New Director appointed to Cardiff Catalysis Institute

19 October 2018

Prof Duncan Wass

Cardiff University has appointed Professor Duncan Wass as the new Director of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI).

Professor Wass joins the CCI from the University of Bristol and brings with him a wealth of experience in the development of catalysts to tackle some of society’s most pressing challenges.

Over the last 10 years the CCI has established itself as one of the world’s leading centres for catalysis, bringing in millions of pounds worth of funding and forging successful partnerships with industry and academia both here in the UK and across the world.

Catalysis is the process of speeding up chemical reactions to make products cheaper, cleaner, safer and more sustainable. It is estimated that 85 per cent of the world’s products require a catalyst at some stage in their production.

Originally from Leicestershire, Professor Wass completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Durham before undertaking a PhD in catalysis from Imperial College, London. He began his career working for BP Chemicals Ltd at their Sunbury-on-Thames laboratories before moving to BP’s research site in Brussels, Belgium.

Professor Wass joined the University of Bristol in January 2004, and was promoted to Professor of Catalysis in 2012. He has led Bristol’s involvement in the Bath-Bristol-Cardiff Centre for Doctoral Training in Catalysis, and also sits on the steering group for the EPSRC UK Catalysis Hub.

The UK Catalysis Hub at Harwell was recently awarded £14m of funding from the EPSRC to further its research activities, of which £7m was directed towards research at Cardiff University.

Professor Wass’s work covers many aspects of catalysis and has prompted the development of a number of catalysts for novel processes such as the production of biofuels as a replacement for petrol and the development of materials with ‘self-healing’ properties.

As Director of the CCI, Professor Wass will ensure that the production of world-leading research remains a priority for the Institute, along with developing and maintaining close relationships with industry partners.

Professor Wass will also oversee the relocation of the CCI to Cardiff University’s brand new Translational Research Facility (TRF).

The TRF will be a central part of Cardiff University’s £300m Innovation Campus, providing cutting-edge facilities that will help researchers and students work with partners to build enterprises that create products, spin-outs, start-ups and social enterprises.

“The Cardiff Catalysis Institute is one of the internationally-leading centres for catalysis research, so to be its Director is a huge privilege and opportunity,” Professor Wass said.

“The Institute has an outstanding track record of fundamental academic research but has always combined this with a strong relationship with many industry partners. I’m looking forward to meeting new colleagues, forging new collaborations and shaping the future of the CCI together.”

The Institute has an outstanding track record of fundamental academic research but has always combined this with a strong relationship with many industry partners. I’m looking forward to meeting new colleagues, forging new collaborations and shaping the future of the CCI together.

Professor Duncan Wass

Professor Wass will take over the role from Professor Graham J. Hutchings CBE FRS, Regius Professor of Chemistry, who has led the CCI since it was formed in 2008.

Professor Hutchings said: “I am delighted that Professor Wass will be taking over the role at the CCI. He brings with him a wealth of experience that will no doubt further Cardiff’s reputation as one of the world’s leading centres for catalysis.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to lead the CCI for the last 10 years, and I look forward to working with Professor Wass and colleagues in what promises to be an exciting future.”

Professor Damien Murphy, Head of the School of Chemistry, said: “Professor Wass will bring new areas of research to the CCI, building on the existing strengths in Cardiff and deliver the enormous opportunities that catalysis can offer in solving many of the biggest challenges facing society. We warmly welcome Duncan to the School and the CCI, and are delighted he has accepted this opportunity to lead the CCI going forward.”

Our state-of-the-art catalysis facility supports world leading research in chemical sciences.