2020 Lord Lewis Prize Winner
Professor Vernon Gibson, University of Manchester, University of Oxford and Imperial College London
Awarded for seminal contributions to fundamental and applied inorganic chemistry, and for critical work in policy setting at the interface of academia with industry and government.
Professor Gibson’s work began a NATO postdoctoral fellowship with John Bercaw at Caltech after his studies at the University of Sheffield and University of Oxford. He then pursued 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, developing a 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 joined the company as a Chief Scientist, where he played an instrumental role in establishing BP’s International Centre for Advanced Materials, a 10-year cooperative agreement with and between four universities – Manchester, Cambridge, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Imperial College London. In 2012, Professor Gibson joined the Ministry of Defence as Chief Scientific Adviser, and then spent time 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.
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