Saiful Islam joined the Department of Materials as Statutory Chair in Materials Modelling in January 2022, after moving from the University of Bath. He grew up in Crouch End, north London and obtained his Chemistry degree and PhD (1988) from University College London (with Richard Catlow FRS), followed by a Research Fellowship at the Eastman Kodak Labs, New York, USA. He returned to the UK to the University of Surrey, and was then appointed Professor of Materials Chemistry at the University of Bath in 2006, before joining Oxford in 2022. He is also Professorial Fellow at St Anne's College Oxford. He currently serves on the RSC Board of Trustees and is a Patron of Humanists UK.
Saiful's research interests encompass major contributions to the deeper understanding of atomistic processes in energy materials, especially those related to lithium batteries, solid-state batteries and perovskite solar cells.
Recent efforts have focused on: (a) Lithium-rich cathode materials for Li-ion batteries (he leads the Faraday Institution CATMAT project on next-generation cathode materials); (b) new solid electrolyte materials for lithium and sodium solid-state batteries; (c) Inorganic and hybrid halide perovskite materials for solar cells.
His research has been recognised with several awards including the 2023 Institute of Materials (IOM3) Robert Perrin Award, the 2022 Royal Society Hughes Medal, the 2020 American Chemical Society Storch Award in Energy Chemistry and the 2017 Royal Society of Chemistry Peter Day Award for Materials Chemistry. In 2022, he was made Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association. In 2019, he declined the award of an OBE and outlines why here.
He was interviewed in 2019 by Jim Al-Khalili for 'The Life Scientific' on BBC Radio 4 and presented an invited talk at the Brian Cox & Robin Ince Compendium of Reason 2022 charity event to 4,000+ people at the Royal Albert Hall. Here is a short Q&A for the Humanists-UK newsletter.