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Prof Patrick Unwin

Academic profile photograph

Prof Pat Unwin FRS

Head of Department, Professor in Electrochemistry 

Pat was born and raised in Great Preston, West Yorkshire and educated at local state schools (Brigshaw Comprehensive, Allerton Bywater, Castleford). He graduated from the University of Liverpool (1st class BSc Honours, 1985), with the Leverhulme Prize and Leblanc Medal as the top-ranked student in the Department of Chemistry, and then obtained a DPhil at the University of Oxford (1989) for his work on the development and application of hydrodynamic electrodes. He was elected Junior Research Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford (1988), before winning a SERC/NATO Fellowship, which he held at the University of Texas at Austin, USA, where he worked with Prof. Al Bard on the development and application of scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM).

In December 1991, Pat returned to the UK and joined the University of Warwick where he established the Warwick Electrochemistry & Interfaces Group. At Warwick, he has been Lecturer (1991-96), Senior Lecturer (1996-98), Professor (since 1998) and Head of Department (since 2023). He was Founding Director of the Warwick Centre for Analytical Sciences (2008-11) funded by a ca. £4M EPSRC Science and Innovation Award and Founding Director of the ca. £5M EPSRC-Warwick Molecular Analytical Science Centre for Doctoral Training (2014-23).

Pat's research cuts across many areas of science (see 'research interests') and he has received funding of > £12M (PI) and > £20M (co-I), for > 100 different projects, from inter alia EPSRC, BBRSC, Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, ERC, EU, and from more than a dozen different companies (> £3M industry research funding for about 50 different projects). Pat and his group have worked with labs across the world, especially through large EU funded programmes, and Pat has been a partner on several Australian Research Council grants, including the ACES Centre of Excellence (2014-21). Between 2010-15 Pat held an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant (€2.2M) to develop innovative flux imaging techniques and between 2017-22 he held a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award.

More than 75 PhD students have graduated under Pat's supervision, along with 35 postdoctoral fellows. More than 30 former members of his group have independent academic positions and set up their own groups in institutions around the world. Many others have leadership positions in industry internationally. Pat and his group are particularly well known for inventing nanoscale electrochemical imaging techniques that provide new models for processes at electrodes (batteries, electrocatalysts, etc.) and other interfaces (biological cells, crystals). Pat's inventions have been commercialised and adopted by academics and industry globally.

Pat is the author of more than 400 papers and book chapters and he has won a number of awards, including the Marlow Medal, Corday-Morgan Medal, Barker Medal and Tilden Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), and the Vetter Prize and Experimental Electrochemistry Prize from the International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE). In 2018, he was the Society of Electroanalytical Chemistry Reilley Awardee, and was selected for the 2019 American Chemical Society, Analytical Division Award in Electrochemistry - in both cases the first winner from the UK. Pat is a Fellow of the RSC and ISE, and is a member of the editorial committees of a number of journals, including Annual Review of Analytical Chemistry. In 2024, Pat was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of his invaluable contributions to science, and as a leader in his field.

Beyond science and electrochemistry, Pat is a keen musician, who has occasionally performed live, and recorded original songs with his band paparoro.

Groups at Warwick