Prof Wendy Flavell

Emeritus Professor

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Wendy Flavell is Professor of Surface Physics in the Photon Physics Group and Deputy Head of School in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester.  She is a member of the Photon Science Institute, and was Vice Dean for Research in the Faculty of Science and Engineering between 2018 and 2021.  When she was appointed to a Chair at UMIST (now the University of Manchester) in 1998, she was only the 6th woman in the UK to achieve a Chair in Physics. She undertook her first degree and DPhil in Oxford, and following a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at Imperial College, London, she took up a lecturing post in Chemistry at UMIST in 1990, moving discipline to Physics in 1996.  

Wendy was Deputy Chair of the Physics panel for the UK’s national  Research Excellence Framework exercise (REF) 2014, and also served as a panel member for the previous national exercise, RAE2008.  She is appointed as an Interdisciplinary Adviser to the Physics sub-panel for REF2021.  In 2017, she was elected to the Council of the UK Institute of Physics.  Wendy has served as a member of several UK research council committees, including  the UK EPSRC Physical Science Strategic Advisory Team, and chaired the Science Advisory Council of the UK Synchrotron Radiation Source between 2002 and 2004.  She acts as a reviewer of programmes for several international photon sources including SOLEIL and MAXlab.  

37 PhD students of 11 nationalities have graduated under Wendy's direction.  Her research group and their collaborators were selected to exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in 2011.  You can read more at

You can hear Wendy discussing the photon with Melvyn Bragg, Frank Close and Susan Cartwright (BBC R4, 'In our time' 2015) at:

More information at:


 BA Class I in Natural Sciences (Chemistry), Oxon, 1983

 MA (Oxon) granted 1986

 DPhil (Oxon) 1986

 FInstP, CPhys

 MRSC, CChem 

External positions

Member of Council, Institute of Physics

Oct 2017 → …

Research Networks and Beacons

Education / academic qualifications

  • 1986 - Master of Arts, BA Hons Natural Science (Chemistry), Oxford University (1979 - 1983)
  • 1986 - Doctor of Philosophy, DPhil, Electron Spectroscopy of Metal Oxides, Oxford University (1983 - 1986)

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