Generous gift from the Binks Trust to boost investment in photovoltaic research

Generous gift from the Binks Trust to boost investment in photovoltaic research

The Department of Physics has received a significant philanthropic donation from the Binks Trust, which will be used to enhance its solar energy research over the coming years.

The gift will support the work of Professor Henry Snaith, one the department’s leading experts in photovoltaics. Professor Snaith will be titled the Binks Professor of Renewable Energy in recognition of this generous donation. In addition, the trust will also fund a DPhil scholarship for a student working in the field of photovoltaic research, and a biennial workshop focused on renewable energy.

‘I am absolutely delighted that we have received such a generous gift from the Binks Trust towards this strategically important area of research,’ said Professor Ian Shipsey, Head of the Department of Physics.

‘Photovoltaic research is vital if we are to address the impact of energy use on the Earth’s climate. The gift from the Binks Trust has enabled us to pump-prime this research for the next few years, and we are looking forward to seeking further philanthropic support for the longer-term future.’

Professor Snaith’s Photovoltaic and Optoelectronic Device Group is primarily focused on developing the physics and technology behind low-cost photovoltaic concepts. His discovery of extremely efficient thin-film solar cells using a material called perovskites, reset aspirations within the photovoltaics community and started a new field of research. This has attracted both academic and industrial followings, propelled by the prospect of delivering a higher efficiency photovoltaic technology at a much lower cost than existing silicon photovoltaics.

Professor Snaith’s achievements have been celebrated within the global scientific community: in 2015, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society at an unusually early stage in his career. In the same year he was ranked number two on the list of The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds, a citation analysis identifying the scientists who have made the most significant impact within their respective field of study.

‘I am extremely grateful to the Binks Trust for its support,’ said Professor Snaith. ‘Not only will this gift elevate the status of photovoltaics research in Oxford and unlock more opportunities, but the opportunity to award a new DPhil scholarship to a student wishing to participate in photovoltaic research will further increase our capacity and give an opportunity for new talent to emerge.

‘I am looking forward to establishing a new biennial workshop on renewable energy, which will be an international event bringing together world-leaders in the field to share knowledge and ideas.’