Paul O'Brien


Role: Chair of Inorganic Materials Chemistry

Partner: The University of Manchester

Paul O’Brien is Chair of Inorganic Materials Chemistry in the Schools of Chemistry and of Materials at The University of Manchester; he was Research Dean 2000–2003, Head of the School of Chemistry 2002–09 and is now Head of the School of Materials 2011.

He held academic positions at Chelsea, Queen Mary and Imperial Colleges in the University of London. External appointments have included: Vice President of the RSC 2009–11, visiting Professor at Georgia Tech 1996–99, visiting Fellow Magdalen College Oxford 2009 and Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies Durham 2011.

He has received distinguished alumni awards: the Potts Medal (Liverpool) and the A. G. Evans Memorial Medal Lecture (Cardiff). He was also awarded the Kroll and Sir Colin Humphreys Medals of the IOM3 and the first Peter Day Award from the RSC. His research centres on developing new chemical processes for thin films and nanoparticles; especially of chalcogenides.

He holds honorary D.Scs. from both the Universities of Zululand and Liverpool. In 2002 he founded Nanoco, now listed on AIM/LSE. In May 2013 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

In 2016, he received a CBE for his services to science and engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry's prestigious Longstaff Prize, and was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.