Professor Martin Freer, Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy, and Director of the Birmingham Energy Institute and the Birmingham Centre for Nuclear Research and Education at the University of Birmingham, has been named in The Birmingham Post’s top ten most influential people in the West Midlands from the world of academia. This was announced on 1 April 2016 as part of the publication’s Power 250 feature.
Professor Freer leads pioneering nuclear research and energy innovation at the University of Birmingham and guides policy to solve challenges facing the UK in the energy sector. His research is performed at international facilities worldwide; positioning him as an influential nuclear physicist and energy innovator.
In recognition for his contribution to the study of clusterisation in nuclear matter and the structure of light nuclei using nuclear reactions, he received the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Prize, Humboldt Foundation in 2004 and the Institute of Physics (IOP) Rutherford Medal in 2010. Professor Freer is also a member of the Birmingham City Council’s Green Commission, a programme that aims to make Birmingham a leading green city and to reduce total C02 emissions by 60% in 2027.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (IoP), Chair of the Nuclear Physics Advisory Panel (STFC), a member of the Reactions with Relativistic Radioactive Beams (R3B) collaboration at the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research in Europe (FAIR) and the Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research (GSI). He has served on a number of international advisory panels for scientific facilities such as the Grand Accélérateur National d'Ions Lourds (GANIL) in France, National Research Foundation iThemba Labs in South Africa and the Academy of Finland. He is also actively engaged in promoting research and educational programmes to support the UK’s investment in nuclear power generation.
In 2012, he led Birmingham Policy Commission ‘The Future of Nuclear Energy in the UK’ . The Commission evaluated the role of nuclear power generation beyond the present horizon, exploring technical, environmental, political, sociological and economic factors. He also co-authored a report on Education and Training in Nuclear Decommissioning, in association with the European Commission, published in December 2015, highlighting the needs, opportunities and challenges for Europe.
As Director of the Birmingham Energy Institute, Professor Freer leads 140 academics engaged in energy research to create change in the way we deliver, consume and think about energy.
The Institute’s key highlights have included the successful creation of the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA), a consortium of the six Midlands universities, which have combined their collective research power in energy to deliver energy solutions on a timescale matched to the national need. The Institute is leading on the Thermal Energy Accelerator (T-ERA) to drive the development and integration of a range of thermal (heating and cooling) energy technologies and the global cold economy. Birmingham Policy Commission, Doing Cold Smarter, chaired by Lord Robin Teverson, was also launched in 2015, which provides a roadmap for the UK to navigate the complexity of cold energy provision and sustainable solutions.