Professor Steven Armes

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Job title: Professor of Polymer and Colloid Chemistry
Division: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Tags: Fellowship: Established Career Fellowship, Researcher, University of Sheffield


Studied at Bristol University (PhD 1987). Worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory for two years before accepting a lectureship at Sussex University in 1989. Promoted to Professor in 2000 and moved to Sheffield University in 2004. Received five RSC medals and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014. 

My Fellowship

Particle Technology is an important discipline that underpins many industrial sectors, including biomedical applications, latex paints and coatings, engine oil additives, viscosity modifiers (thickeners) and emulsion stabilisation. Prof. Steve Armes, is one of the UK's experts in particle science and technology, with more than thirty years of research experience in this field. In particular, he designs a wide range of microscopic polymer particles on the nano-scale (polymers are long-chain molecules that can be programmed to undergo in situ self-assembly during chain growth). His EPSRC Particle Technology Established Career Fellowship will allow him to devote more time to such research activities, which will be conducted in close collaboration with four UK-based companies, four UK academics and three overseas academics. This will enable Prof. Armes to integrate substantial academic and industrial expertise to tackle a range of important problems that could not be addressed by a single researcher. Fundamental scientific themes include investigating the mechanism of particle formation during heterogeneous polymerisation or developing fine particle-stabilised oil droplets that exhibit long-term stability towards droplet coalescence. More applied themes include: (i) the development of next-generation hydrogels for the long-term storage of human stem cells, which have the potential to transform regenerative medicine; (ii) the design of highly anisotropic worm-like particles to act as thickeners for a range of oils in cosmetics formulations; (iii) the elucidation of new high-temperature oil-thickening mechanisms for engine oils, which has the potential to improve fuel economy and hence improve air quality. 

I wanted to maximise the impact of my research on bespoke microscopic polymer particles by engaging closely with selected academic and industrial partners. This Fellowship will give me the time and resources to achieve my objectives. With the aid of an EPSRC grant, I have shown that polymerisation-induced self-assembly (PISA) is a highly versatile and generic platform technology for the rational design of block copolymer nanoparticles in various media, This EPSRC Fellowship will enable me to maintain my team's current world-leading position in this fast-moving field by allowing the timely retention of key experienced post-doctoral scientists and the judicious recruitment of new post-docs from other institutions with complementary expertise.