Dr Jamie Gould AMRSC
Winner: 2021 Inspirational Member Award
Newcastle University and RSC Porous Materials Group
For dedication to supporting the global porous materials community through the development of the successful regular webinar series in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Celebrate Dr Jamie Gould
Dr Gould's work involves investigating materials using X-rays, allowing us to determine their structure, and understand their functional properties. This enables the design of solid-state materials for a wide range of applications: gas storage and separation, drug delivery, energy capture and storage, and catalysis to name a few.Read winner biography
Dr Jamie Gould is Technical Scientific Officer, specialising in powder X-ray diffraction, at Newcastle University. Jamie obtained his BSc (Hons) and MSc in Chemistry and Designing Chemical Solutions from Newcastle University, and his PhD in Materials Chemistry from the University of Liverpool. He then completed independent postdoctoral research at Liverpool (EPSRC PhD Plus Independent Researcher, now EPSRC Postdoctoral Prize), followed by postdoctoral positions at the University of York and the University of Nottingham, before taking a fixed-term lectureship at the University of Leeds (2013–2016). He then took a career break, becoming a teacher at secondary school and within industry. However, he realised that academic research is where he wanted to be, so he re-joined academia as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of York, before moving to his current position at Newcastle University.
Jamie has always been interested in materials chemistry research. During the first lockdown, he sought to keep his research community connected and joined the RSC Porous Materials Interest Group Committee and help set up the RSC Porous Materials Webinar Series, which has hosted 25 speakers from countries including the UK, US, Japan, China, Australia, France and Germany with over 2,500 attendees from 40 different countries.
In his spare time, Jamie enjoys running, completing his first marathon in 2019. He is an active participant and volunteer at Parkrun, and also enjoys travelling, hiking and playing his guitar.
How did you first become interested in chemistry?
At A-level. I had an inspirational teacher called Martin Bennett whilst I was at Totton College. It was the first time that a subject really clicked with me and I knew that I wanted to learn more. Unfortunately he left the college before I left for university, so I never got the opportunity to say thank you for being so inspirational.
Who or what has inspired you?
During my second year undergraduate course at Newcastle University, Eimer Tuite gave a lecture course on supramolecular chemistry, based upon the Oxford Primer from Beer, Gale and Smith. I found the idea that you can design and build amazing structures and architectures from weak forces simply incredible. I knew after those lectures that was what I wanted to do.
What motivates you?
Discovering and measuring new structures, and then studying the properties associated with them. When you first see the crystal structure of something that you’ve spent a long time making, it’s a great feeling.
What advice would you give to a young person considering a career in chemistry?
Do it. Studying chemistry opened many doors and possibilities for me. I’ve got to work on some amazing science, travel the world, make amazing lifelong friends in different countries and it has allowed me to do something that I enjoy. Even if you don’t want to pursue a chemistry career, it gives you so many transferrable skills along with thinking critically to solve problems.
Can you tell us about a scientific development on the horizon that you are excited about?
I’m really excited about the new developments in energy capture and storage. Here in Newcastle, Marina Freitag’s group invented ‘smart zombie’ solar cells, which are designed to collect ambient solar light to power internet devices within the home. This could reduce the reliance on battery energy sources to power ‘smart’ devices within the home. It’s a great innovation.
What has been a challenge for you (either personally or in your career)?
I took a career break from academia to try new things, but I ultimately decided that this is where I wanted to work. Breaking back into academic research has been a challenge due to my age and non-conventional career path, but I have some great people who help champion me, like Alyssa Avestro (University of York) and Neil Champness (University of Birmingham).
What does good research culture look like/mean to you?
Interdisciplinary, diverse and collaborative, where people work together instead of in competition, in a respectful and fun way. We need to remember that people chose to study chemistry and work in research, driven by a curiosity to know more. The best labs that I have worked in, I’ve always enjoyed working with the people as well as doing the science. You can be so much more productive if you enjoy your work, so getting that environment right really is key.
How are the chemical sciences making the world a better place?
It’s the science that’s driving innovation and attempting to solve a lot of the world’s problems. Chemists are researching new ways to capture and store energy, removing our reliance on fossil fuels, designing new ways to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to fight climate change, and building new smart materials that can produce clean water from desert air, and that’s just materials chemistry!