Paul O'Brien      

Research Profile       

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Paul O’ Brien BSc, PhD, FRSC, CChem


Career History
University of Manchester
2004- Head of School of Chemistry, University of Manchester
2002-04 Head, Department of Chemistry, University of Manchester
2001- Founded Nanoco Technologies Ltd.
2000-2002 Research Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Manchester
1999- Professor of Inorganic Materials Chemistry
1999-2002 Sumitomo/STS visiting Professor of Materials Chemistry, Imperial College.

In 1999, Paul was invited to take up an especially created Chair of Inorganic Materials Chemistry at the University of Manchester.He is a professorial member of both the School of Chemistry and the Manchester Materials Science Centre and is the Head of the Inorganic Chemistry Section.


Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine
1995-99 Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, Imperial College
1997-98 Royal Society Amersham International Research Fellow
1997-99 Sumitomo/STS Professor of Materials Chemistry
1996-99 Regents’ appointed visiting Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology
1996-99 Distinguished visiting scholar at MDI at Georgia Institute of Technology  

Prof. O' Brien was invited to apply for a position at ICTMS in 1994 on the basis of his reputation in the area of materials orientated inorganic chemistry. Whilst at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine he continued his work on the deposition of semiconductors by Metal-Organic Chemical Vapour Deposition, the solution deposition of II/VI materials and the synthesis of quantum dots.

QMW/QMC University of London
1984-94 Lecturer, Reader (1991), Professor (1994) Inorganic Chemistry, Queen Mary and Westfield College.
As part of the restructuring of the University of London, Paul transferred to QMC in 1984 from Chelsea College as a lecturer with successive promotion to Reader and Professor. At QMW he held a large number of responsible posts in the Department including: safety officer, Head of Inorganic Chemistry, postgraduate tutor and research laboratory coordinator.

2006 D.Sc. (hon. causa) University of Zululand, Kwa-Zulu Natal South Africa
2005 A.G. Evans Memorial Medal Lecturer Cardiff University
2002 Prize winner Research Councils’ National Business Plan Competition for Nanoco Technologies Ltd. (£5,000 prize)
2001 Potts Medal University of Liverpool (Distinguished Alumnus Award)
1997 Royal Society Amersham International Research Fellow

F.I.M.M.M., C.Eng.
2001 C.Chem.,
F.R.S.C. 1990
FWIF Elected Corresponding Fellow World Innovation Foundation 2006

Academic Career
Prof. O' Brien commands international reputation for his research for well over 20 years. He has edited 8 books, contributed to ten and is the co-author of ‘The CVD of Compound Semiconductors (Verlag Chemie, 1997). He has published close to 500 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals. Presently, he is editing a new series of books from the RSC on Nanoscience and technology with Professor Sir Harry Kroto. Though originally trained as an inorganic chemist, much of Prof. O' Brien's work has been interdisciplinary. His interest in the toxicity of metal ions over many years, has led to collaborations and publications with toxicologists, pharmacists and clinicians. Much of his current work is at the interface of chemistry with materials science and engineering, involving projects with physicists, computer scientists and electronic and electrical engineers. The range of his research interests were a valuable asset when fostering new activities as Research Dean.

Paul has led courses and curriculum reviews from an early stage in his career and devised a new degree programme at QMW and saw it through the QAA procedure. In Manchester, he initially reviewed the inorganic part of the chemistry degree and has taken overall responsibility for the change management of the degree programmes attendant upon the formation of the new School in Manchester from the two precursor Departments.
Paul was a visiting Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta 1996-99), and advised Mahanakorn University of Technology (Thailand) on work on materials chemistry. He actively leads a Royal Society Programme to develop research in inorganic chemistry at the University of Zululand in South Africa (ca £400 k). He has advised National bodies in both Portugal and South Africa on aspects of science policy. He has undertaken review work for bodies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore and the USA. He has also undertaken strategic reviews of Departments for Vice Chancellors both in the UK and abroad.

Public Service

Paul has been active in a range of activities complimentary to his academic work. He has been a member of committees and audit bodies for the MoD and DTI. He has worked with the Royal Society of Chemistry for over 15 years cumulating in his present position as a Trustee and Chair of a major section of the Society (Materials). He has lectured widely to the general public and school children and has developed a major outreach activity from the School of Chemistry with AimHigher support. Paul has worked with the Manchester Museum of Science and Technology and The Science Museum to develop new exhibits. Paul is a frequent contributor of editorials and other short articles to the magazines of both RSC and IoMMM.

External Appointments Include:
Member RSC Industry and Technology Forum: Small Companies and Spinouts Steering Group
Member and Vice Chair Science and Technology Board RSC
Member Science Advisory Council Daresbury Laboratory
Member Chemicals Northwest Advisory Panel
Member International Exchanges Panel III North America and Australasia, The Royal Society
Member Nanotechnology Steering Group IoMMM
Member Advisory Group for Royal Society Advice on Science Policy to DFID
Member EPSRC College and have chaired panels.
Directorial Level Appointments
Member Board of Trustees ‘Catalyst Museum and Experiment Centre’ Runcorn
Trustee Royal Society of Chemistry
Director Nanoco Ltd
Non-executive Director Impact Faraday Ltd.