Professor Hicham Idriss

Honorary Professor


Hicham Idriss is Fellow at SABIC Corporate Research & Development (CRD) at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia and an Honorary Professor here at the Department of Chemistry. He received his undergraduate (BSc Biochemistry/Chemistry) and postgraduate (MSc Applied Chemistry, PhD Applied Chemistry/Materials Science and Dr. of Science/habilitation (Applied Chemistry/Materials Science) education from the University of Strasbourg (France). Prior to joining SABIC he held positions from 2008 to 2011 as Aberdeen Energy Futures Chair and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Aberdeen (UK) and from 1995 to 2008 as Associated Professor at the Department of Chemistry, the University of Auckland (New Zealand). His main research work is on the surface reactions of metal oxides both at the experimental and computational levels. In the last decade, he has been focusing his research on hydrogen production from renewables both by thermal and photocatalytic methods. He has about 230 papers and over 150 patents/patents applications. He is member of the editorial board of Catalysis, Structure and Reactivity; Applied Sciences “Environmental and Sustainable Science & Technology" and Applied Catalysis B: Environmental.



Summary of research group

The main activity is devoted to making hydrogen from water. The activity encompasses complete study of the water splitting reactions (and associated excited carriers scavengers) from ab initio computation to model single surfaces, to real catalysis and larger reactors. The main concepts behind our work are surface enhanced plasmonics, phase-synergism, heterojunctions as well as 3D microscopic structures such as photonic band gap materials.

Research highlights

Frontispiece: Surface Functionalization of g-C3N4: Molecular-Level Design of Noble-Metal-Free Hydrogen Evolution Photocatalysts


Hicham Research Highlight…
Research Facilities
  • STM
  • Femto second pump probe and luminescence
  • In situ IR/TPD
  • In situ photoluminescence
  • Photocatalytic reactors and GCMS
  • Ab initio computation (pwSCF and VASP)
  • French Ministry of Research and Technology - PhD Scholarship (1985-1987).
  • Invited Professor; November 2000 – January 2001, School of Chemistry, University of Strasbourg, France.
  • Research Fellowship at the Fritz Haber Institute der Max-Plank Geselschaft, 2000. 
  • Research Fellowship; the French National Research Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS): Oct. 2001-Feb. 2002.
  • Member of the Asia-Pacific Association of Catalysis Societies (APACS) Committee. 2004-2008; New Zealand representative.
  • Fellow of the NZ Institute of Chemistry, 2005.
  • Member of the Energy Panel of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 2005- 2008
  • American Chemical Society 
  • American Vacuum Society
  • Materials Research Society
Research interests
  • Catalysis by metal oxides
  • Metal/metal oxides interface
  • Photocatalytic reactions for hydrogen production
  • Reaction mechanism (experimental and computational)
  • Surface spectroscopy
  • Doctoral Training in the Advanced Characterisation of Materials – lectures on Catalysis