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Profiles of Ramsay Fellows
Dr Scott Hopkins, British Ramsay Fellow 2008-2010
I completed my fellowship at Oxford University where I studied the structure and reactivity of gas-phase nanoclusters.
In general, I was interested in the chemistry and physics associated with weakly-bound systems, and this extended from studies of rare gas dimers to photo-induced reactions on the surface of catalytic transition metal nanoclusters.
I undertook my PhD at New Brunswick, Canada, and short post-doctoral fellowships at Queen's University, Ontario, Canada, and Cambridge University before taking up my Ramsay Fellowship at Oxford University.
Following my Ramsay Fellowship, I held a short post-doc (6 months) at Oxford University before moving to the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, as an Assistant Professor of Physical Chemistry.
Holding the Ramsay Fellowship has been an integral part of my career. As a Canadian academic, it is important to gain research experience abroad so as to bring a new skill set back to Canada and forge professional links with researchers in Europe. The Ramsay Fellowship facilitated this, while allowing me to undertake independent research at a world-class UK research institute. Furthermore, the prestige of holding the Ramsay Fellowship has opened several doors for me professionally and I credit it as a major reason in my short-listing for several positions. Finally, seeing the exceptional careers of many of the Ramsay Fellows that came before me is a source of inspiration and aids in my drive to excel as a scientist.
Dr Judy Hart, British Ramsay Fellow 2007-2009
I held my Ramsay Fellowship in the School of Chemistry, University of Bristol. I was studying new inorganic materials, such as carbon nitride and carbon phosphide, using both computational and experimental techniques. Carbon nitride is of interest because it may have a very high hardness (higher than diamond), while carbon phosphide is potentially useful as a semiconductor. This work has led on to studies of other new semiconducting materials. As well as their potential applications, the materials I studied are also interesting purely for academic reasons – we want to see if it is possible to use computational techniques to predict the structure and properties of materials that have never been synthesised, and then use experimental approaches to test these predictions.
I completed my PhD at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, where I worked on nanostructured titanium dioxide films for use in dye-sensitised solar cells. I then moved to England with my husband, where I worked on materials for hydrogen storage as a post-doc at the University of Bath, before starting my Ramsay Fellowship.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Ramsay Fellow. There are few opportunities for early-career researchers to undertake an independent research programme. Starting my own research only eighteen months after completing my PhD was very challenging, but has given me confidence and experience that will have a lasting effect on my career. As a researcher trying to solve the academic two-body problem (my husband and I needing to find research jobs close to each other), the Ramsay Fellowship was an enormous help – the freedom of having my own research funding meant that we could both work on exciting research with world-leaders in our fields, and both be working in the same city.
Dr Mimi Hii, British Ramsay Fellow 1997-1998
My Fellowship was conducted in The School of Chemistry, University of Leeds. It was partly sponsored by the ICI Strategic Funding, to look into the development of new catalysts for C-C and C-X bond forming reactions. During my Ramsay Fellowship I produced a paper from my research, which was my first independent publication.
During my Ramsay Fellowship I was offered and accepted a lectureship
position in Organic Chemistry, King's College London. In 2003 I took up the post of Senior
Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry at Imperial College London, and in 2009 I was promoted to Reader
The award of the Ramsay Fellowship is truly a turning point in my life, in that it directed me firmly towards an academic career. It enables me to demonstrate that my work is of relevance academically and industrially (being part funded by the Trust and industry), which is key to my aspiration for chemical research. The annual Ramsay Dinner is also a highlight, in that it gave me the opportunity to meet many eminent scientists, as well as other Ramsay Fellows. In this tough economic climate, the work of the Ramsay Trust could not be underestimated.
To find out more about Dr Hii's current Research Group at Imperial College London, visit the Group's webpage at www.ch.ic.ac.uk/mimi
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