Robert Robinson

UTAS Home Dr Robert Robinson Jr

Robert Robinson Jr

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
(Synthesis and Computational Group)

Room 315, Chemistry Building, Sandy Bay Campus

+61 3 6226 1744 (phone)

+61 3 6226 2858 (fax)

Dr Robert Robinson Jr is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Synthesis and Computational Group at the School of Physical Sciences (Chemistry). He is interested in addressing the challenges associated with developing more effective transition metal catalysis processes. He is specifically concerned with processes that will influence climate changes: greenhouse gas (GHG) sequestration, carbon capture and storage (CCS), nitrogen fixation, hydrogen fuel, lignin/biomass energy, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other chemicals with global warming potential (GWP), which are pertinent to inhibiting environmental impacts and improving global air and water quality.

Career summary


DegreeThesis TitleUniversity CountryDate of Award
Ph.D. in ChemistryExperimental, Computational and Photophysical Studies of Platinacycle ComplexesUniversity of Missouri-Columbia (MU)USA13/05/2011
B.Sc. (Hons) in Chemistry and Physics University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC)USA06/05/2005

Languages (other than English)

Spanish and German (Rudimentary), Sinhalese (Learning)


Robert was born in Kansas City, Missouri (USA) where he spent the first 25 years of his life. There he received two B.Sc. degrees in Physics and Chemistry as a Hartland's Alliance for Minority Participation scholar at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) in 2005. Afterwards, he moved to Columbia, Missouri where he received a Ph.D. in Chemistry as a Gus T. Ridgel scholar from the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) in 2011. Then, he worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Washington (UW) for 1½ year in the Centre for Enabling New Technologies through Catalysis (CENTC). Robert moved to Hobart, Tasmania (Australia) in 2012 and is working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Tasmania (UTAS). He is currently seeking a Lecturer/Assistant professor position (Level B) at either a research-based or teaching-based university.

Research Themes

Robert's research focuses on chemical transformations relevant to global energy and climate concerns, with an emphasis in inorganic and organometallic chemistry. His long-term research goal is to develop transition metal catalysis processes (hetero- and homogeneous) that will result in more energy efficient and improved environmental production methods within the chemical industry. One of his research approaches begins with the design and synthesis of transition metal complexes and then examines their catalytic performance with relevance on understanding reaction mechanisms. His other research approach is to investigate key steps in catalytic cycles by utilising computational methods focused on understanding reaction mechanisms. Overall, he believes that it is important to understand chemical mechanisms as this is a vital role towards improving existing and developing novel catalysis processes.


Professional practice

  • The National Organisation for the Progressional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE)
  • Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI)
  • American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry (DIC)


Teaching expertise

Robert worked for five years as a graduate teaching assistant (TA) at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU). His teaching experience involved performing classwork lectures, grading coursework assignments/exams and supervising/demonstrating for undergraduate laboratory courses. In addition, he mentored two undergraduate students as part of senior (honour) student research and an international visiting scholar program. He also volunteered his time as an university tutor to non-native English speaking students. At the University of Washington, he again mentored an undergraduate student as part of the Centre for Enabling New Technologies through Catalysis (CENTC) summer research program.

View more on Dr Robert Robinson in WARP


  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy (multi-nuclear, VT, 2D, DEPT, etc.)
  • X-ray crystallography (Australian Synchrotron user)
  • Vibrational (IR/Raman), absorbance (UV-Vis) and fluorescence spectroscopy
  • Range of analytical techniques, such as GC/MS, EPR, HPLC, AFM, ICP-AE, etc.
  • Various arrays of chemical software programs, such as ChemOffice, TopSpin, X-Seed, SciFinder, MestReNova, gNMR, etc.
  • Microsoft Office program package
  • Standard chemical synthetic, purification and characterisation techniques
  • Advance methods for handling air-sensitive materials
  • Routine laboratory equipment maintenance and repairs
  • Fundamental glassblowing techniques
  • High-level of verbal and written communication skills (native English)
  • Strong leadership and organisational skills
  • Work in a multi-disciplinary team or independently
  • Good workplace health and safety practices (WH&S)
  • Knowledge of hazardous chemical policies and risk management procedures


  • 2013: Research conference support scheme (RCSS) grant                                                    
  • 2013: 7th Australasian Organometallics Meeting (OZOM) poster conference award                                                                               
  • 2010: American Chemical Society (ACS) post-baccalaureate travel award; Graduate Student Association (GSA) travel grant; Graduate Professional Council (GPC) travel scholarship                                            
  • 2009: Professional presentation travel fellowship                                                                 
  • 2005 – 2010: Gus T. Ridgel Graduate fellowship                                                                
  • 2001 – 2005: Heartland's alliance for minority participation scholarship


Dr Robinson is presently engaged in a collaborative research project with the Australian National University (ANU), which is predominantly aimed at the activation and scissoring of small, multiply bonded molecules. He has additional collaborative projects which have been initiated involving natural products within the University of Tasmania and carbon capture with the University of Melbourne. Previously, he has worked on collaborative projects between several US universities focused on electrophilic oxidation catalysis within the Centre for Enabling New Technologies through Catalysis (CENTC).

