University of St Andrews


1. Develop new strategies to manipulate defect chemistry to control electrical and electrochemical properties of materials and their interfaces.

2. The development of supported electrodes for high scale manufacture of fuel cells and batteries.

For Further information please contact the Principal Investigator, Professor John T S Irvine

Principal Investigator

Professor John T S Irvine FRSE, FRSC  is well recognised for world-leading activity in energy materials, fuel cell and energy conversion technologies. He has 400 refereed publications (h-index of 54), has trained 50 PhD students and was awarded the RSC Sustainable Energy Award in 2015, previously being awarded RSC Materials Chemistry (‘09), Bacon (‘03) and Beilby (‘99) awards/medals. He has published 10 high level Nature publications and was re-elected European Councillor of the International Society for Solid State Ionics in 2015. He has led two EU research training networks, 1 ESF programme and 1 EU project. He led the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Association for 6 years to 2013 and is co-Director of the Energy Technology Partnership. He has led 3 EPSRC platform grants, led the Delivery of Sustainable Hydrogen Supergen and is Co-director of the current Supergen Hydrogen and Fuel Cell hub. He was an EPSRC Senior Fellow 2006-11, is PI or CoI on 10 current EPSRC related grants including the St Andrews Advanced Materials Capital for Great Technologies award. There is also very significant Industry, EU and government funding with a total overall current portfolio of around £11M. His research interests include solid state ionics, new materials, ceramic processing, electronic conductors, superconductors, electrochemistry, photoelectrochemistry, fuel cell technology, hydrogen, electrochemical conversion and heterogeneous catalysis.


Dr Mark Cassidy is a Senior Research Fellow and materials process specialist with over 20 years’ experience of energy materials development. A major focus of his work is the integration of new materials into devices, in particular the application of ceramic thick film techniques and the tailoring and engineering of microstructures and interfaces. He has significant industrial experience with 10 years in several globally leading fuel cell companies. He takes a keen interest in developing the key interface between strategic research, pre-commercialisation development and industrial collaboration, accelerating the transfer of results from fundamental discovery towards practical application. This wide range of experience makes him well placed to facilitate cross disciplinary activities within the core team and engage with industry. He has co-authored 25 papers and has 3 granted patents. He is currently a Co-Investigator on 4 current EPSRC grants.

Dr Cristian-Daniel Savaniu, MRSC  is a Senior Research Fellow currently engaged in research on advanced energy materials and processing techniques, with applications in catalysis and electrochemical devices such as fuel cells. His work focuses on preparation of specific materials using low temperature solution methods, deposition of thin films of proton and ionic conducting electrolytes and development of ceramic SOFC anodes. He has a keen interest in understanding the solid-solid, gas-solid and liquid-solid interactions occurring at the interface of perovskite materials, with the scope of favourably tailoring their properties. He has 30 refereed papers (h-index 14), including one in Nature and co-authored two patents. He has been a PI and Co-I on several EPSRC projects.

Research Fellows

Dr Julia L Payne completed her PhD and initial post-doctoral studies at Durham University under the supervision of Dr Ivana Evans.   Her work focused on the synthesis, characterisation and properties of oxides,with particular emphasis on their applications as oxide ion conductors.  Her work involved a using a range of different synthetic and crystallographic techniques (powder X-ray and powder neutron diffraction, single crystal X-ray diffraction and neutron total scattering) and impedance spectroscopy.  During her PhD Julia spent some time at the Institut-Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France carrying out molecular dynamics simulations.

In 2012 Julia took up a post-doctoral position in the group of Professor Matthew Rosseinsky at the University of Liverpool.  Here her work focused primarily on the synthesis, characterisation and properties of materials for lithium ion conductors.  Julia was also involved in projects on a range of different materials such as oxide ion conductors and materials for SOFC cathode applications.  During this time, Julia was the synchrotron powder diffraction beam-time coordinator for the group and this enabled her to be exposed to other projects in the group in areas as diverse as MOFs, ferroelectrics and superconductors.   Julia is very experienced in carrying out experiments at large central facilities such as ISIS and Diamond.

Julia’s research interests continue to be centred on materials for energy applications.  She particularly enjoys using a range of complementary techniques to probe the structure- property relationships within functional materials.

Dr Jin-Goo Lee