DPhil student receives award for ‘most promising’ scientist

Monday 24 April

Balliol DPhil student Matthew Ryder receives BZA Founders’ AwardDPhil student Matthew Ryder has received the British Zeolite Association (BZA) Founders’ Award 2017 for ‘the best/most promising postgraduate scientist of the year’. He has also been awarded an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship.

Matthew is reading for a DPhil in Engineering Science in Oxford’s Solid Mechanics and Materials Engineering Group, under the supervision of Balliol’s Professor Jin-Chong Tan (Fellow and Tutor in Engineering Science). His research is in the field of next-generation materials: in particular, the utilisation of terahertz spectroscopy and quantum mechanics to discover exotic new mechanical and electrical properties of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Understanding and assessing these complex properties is key to utilising these materials in their many possible applications: the US Department of Energy has described MOFs as ‘the most promising next-generation technology for carbon capture’, for example, and they also have potential use in other emerging applications such as drug delivery and microelectronics.

Matthew, who is also a Long Term Visiting Researcher at the ISIS Pulsed Neutron and Muon Source Facility and an Honorary Staff member at the Diamond Light Source Synchrotron facility and has received many other awards, has made a significant contribution to the field of porous materials science. He was presented with the BZA Founders’ Award for ‘his novel work on the mechanical and electrical properties of metal-organic framework materials using quantum chemical calculations and neutron and synchrotron spectroscopic techniques’. The BZA Founders’ Award is one of the most prestigious in his field, so it is no surprise that he says he is ‘delighted and honoured to receive it’.

The next step for Matthew is to further his research career. The EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship, which will commence on completion of his DPhil, will allow him to advance his recent research ideas involving the dielectric properties of next-generation materials. He also hopes to initiate a start-up company, in order to commercialise the application of these materials.  

In relation to his research on dielectric materials, Matthew said, ‘The ability understand and control the low-κ dielectric response of next-generation materials could have a major effect on the microelectronics industry. Also, some of my recent dielectric work has shown very promising results in the exciting terahertz spectral region, which could be significant for emerging communications technologies.’

Photo: Matthew receiving the BZA Founders’ Award from the last remaining founder of the association, Professor Alan Dyer.