Professor Allan Matthews

External partner

Professor of Surface Engineering & Tribology


Allan Matthews is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He is Professor of Surface Engineering and Tribology in the Department of Materials and Director of the EPSRC NetworkPlus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing. Until June 2020, he served a 4 year term as Director of the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials (ICAM). He spent his early career in the UK aerospace industry with Hawker Siddeley Dynamics, then British Aerospace Dynamics Group, before returning to academia and completing a PhD at the University of Salford in advanced plasma-based coating processes for the deposition of ceramic coatings for industrial applications. He then moved to the University of Hull, where he was a founding member of the team that established a new Department of Engineering Design and Manufacture. He was a pioneer in the field of surface engineering and in early 1982 he instigated the first Surface Engineering Laboratory, which became The Research Centre in Surface Engineering (RCSE), of which he is the founder and principal Director. The RCSE's researchers continue to achieve ground breaking results in surface engineering and to actively connect academia and industry. During his tenure at the University of Sheffield, he served as Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 2007 to 2011. He has published around 400 journal papers as well as several books and chapters. He has held leadership roles in many professional and learned societies, including the Executive Committee of the Advanced Surface Engineering Division of the American Vacuum Society (AVS), as well as the Board of the Society of Vacuum Coaters. Prior to this, he was a British Vacuum Council Member and Officer. Between 2014 and 2019 he sat on the EPSRC Strategic Advisory Network. On the KTN Special Interest Group in Surface Engineering and Advanced Coatings, he represented academic standing and helped guide industrial research strategy in the coating sector. He has received a number of awards, including the IoM3 Gold Medal in 2011 and the AVS RF Bunshah Award in 2018. He received the 2020 Leading Scientist Award from the European Society for Thin Films (EFDS). He is Editor-in-Chief of the Elsevier journal Surface and Coatings Technology.