The Materials Processing Institute has appointed Professor John Fernie head of the Materials Processing Institute's recently formed Advanced Materials Group.

Professor Fernie has more than 30 years’ experience of managing research and development teams, including creating and implementing technology strategies and securing grant-based and commercial funding from the UK, EU and the rest of the world.

The Advanced Materials Group draws upon the Teesside-based Institute’s expertise in metallurgy and materials science, thermodynamics, chemical engineering and mechanical engineering in order to develop the new materials and processes required for future technologies, including electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, clean energy and low carbon processing. It is focused on scale-up and improving production routes, through to finished product and investigates how existing materials, ranging from steel and other metals to ceramics and glasses, can be improved to increase quality and yields.

Professor Fernie previously worked for TWI (The Welding Institute) in Cambridge and AWE (the Atomic Weapons Establishment), in Aldermaston, as well as being a freelance technical consultant.

An experienced materials scientist and engineer, specialising in metallic and ceramic materials, he has worked with several industry sectors including defence, aerospace, chemical, oil and gas, energy, and power generation.

At AWE he acted as technical lead to several inorganic materials programmes including materials processing, the joining of materials and the immobilisation of nuclear waste. Last year he was appointed by Teesside University to work on strategy and projects relating to the hydrogen economy.

While at AWE, John was the recipient of a Chief Scientific Advisor, Certificate of Commendation for "exceptional contribution to defence science”.

Chris McDonald, chief executive of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “We are fortunate to attract someone of John’s calibre and I’m delighted to welcome him to the Institute.”

John succeeds James Taylor who was acting group manager during the recruitment process and has now taken up his research role in the Institute’s Low Carbon Energy Group.