal NHC ligands: The Decisive Influence of an Anionic Tether

    Evans, K. J., Campbell, C. L., Haddow, M. F., Luz, C., Morton, P. A. & Mansell, S. M., 15 Dec 2019, In : European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry. 2019, 46, p. 4894–4901 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 11 Downloads (Pure)

    On the Basicity of Carboranylphosphines

    Benton, A., Durand, D. J., Copeland, Z., Watson, J. D., Fey, N., Mansell, S. M., Rosair, G. M. & Welch, A. J., 4 Nov 2019, In : Inorganic Chemistry. 58, 21, p. 14818-14829 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



    External examiner for a PhD thesis

    Stephen M. Mansell (Examiner)
    25 Jan 2019

    Activity: ExaminationExternal Examiner

    External examiner for a PhD thesis

    Stephen M. Mansell (Examiner)
    17 May 2019

    Activity: ExaminationExternal Examiner

    Primary School Periodic Table Competition

    Stephen M. Mansell (Organiser), Mairi Haddow (Organiser), Martin R. S. McCoustra (Reviewer), Arno Manfred Kraft (Reviewer)
    17 Nov 201923 Nov 2019

    Activity: Other

    The Periodic Table: A fun fusion of Science, Art and History

    Stephen M. Mansell (Invited speaker)
    23 Nov 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

    External examiner for a PhD thesis

    Stephen M. Mansell (Examiner)
    9 May 2019

    Activity: ExaminationExternal Examiner

    Press / Media