Professor Rob Short

School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Head of Department
+44 114 2229336
+44 114 2229336 (Ishita R. De PA to the Head of the Department )

Full contact details

Professor Rob Short
School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (nee chemistry)
Dainton Building
13 Brook Hill
S3 7HF

Rob studied Chemistry (BSc) and Physical Chemistry (PhD) at the University of Durham (UK) and joined the Department of Engineering Materials at the University of Sheffield in 1988, where he held the Chair of Material and Biomaterial Chemistry from 2001. During this period, Rob helped develop a materials-cell technology (myskin) for treating severe burns and scalds; adopted in the UK by the NHS, this technology was used over a decade in all the UK’s major burns centres. Rob also established Plasso Technology, an advanced materials for life science research company. Plasso developed technology that now underpins a range of products (PureCoatTM) sold globally for cell culture and cell therapy.  

In 2006, Rob joined the University of South Australia, where he held the positions of Director of an advanced manufacturing research institute, Dean of Research and Pro Vice Chancellor and Vice President. At the invitation of the Minister of Education he served on the Australian Research Council's College of Experts for three years.  

In Australia, he successfully co-led bids for an A$110M national centre for wound management innovation and a A$60M national centre for cell therapy manufacturing. Both have resulted in successful innovations in wound care and cell therapy. These include the companies, Carina Biotechnology (, which is developing a novel CAR-T cell therapy for solid (cancer) tumours and Tekcyte (, whose products include a cell-based therapy for non-healing wounds, which entered clinical trials at the beginning of 2022.   

Rob returned to the UK as the Director of the Lancaster Material Science Institute, where he helped establish the Material Social Futures Centre for Doctoral Training, focusing on how materials’ innovations shape society (and vice versa). See Material Social Futures | Lancaster University.  This centre is training 22 PhD students. 

Last year, Rob cofounded with Dr Endre Szili (UniSA) Plasma-4 ( a company that is developing novel plasma (ionised gas)-materials technology for the treatment of a range of clinical indications.  

Over his career, Rob has won over A$250M of grants and investments, including ARC Discovery, Linkage etc, CRC, and in the UK, EPSRC, Wellcome, Leverhulme, Royal Society etc. He has supervised to completion 25 PhDs and 30 post-doctoral researchers. He has published over 250 substantive peer reviewed papers. 

In 2013, Rob was elected to the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.  

He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. 

Rob rejoined the University of Sheffield in October 2022.


Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers