Dr Thomas (Tom) Bennett was born in South Shields, Tyne and Wear in 1986. He obtained both BA and MSci degrees from the University of Cambridge in 2008, before completing a PhD with Sir Anthony Cheetham FRS in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy in 2012. He was awarded the inaugural PanAlytical prize in the same year and completed a short EPSRC Doctoral Prize post-doctoral fellowship before spending a year as a chemistry teacher in secondary education.
In 2013 he was endowed with a Research Fellowship at the University of Cambridge, and in 2016 commenced an independent academic career with a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. Dr Bennett has held visiting scientist positions at CSIRO Melbourne (Australia) and Wuhan University of Technology (China). He has also completed a JSPS Fellowship at the University of Kyoto (2017), and a three-month Teaching Fellowship at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand (2019).
His research focuses on the intersection of defects, disorder and flexibility within hybrid materials. This includes the non-crystalline metal–organic framework (MOF) domain, and specifically the synthesis and characterisation of the liquid and glass states of MOFs. He has previously been awarded the ISIS Science Case Impact Award (2018), the Woldemar A. Weyl award for glass science (2019), and the Philip Leverhulme Prize (2019).
Dr Bennett is the current chair of the Royal Society of Chemistry Porous Materials Interest Group, and vice-chair of the International Zeolite Association Commission on Metal–Organic Frameworks.