Sir Richard Catlow

Richard Catlow was appointed as Chair of Trustees at the Royal Institution in May 2022.

Sir Richard Catlow, he has grey hair, glasses and wears a dark suit with a blue patterned tie

Sir Richard Catlow was educated at Clitheroe Grammar School and Oxford University and has spent his career as a scientist working in interdisciplinary fields relating to the development of functional materials for energy and catalytic technologies.

Richard was one of the pioneers in the development and application of computational tools in chemistry and materials science. He has published extensively, and his work has been recognised by election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society, the German National Science Academy and by several awards.

From 1989 to 2006, Richard worked at the Ri as Wolfson Professor and from 1998 to 2006, as Director of the Davy Faraday Laboratory.

At the Ri, Richard also led the schools lectures programme for 10 years, where he greatly expanded these lectures to primary schools, and was a regular contributor to this programme with lectures on motion, energy and chemistry. He also established a satellite programme in the North West of England and ran a series of weekend Ri Masterclasses for sixth-form students on computation and science.

For several years, Richard contributed to university senior management, first as Head of University College London (UCL) Chemistry (2002–2007) and then as Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (2007–14) at UCL. He currently holds a joint professorial position between UCL and Cardiff University.

Since 2016, Richard has been Foreign Secretary and Vice President of the Royal Society, which has greatly extended his range of international contacts. From April of 2021 he has been co-President of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), a global network of over 140 science academies.

Sir Richard Catlow was knighted in the Queens Birthday Honours in 2020 for services to Science and Research.

What the Ri means to me

Ever since I first entered the Ri over 30 years ago, I have valued and recognised the Ri as a unique and iconic institution: home to some of the greatest developments in science over the last two hundred years, while advocating and communicating the wonder, elegance and significance of scientific knowledge.

This page was last updated in September 2022.