University of Sheffield
Co-creating the desert garden

Professor Tony Ryan OBE is The Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Sheffield and the founding Director of the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.

Tony focuses on the global challenge of the food, water, and energy nexus; feeding a growing world population; reducing the impacts of agriculture and food production that account for 30% of green house gas emissions and 70% of water use; and harnessing the power of the sun for food production and renewable energy.

The Grantham Centre’s projects cover many of the aspects of the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals, and many of the national priorities of the developing world. Tony leads the University of Sheffield’s programme in sustainability research, integrating across traditional boundaries in the pure and applied sciences, engineering, medicine, and social sciences.

Tony is very active in translational research, disseminating evidence- based science to both experts and non-experts, and has been a regular contributor to TV, Radio, National Press and at learned societies from The Royal Society of Chemistry to Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs. He presented evidence at the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris in 2015 and returned to COP22 in Marrakech in 2016.

Tony delivered the televised Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in 2002 and was awarded an OBE in 2006 for ‘Services to Science’.

His research covers sustainable synthesis, structure, processing, and applications of polymers using advanced analytical and measurement techniques. Recent research projects included renewable sources for polyurethane synthesis, organic photovoltaics, maximising the properties of polymers and biopolymers through flow-induced crystallisation, formulation of home and personal care products and polymer foams for high intensity urban agriculture. He has co-authored more than 300 papers and patents and 2 books, “Polymer Processing and Structure Development” and “The Solar Revolution: One Planet, 10 Billion People, One Solution.”

Tony holds a BSc and PhD from the University of Manchester and a DSc from UMIST. He held a NATO Research Fellowship at the University of Minnesota, was a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader in Materials Science at The University of Manchester and was seconded to the Synchrotron Radiation Source at Daresbury. In 1997 he moved to Sheffield and served as Head of Chemistry before becoming the Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Science in 2008, a role which he fulfilled until 2016.

Awards

  • The Plastics and Rubber Institute Silver Medal (1990)
  • The Akzo Chemical Award (1990)
  • Royal Society of Chemistry Thermal Methods Group Award (1992)
  • The Morand Lambla Award of the Polymer Processing Society (1999)
  • The Beilby Medal and Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry (1999)
  • Royal Society of Chemistry Environmentally Friendly Polymers Award (2003)
  • Officer of the British Empire, OBE, for “services to science” (2006)
  • Ellison-Cliffe Medal & Lecture, Royal Medical Society (2007)
  • Maitland Medal & Lecture, Institute of Structural Engineers (2008)
  • Gold Medal of the Society of Dyers and Colourists (2008)
  • MacroGroup UK Medal, RSC/SCI/IoP (2009)
  • RSC Materials Division Schools Lecturer (2011)
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