• School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University

    B4 7ET Birmingham

    United Kingdom

  • Aston Materials Centre, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile


Professor Topham is the Head of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry (CEAC), Director of the Aston Institute of Materials Research (AIMR), Guest Professor at the South China University of Technology (SCUT), Guangzhou, P.R. China, Secretary of the IUPAC Subcommittee on Polymer Terminology (SPT), Chartered Chemist (CChem), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). He joined the Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry subject group as Aston in August 2008 as a Lecturer in Chemistry, became a Senior Lecturer in August 2012, a Reader in Polymer Chemistry in August 2013 and a Full Professor in August 2017.

In addition to the above, he has been awarded the prestigious position of representing Hydrogen in the Periodic Table of Younger Chemists for the celebration of IUPAC100 and IYPT (2019): https://iupac.org/100/pt-of-chemist/, was the MacroGroup UK Young Researchers Medal 2014recipient and is member of the Soft Matter Panel for the Diamond Light Source.

Following the completion of a PhD in 2006 with Professor Anthony J Ryan OBE, he undertook a post-doctoral research position working for Unilever, under the supervision of Professor Steve Armes.

Professor Topham’s research focuses on the synthesis, development and application of well-defined polymer systems, including “smart” polymers, biocompatible and biodegradable materials and tethered polymer brushes, within the Advanced Materials Research Unit at Aston University. Controlled polymerisation techniques are combined with synthetic organic chemistry to fabricate novel (co)polymers, which display varying phenomena, depending on the material itself and the environment in which it is placed. Characterisation techniques of their nanoscale behaviour involve x-ray scattering and neutron reflectivity amongst more traditional methods. Current research interests include microphase separation (polymer self-assembly), triggerable materials, biopolymers and biodegradable polymers, biomaterials, electrospinning (nanofibrous fabrics) and organic solar cells.

Research Interests

Polymer Science


Polymer nanotechnology (block copolymer self-assembly)

Organic Photovoltaics (solar cells)


Teaching Activity

Chemical Kinetics (CH1103, CE1103)

General Chemistry (CH1112)

Polymer Science (CH2128)

BSc Applied Chemistry Research Project Leader (CH3011)

Literature Research Projects (CH3117)

MEng Final Year Research Projects

ERASMUS Student Research Projects


  • Chartered Chemist (CChem), 2017
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), 2016
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, SFHEA, 2015
  • Aston University Early Career Researcher of the Year, 2010
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice in Higher Education, Aston University, 2010
  • PhD in Polymer Science, University of Sheffield, 2006
  • MChem, Upper second class. University of Sheffield, 2002

Contact Details

Phone number: 0121 204 3413 
Email: p.d.topham@aston.ac.uk 
Room number: MB128 


  • QD Chemistry
  • polymer synthesis
  • polymer physics
  • polymer nanotechnology
  • organic photovoltaics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Paul Topham is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Polymers Chemical Compounds
Block copolymers Chemical Compounds
Electrospinning Chemical Compounds
Polymethyl Methacrylate Chemical Compounds
polymers Physics & Astronomy
Copolymers Engineering & Materials Science
X ray scattering Chemical Compounds
Polyethylene oxides Engineering & Materials Science

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2005 2019

A comprehensive review of electrospinning block copolymers

Chen, L., Wang, S., Yu, Q., Topham, P. D., Chen, C. & Wang, L., 4 Mar 2019, In : Soft matter. 15, 12, p. 2490-2510 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

block copolymers
Block copolymers
Biocompatible Materials

Comparison and characterization of different polyester nano/micro fibres for use in tissue engineering applications

Mikes, P., Horakova, J., Saman, A., Vejsadova, L., Topham, P., Punyodom, W., Dumklang, M. & Jencova, V., 8 May 2019

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tissue engineering

Green fabrication route of robust, biodegradable silk sericin and poly(vinyl alcohol) nanofibrous scaffolds

Kumkun, P., Tuancharoensri, N., Ross, G., Mahasaranon, S., Jongjitwimol, J., Topham, P. D. & Ross, S., 30 Aug 2019, In : Polymer International.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In Situ Small-Angle X-ray Scattering Studies During Reversible Addition–Fragmentation Chain Transfer Aqueous Emulsion Polymerization

Brotherton, E. E., Hatton, F. L., Cockram, A. A., Derry, M. J., Czajka, A., Cornel, E. J., Topham, P. D., Mykhaylyk, O. O. & Armes, S. P., 28 Aug 2019, In : Journal of the American Chemical Society. 141, 34, p. 13664-13675 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Emulsion polymerization
X ray scattering
Self assembly

Managing Local Order in Conjugated Polymer Blends via Polarity Contrast

Dyson, M. J., Lariou, E., Martin, J., Li, R., Erothu, H., Wantz, G., Topham, P. D., Dautel, O. J., Hayes, S. C., Stavrinou, P. N. & Stingelin, N., 10 Sep 2019, In : Chemistry of Materials. 31, 17, p. 6540-6547 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Conjugated polymers
Polymer blends
Polyethylene oxides
Semiconducting polymers
Semiconductor materials


Albumin in tears

Author: Runstrom, G., 9 Jun 2013

Supervisor: Tighe, B. J. (Supervisor) & Topham, P. D. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Controlled polymerisation and industrial application of poly(2-chloro-1,3-butadiene)

Author: Pullan, N., 27 Nov 2014

Supervisor: Topham, P. D. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Design and synthesis of novel photoactive block copolymers towards use in efficient organic photovoltaic cells

Author: Burton, T., 2017

Supervisor: Topham, P. D. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science (by Research)

Identification of the degradation mechanisms of organic solar cells: active layer and interfacial layers

Author: Fraga Domínguez, I., 19 Feb 2016

Supervisor: Topham, P. D. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Investigating polymer-peptide conjugates and electrospinning for the production of advanced materials

Author: Sohdi, A., 20 Feb 2013

Supervisor: Topham, P. D. (Supervisor) & Tighe, B. J. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy



Aston University Early Career Researcher of the Year

Paul D Topham (Recipient), 2010

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Guest Professor

Paul D Topham (Recipient), 2014

Prize: Other distinction

MacroGroup Young Researchers Medal 2014

Paul D Topham (Recipient), 2014

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Activities 2009 2009

  • 1 Membership of network

Recent Appointees in Polymer Science (External organisation)

Paul Topham (Member)
1 Sep 2009 → …

Activity: Membership typesMembership of network