New Director appointed to Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy

Professor Laurence Hardwick has been appointed as the new Director of the Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy (SIRE), the University’s interdisciplinary research centre dedicated to renewable and sustainable energy sources.

An expert in Electrochemistry, Professor Hardwick joined the University in 2011 from St Andrews University. His research focuses on understanding the interfacial structure and reactions at lithium battery electrode and electrolyte boundary, in order to improve their capacity to store energy made by renewable industries such as solar or wind power.


Launched in 2013, the Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy undertakes research across a broad range of renewable energy technologies including solar electricity, fuel generation and renewable chemicals.  Researchers also explore issues like energy storage and energy conversion, which underpin the renewable energy sector.

Professor Hardwick said: “This is an exciting opportunity and I look forward to continuing to take forward SIRE’s research at the boundaries of chemistry and physics that will enable future methods of energy generation and storage.”

“We will continue to develop our understanding on photovoltaic solar cells and materials for batteries, semiconductors, and catalysts for fuel generation and will focus on using computer modelling to enhance our knowledge of energy systems at the molecular level.”


“The development and fundamental understanding of new and advanced materials is a major focus of our research and we are looking forward to working with colleagues in the Materials Innovation Factory with their state of the art analytical equipment and expertise to develop new insights in this area.”

With 15 academics, 18 postdoctoral researchers and 61 PhD students, SIRE manages a research portfolio of over £15M from sources including EPSRC, EU and industry. It has recently secured a collaborative project with Johnson Matthey, Europe’s largest independent designer and manufacturer of lithium-ion battery systems, through the Innovate UK programme.

SIRE is also the host institution for the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in New and Sustainable Photovoltaics on behalf of seven other UK academic partners.

In addition, Professor Hardwick is Programme Director of the Department of Chemistry’s new MChem Chemistry for Sustainable Energy progamme, which launches this autumn and provides tailored undergraduate education in this key area.

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