A Digital Interview with: Professor Arthur Garforth
Digital Interview with Professor Arthur Garforth (Professor of Catalysis, Honorary Head of Teaching). Inaugural lecture, NHS Plastic Use and projects on Mars.
- Congratulations on achieving your Professorship, what does being able to present an inaugural lecture mean to you?
Thank you absolutely delighted – firstly the thought of having to give an inaugural (lecture) was terrifying! However, because of its autobiographical nature, it became easy to structure and I really enjoyed the lecture. I, of course, tried out a few content ideas on colleagues first but finally settled on having a bit of fun creating “An Audience with….” vibe through questions in sealed envelopes.
The whole day was great and very humbling as so many former student mates (Doug, Mike and Alex), colleagues from around the University and collaborators from industry turned up – some people will do anything for wine and cheese!! (Just kidding) – very flattered – great day and the audience seemed to enjoy it as well.
Short answer – it meant a great deal to me!
- I see you went from Manchester, to industry and back to Manchester again. What was it that drew you back here?
That’s easy really, my industry job was very full-on and dealt with certification of chemical cargoes with SGS (Multinational testing company). It was a fabulous experience and there were many technical problems that needed solving but I missed research and always had a desire to teach. At the same time, these new-fangled things, personal computers were just beginning to take off to make light work of literature searching. Check out the historical New Scientist link from 1991:
- Looking to your future work, can you us a bit about your current and future research?
Currently I have a number of projects involving materials and heterogeneous catalysis based on plastic recycling, namely;
- An Innovate UK award of around £300k with a local Blackburn-based company (B&M Longworth) on PET and carpet recycling until 2023,
- A recycling mixed plastic municipal waste using heterogeneous metal-loaded zeolite catalysts working with Professor Mathew Davidson (Bath, Chemistry) and Professor Chris Hardacre (UoM, CEAS) as part of the UK Catalysis Hub (an award of around £600k) – link below
and a paper in Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2019, 58, 45, 20601-20609, https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.iecr.9b04263
- On innovative processes to reduce the carbon footprint of plastic used in the NHS with Dr Maria Sharmina (Tyndall Centre, MACE), Professor Adisa Azapagic, Dr Rosa Cuellar-Franca and Professor Chris Hardacre (CEAS) joining forces with AstraZeneca and Baxter healthcare.
You can’t do any of the above without good researchers – so a big thank you to MEngs (Zuzanna Dluzniewska; Vanithasri Anbumuthu) and PhDs (Isaac Campbell, Abdulrahman bin Jumah) and PDRAs (Marta Falkowska, Adam Greer, Kamil Oster, Rebecca St Clair, Marco Tomatis and, last but definitely not least, Aleks Tedstone)
They are the ones doing all the hard work!
For the future, there are a number of plans in place, which will see me working with
– With UMI3 (Daniel Florin Sava), to develop/commercialise the polymer recycling process developed at Manchester (see link https://app.in-art.com/login?returnTo=/articles/wxDOgwopgKvX.).
– With Professors Ian Kane (Geography) and Peter Gardner (CEAS) on characterising micro-plastics in wastewater streams and,
– On a small European Space Agency Award with Jamie Gilmour, Professor of Planetary Science, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Chris Hardacre (CEAS) to look at in-situ resource utilisation on Mars!