Professor Evans graduated in chemistry from Cardiff University in 1980 where he remained to obtain a PhD in organometallic chemistry. He then undertook postdoctoral research in organometallic chemistry at the University of Arizona, USA, and in bioinorganic chemistry at the University of York. In 1986 he was appointed as a “new-blood” researcher at the Agricultural and Food Research Council’s Unit of Nitrogen Fixation, based at the University of Sussex, and was promoted to Principal Research Scientist in 1994. In 1995 the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Nitrogen Fixation Laboratory (NFL), as it was then known, was relocated to the John Innes Centre (JIC), Norwich. In 2000 the NFL was disbanded, and he joined the newly created JIC, Department of Biological Chemistry.
Professor Evans has held honorary academic positions at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, including Lecturer and later Reader in the School of Chemical Sciences and Pharmacy, Professor in the School of Pharmacy and, currently, Professor in the School Chemistry. In 2012 he was appointed Professor of Biological Chemistry at the University of Hull, then became Professor of Chemistry and Head of Department, and ultimately Head of the new School of Mathematics and Physical Sciences. He left the University of Hull in spring 2017 to become Director of the BBSRC Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership and Chair of the Norwich Bioscience Institutes Graduate School.