Leeds researcher awarded prestigious Fellowship

Matthew Pankhurst, a Research Fellow in the School of Earth and Environment, has been awarded one of only five UK – and 30 world-wide – 2014 AXA Research Fellowships.


The Fellowships are awarded for research that contributes to better understanding of risk – whether environmental, social or economic.  Matthew’s work focuses on using X-ray science to revolutionise modelling of volcanic eruptions.

Conventional analytical techniques are not suitable for rapid data gathering, and are therefore of limited use in a time-sensitive situation such as a volcanic crisis.  Currently, when a volcano erupts we have very little idea of how long the eruption may last and how big it may become.

To help answer these critical questions, Matthew is borrowing techniques from medical and materials research to develop new methods of reading the records of past volcanic activity and of supplying data in near-real-time during an eruption.

Matthew said: “It’s terrific to be counted amoung this group. I’m very appreciative of the support from AXA, mentors at Leeds, and others in the volcanologic community. I’m looking forward to leading this inter-disciplinary project, and feel it will no-doubt produce new breakthroughs, which ultimately means better protection for people and assets.”

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