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Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry

Composite photo clockwise from top Bill Nolan, Alex Forse, Robert Phipps and Chiara Giorio

Clockwise from top: Bill Nolan, Alex Forse, Robert Phipps and Chiara Giorio, courtesy Chemistry Photography

We are delighted to announce that Robert Phipps, Chiara Giorio, Alex Forse and Bill Nolan have all received academic promotions, which were announced in the Cambridge University Reporter today.

“These promotions recognise the outstanding contributions that each person has made to research, teaching, and more widely to the University and scientific community. I am absolutely delighted to hear of these promotions – many congratulations to one and all,” said Head of Department James Keeler.

Robert Phipps

Robert completed his PhD in 2010 with Professor Matthew Gaunt. After a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley and in Cambridge, he was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2014, which allowed him to commence independent research here in the department.  

Robert was appointed an Associate Professor in October 2021 and Professor of Organic Chemistry in October 2022. He has been promoted to Professor Grade 12.

In 2017 Robert was awarded an ERC Starting Grant, in 2019 he received the RSC Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize and in 2023 he was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant (funded by UKRI).

The Phipps group develops new strategies that utilise non-covalent interactions to solve challenges in chemical methodology.  

Chiara Giorio

Chiara completed her PhD at the University of Padua, Italy in 2012. She conducted research in the UK, France and Italy before joining the Department in 2020 as an Atmospheric Chemistry Lecturer. Chiara has been promoted to Professor Grade 11.

Chiara was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Early Career Award in Environment, Sustainability & Energy in 2021 for her role in the discovery of how systemic pesticides like neonicotinoids harm honeybees.

The Giorio group is an interdisciplinary group with interests in atmospheric science, public health and paleoclimate, for example using ice cores to investigate the Earth’s atmosphere of the past. The group conducts research on air quality and climate and is part of the Centre for Atmospheric Science.

Alex Forse

Alex started his research group in the department in 2019, after holding a Philomathia fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley from  2016 to 2019 following his PhD at Cambridge with Professor Clare Grey. Alex has been promoted to Professor Grade 11 with the title of "Professor of Materials Chemistry".

Alex was awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship in 2020 to launch his work on electrochemical carbon dioxide capture, and an ERC Starting Grant (UKRI Horizon Europe guarantee) in 2023 for his work on electrochemical energy storage. He was recently awarded the Anatole Abragam Prize for pioneering applications of NMR spectroscopy to the characterization of new materials.

The Forse research group’s ultimate goal is to understand and improve materials that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle the climate crisis. The group explores the functional behaviour of new materials for carbon dioxide capture and electrochemical energy storage. They recently received press coverage for their development of a ‘charcoal sponge’ which captures carbon dioxide directly from the air, as well as the discovery that disorder enhances energy storage in fast-charging batteries.

Bill Nolan

Bill completed his PhD in Cambridge as Professor Ralph Raphael’s last research student. After postdoctoral research, Bill was appointed the department’s first Teaching Fellow in 1995. Bill is a Fellow of Robinson College where he has been heavily involved in the academic and pastoral support of undergraduate and graduate students as Director of Studies in Natural Science, Senior Tutor and Tutor.

Bill was awarded the Pilkington Teaching prize in 2006 and was appointed Director of Undergraduate Teaching in 2018. He has been promoted to Teaching Professor Grade 11 under the University’s new Teaching and Scholarship pathway, which recognises the significance and impact of teaching within the University.