Royal Society honour for Nottingham professor

Professor Martyn Poliakoff
21 May 2011 08:15:00.000


An academic at The University of Nottingham has received one of the science world’s highest honours.

Professor Martyn Poliakoff CBE has been nominated as the new Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science. He was formally elected on July 7th, and will begin his official duties on November 30th.

In his role as Foreign Secretary, Professor Poliakoff will represent the British scientific community abroad and will be responsible for overseeing the Society’s international business. The post of Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society dates back to 1723 – predating the post of Foreign Secretary in the UK government by sixty years.

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The Royal Society, founded in 1660, is a fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists. Fellows are elected for life on the basis of scientific excellence, and have included Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

Professor Poliakoff was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2002.

He said: “I am honoured and delighted by my nomination. I feel that the post will be a wonderful opportunity to promote UK science overseas and to catalyse UK collaboration with leading scientists across the world.”

As well as being a Research Professor in Chemistry at The University of Nottingham, Martyn has been active on the international stage for many years. He is an Honorary Professor at Moscow State University and Honorary Member of the Chemical Society of Ethiopia – following his work to develop links between The University of Nottingham and universities in Ethiopia.

His current research interests involve chemical applications of supercritical fluids, with particular emphasis on ‘green’ chemistry, which focuses on more sustainable ways of creating chemicals.

Professor Poliakoff also works with film-maker Brady Haran as one of the presenters of the YouTube channel, The Periodic Table of Videos,

The Periodic Table of Videos – which began as a series of short films about every chemical element – has gone on to reach a huge audience on YouTube, with more than 16 million views and a string of awards for innovative science communication.

A short film about Professor Poliakoff’s nomination to the post of Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society can be viewed at:


Fellows of the Royal Society will be asked to indicate their support for the Council’s nominated candidate on the ballot paper for the annual election of Council members. The result of the ballot will be confirmed at the Council meeting on 7 July 2011. Professor Poliakoff is nominated to succeed the current incumbent, Professor Lorna Casselton.

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Notes to editors:

The Royal Society is the UK’s national academy of science. Founded in 1660, the Society has three roles, as a provider of independent scientific advice, as a learned Society, and as a funding agency. Its expertise is embodied in the Fellowship, which is made up of the finest scientists from the UK and beyond. Its goals are to:

• Invest in future scientific leaders and in innovation
• Influence policymaking with the best scientific advice
• Invigorate science and mathematics education
• Increase access to the best science internationally
• Inspire an interest in the joy, wonder and excitement of scientific discovery

For further information please visit Follow the Royal Society on Twitter at or on Facebook at

The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. More news from the University at:

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Martyn Poliakoff, School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 3520,; Bill Hartnett, Head of Media Relations, The Royal Society, on +44 (0)20 7451 2514,

Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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