Current projects

Dr Robinson is utilising state-of-the-art computational modelling of transition metal complexes towards the activation and bond cleavage of small, multiply bonded molecules, namely fixated on capturing greenhouse gases (GHG) and other chemicals with global warming potential (GWP). Robert is also seeking collaborative research projects with experimental groups. He can provide theoretical support (DFT methods) to existing and/or future grant projects. There is no requirement for external funding as he already has allocated resources on the NCI Raijin computer cluster ( If interested in developing a collaboration, please feel free to contact him.

Fields of Research

  • Transition Metal Chemistry (030207)
  • Catalysis and Mechanisms of Reactions (030601)
  • Organometallic Chemistry (039904)
  • Reaction Kinetics and Dynamics (030703)
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry (030603)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding Knowledge in the Chemical Sciences (970103)
  • Organic Industrial Chemicals (excl. Resins, Rubber and Plastics) (860604)


Total publications


Journal Article

(8 outputs)
2016Canale V, Robinson Jr R, Zavras A, Khairallah GN, d'Alessandro N, et al., 'Two Spin-State Reactivity in the Activation and Cleavage of CO2 by [ReO2]-', Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 7, (10) pp. 1934-1938. ISSN 1948-7185 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.6b00754 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Yates BF


2016Robinson Jr R, Shaw MF, Stranger R, Yates BF, 'Theoretical study of the mechanism for the sequential N-O and N-N bond cleavage within N2O adducts of N-heterocyclic carbenes by a vanadium(III) complex', Dalton Transactions, 45, (3) pp. 1047-1054. ISSN 1477-9226 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1039/c5dt03600c [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Shaw MF; Yates BF


2015Robinson Jr R, Abbasi KK, Ariafard A, Stranger R, Yates BF, 'Sulfur dioxide activation: a theoretical investigation into dual S=O bond cleavage by three-coordinate molybdenum(III) complexes', Inorganic Chemistry, 54, (2) pp. 534-543. ISSN 0020-1669 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/ic502298j [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Ariafard A; Yates BF


2013Robinson Jr R, McGuinness DS, Yates BF, 'The mechanism of ethylene dimerization with the Ti(OR')4/AIR3 catalytic system: DFT studies comparing metallacycle and Cossee proposals', ACS Catalysis, 3, (12) pp. 3006-3015. ISSN 2155-5435 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/cs4006875 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 14Web of Science - 15

Co-authors: McGuinness DS; Yates BF


2012Meredith JM, Robinson R, Goldberg KI, Kiminsky W, Heinekey DM, 'C-H bond activation by cationic iridium (III) NHC complexes: A combined experimental and computational study', Organometallics, 31, (5) pp. 1879-1887. ISSN 0276-7333 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/om2012166 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 14Web of Science - 13


2012Robinson R, Raphael Karikachery A, Sharp PR, 'Photophysical properties of 4,4'-di-tert-butyl-2,2'-bipyridine supported 6-membered 2,2'-diphenyl-X platinacycles (X = CH2, NMe, O)', Dalton Transactions, 41, (9) pp. 2601-2611. ISSN 1477-9226 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1039/c2dt11594h [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4


2010Robinson R, Clarkson JM, Moody MA, Sharp PR, 'Pt(PEt3)(k2-P,C-PEt2CHMe)(C6Cl5): An unexpected intermediate in the synthesis of cis-Pt(PEt3)2(Cl)(C6Cl5)', Organometallics, 30, (6) pp. 1730-1733. ISSN 0276-7333 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/om1010879 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3


2010Robinson R, Sharp PR, 'Syntheses, structures, and reductive elimination studies of six-membered diaryl platinacycle complexes', Organometallics, 29, (6) pp. 1388-1395. ISSN 0276-7333 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/om901033z [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 6


Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



8th Australasian Organometallics Meeting and Discussion (OZOM8), Townsville, QLD (2014)$1,500
University of Tasmania ($1,500)
Grant-Conference Support Scheme
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Robinson R