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DPhil graduate offered prestigious Clifford G. Shull Fellowship

Oxford scientist is youngest person ever to be offered prestigious Clifford G. Shull Fellowship in U.S.

DPhil candidate Matthew Ryder profile picture

EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellow and Engineering Science DPhil graduate Matthew R. Ryder (Balliol College) was recently offered the prestigious Clifford G. Shull Fellowship at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the United States. ORNL is the largest US Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory, a world-leading neutron science and nuclear energy research facility, and home to some of the world's top supercomputers.

Despite his young age, Matthew has already authored 18 publications and been awarded numerous prizes and accolades, including being named “one of the most promising scientists in the UK” last year. Following his DPhil degree in the Department’s Solid Mechanics and Materials Engineering Group, he was awarded a highly sought-after EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship to advance his research ideas involving the dielectric properties of next-generation framework materials. Matthew spent most of the past six months working in Northern Italy collaborating with scientists based at the University of Turin.

The head recruiter for Neutron Sciences at ORNL, Steve Cherry, says: “Dr Ryder may be the youngest Shull Fellow ever, but his research and publication record stands very well on its own, and he exhibits passion, confidence and coherence in his presentation style that makes him stand out as having very high potential for leadership in the growing field of Neutron Science”.

Matthew is the youngest person ever to be offered the Fellowship, which is only awarded to outstanding new scientists to allow them to continue their path to excellence. The Fellowship is named after neutron scientist Professor Clifford G. Shull, who was awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering work in neutron scattering, a technique that reveals where atoms are and how they behave within a material.

Fellow Scottish Chemist and recent Nobel Prize Winner (2016) Sir Fraser Stoddart says: “Matthew is a rising star in the world of science, he has exceptional ability and shows great promise for the future. During a visit to my research group at Northwestern University last September he left us in awe of his accomplishments and convinced me that here is a young scientist where it can be said with some confidence that the world is his oyster”.

The Clifford G. Shull Fellowship will allow Matthew to further his independent research career and establish valuable collaborations with other leading scientists working in his field.

Matthew says of the Fellowship: “It is the ideal position for me to pursue my own independent research. The Fellowship will provide me with access to some of the best neutron scattering and diffraction instruments and supercomputers in the world. I intend to initially focus on the stability of next-generation framework materials upon external stimuli such as the thermal and high-pressure response properties. However, with the world-leading facilities available and a team of brilliant scientists to work with, the possibilities are limitless”.

In 2017 Matthew was presented with the British Zeolite Association (BZA) Founders’ Award, one of the most prestigious in the field, for ‘his novel work on the mechanical and electrical properties of metal-organic framework materials (MOFs) using quantum chemical calculations and neutron and synchrotron spectroscopic techniques’. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has described porous framework materials such as MOFs as ‘the most promising next-generation technology for carbon capture’, as well as having potential uses in other emerging applications such as cancer drug delivery and microelectronics.

To learn more about MOFs and their applications see the following review article: Nanoporous metal-organic framework materials for smart applications, published in the Journal of Materials Science and Technology