The synthesis of new hydrogel copolymers and their use for anchoring Pd and Pt species is described. The supported catalysts are effective for the reduction of alkenes, dienes, alkynes, and nitroaromatics under mild conditions. The catalysts have been characterized by chemical analysis, particle size measurement, IR, TGA, and x‐ray photoelectron spectra. Relative reactivities and the effects of substrate structure, solvents, catalyst loading, particle size of the catalysts, and partial pressure of hydrogen have been determined. The kinetics of hydrogenation have been analyzed using concepts useful under slurry reaction conditions. The recycling efficiencies of the catalysts and product analysis to establish selectivities have been assessed. © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Copyright © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.