Top UK Award for academic

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Internationally-renowned scientist Professor Peter Bruce, of St Andrews University, has been honoured for his research that could transform the range of electric vehicles and make renewable energy more viable.

He was presented with the inaugural UK Science Award by global coatings company AkzoNobel during a ceremony in London on Tuesday after being selected for the honour by an independent panel convened by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The judges cited Professor Bruce’s outstanding contributions to research in the fields of solid state chemistry and electrochemistry and his key work, which in the eyes of the panel raised him above the very high standard of entries, was his work to make lithium batteries last longer and deliver more power.

Professor Bruce said: “New generations of rechargeable lithium batteries could extend the range of electric vehicles, enabling them to travel further than current models before needing recharged and making them a more realistic option for drivers who wish to travel greater distances.

RENEWABLE

“They could also help to balance the intermittent supply of electricity from renewable sources - such as wind and wave power - with consumer demand, a key challenge in making renewable energy viable and which would provide enormous potential for Scotland which has an increasing emphasis on renewable energies.

”Research is a team effort and I want to pay tribute to my research colleagues past and present, as well as my fellow academics at St Andrews.”

UK Business Secretary, Vince Cable, said:“It is important that we take every opportunity to recognise the wealth of science talent and expertise we have in the UK.

“Professor Bruce’s work on low-carbon vehicles is not only important for our world-leading research base, but also has the potential to drive growth and innovation in industry.”

Professor Lesley Yellowlees, president-elect of the RSC and chair of the judging panel, added: ”He is an enterprising and brilliant scientist who gives inspiring leadership to innovative, cutting-edge scientific research with clear practical relevance.”

Professor Bruce’s work at the university focuses on making new materials with new properties which will transform their capabilities.

The material chemist is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh and came to St Andrews in 1990. He has been Wardlaw Professor of Chemistry since 2007.