Sam Shaw

Programme: BSc Geochemistry and PhD in Mineralogy/Geochemistry

Graduation: 2000

Employment: Reader in Environmental Mineralogy at The University of Manchester

"The lectures, practical exercises, tutorials and fieldwork gave me the perfect foundation for my career."

My work

“After completing my studies at Manchester I worked as a researcher in The School of Chemistry in Manchester. I then worked for a year as a researcher at Stanford University, USA. Following this I was a lecturer for four years at another university, before moving to Leeds to take up a position as a Senior Research Fellow.

“My work mostly involves a combination of research and teaching. I now run my own research group focused on environmental mineralogy and geochemistry. We undertake a wide variety of projects, including studies into the disposal of radioactive waste, bio mineralization and the development of new remediation technologies. Most of the projects involve the use of powerful synchrotron-based techniques at the Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire (

“I also, teach undergraduates and postgraduates in a variety of subjects including mineralogy, geochemistry and studies of contaminated land.

Made in Manchester

“The research projects I work on can be very rewarding. I use state-of-the-art techniques to study how minerals form and react at nano scales. I collaborate with scientists in many other disciplines from all over the world and the results help to build our understanding of how the earth and the environment works.

“The courses in mineralogy and geochemistry I was taught as an undergraduate and postgraduate are, in my opinion, some of the best in the world. SEAES has many world leading researchers and the opportunity to be taught by them and undertakes research projects with them gave me the perfect background for a career in research.

“The course also provided an excellent training in fieldwork and lab-based skills. As a researcher the fundamental geological and environmental training I was given through the lectures, practical exercises, tutorials and fieldwork gave me the perfect foundation for my career. In particular, during my final year project I had the opportunity to use one of the electron microprobes to characterise some metamorphic rocks from Scotland, which led to me being a co-author on a research paper. 

The time I spent at Manchester was some the most fun, challenging and rewarding times of my career. I can honestly say I wouldn't be in the position I am now without it. If you’re interested in a career in Geosciences research, the undergraduate programme at Manchester is the perfect foundation.”

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