James was born and raised in a small fishing town called Buckhaven where he attended Buckhaven High School. James studied at the University of St Andrews where he under took an MChem during which time he under took two research projects, the first of which was looking at the synthesis of 5,5 di substituted hydantons for pharmaceutical application.
- Atom-efficient synthesis with novel catalysts in batch and flow with Professor Jonathan Williams and Dr Pawel Plucinkski– PhD project
- Flow synthesis of hydantoin compounds with Dr Pawel Plucinkski and Professor Jonathan Williams — 2nd MRes project
- Iridium-catalyzed formylation of amines with paraformaldehyde with Professor Jonathan Williams and Dr Pawel Plucinkski — 1st MRes project