Professor Gibson studied chemistry at the University of Sheffield followed by a doctorate at Oxford with Malcolm Green. After a NATO postdoctoral fellowship with John Bercaw at Caltech he returned to a ‘new blood’ lectureship at Durham where his work on fundamental aspects of inorganic and organometallic chemistry laid the foundations for his later work on catalyst design.
Throughout his career he worked closely with industry; he developed a deep and flexible partnership with BP which, on moving to a Professorship at Imperial College London in 1995, led to the setting up of a pioneering joint discovery project resulting in several industrially relevant catalyst systems.
When BP committed to developing its Alternative Energy businesses he accepted an offer to join the company as a Chief Scientist. While there he played an instrumental role in establishing BP’s International Centre for Advanced Materials, a 10-year, $100M cooperative agreement with, and between, four Universities – Manchester, Cambridge, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Imperial College London.
In 2012 he joined the Ministry of Defence as Chief Scientific Adviser where, in addition to overseeing MoD’s technology investments, he was able to apply his chemistry expertise to the challenge of eliminating the chemical weapons stockpile held in Syria. On completing government service he spent a short period as a Visiting Distinguished Scholar at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, before returning to the UK as Executive Director of BP’s International Centre for Advanced Materials. He is currently a special adviser to senior leaders in a number of Universities, and works with Government Defence and Security to identify opportunities to enhance capability.