Phil Withers


Role: ICAM Director

Partner: The University of Manchester

Professor Philip Withers studied Physics (82-85) and then a PhD (85-88) in Metallurgy before taking up a lectureship at Cambridge University (89-98). He was appointed to a Chair at The University of Manchester, School of Materials in 1998. Here he set up the Unit for Stress and Damage Characterisation, using lab and synchrotron X-rays and neutrons to map residual stresses in engineering components and welded joints with a particular focus on the nuclear and aerospace sectors. He received the European Federation of Materials Societies Materials Science and Technology Prize in 1999 for this work.

In 2007 he became the founding Director of the University of Manchester Aerospace Research Institute linking over 100 academics within the University with the aim of undertaking cross disciplinary research.  More recently he has set up the Manchester X-ray Imaging Facility combining both lab X-ray scanners at the Henry Moseley X-ray Imaging Facility and a beamline at the Diamond Light Source for 3D X-ray imaging across scales from 1m to 50nm.

He was awarded the Royal Society Armourers and Brasiers’ Company Prize for pioneering use of neutron and X-ray beams to map stresses and image components in 2010. In Sept 2012 he became the founding Director of the ICAM, linking Manchester, Cambridge, Imperial College and Urbana-Champaign.  In 2014, the University of Manchester was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize, recognising the Manchester X-ray Imaging Facility's (which he co-directs) work on ‘new techniques in x-ray imaging of materials critical for power, transport and other key industries’.

In 2016, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society and became The University of Manchester's inaugural Regius Professor of Materials.