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Dr Geraint Huw Morgan

Profile summary

  • Research Staff
  • Translation of space know-how to terrestrial challenges
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Physical Sciences
  • geraint.morgan

Professional biography

Dr Geraint (Taff) Morgan FRAS MRSC works in the Department of Physical Sciences at The Open University. Having completed a degree and PhD in Physical Chemistry at the University of Leicester, he spent the first half of his career working for and with the late Prof Colin Pillinger and Prof Ian Wright, designing, building, validating and applying sample preparation systems for mass spectrometer instruments, including Ptolemy and GAP on the Rosetta and Beagle2 missions, respectively. In November 2014, after a 10 year and 4 billion mile journey Ptolemy returned the first and last mass spectra from the surface of a comet.   The team's interpretation of these historic results were recently published in Science.  

Since the launch of Rosetta in March 2004, he has led the agenda at the OU to translate the collective expertise to development of bespoke solutions to terrestrial challenges. By example, he led the multi-institutional, international consortium that was awarded a Wellcome Trust Strategic Translation Award, in 2008, to develop a novel diagnostic test for tuberculosis; he also led the team that has developed an award winning (2013 Silver BAE Chairman's Award for Innovation) solution for air monitoring that will be used onboard future UK submarines; establishing a UK capability for the first time and  breaking a 30 year US monopoly. More recently he and his colleagues have been engaged to develop a sector distruptive technology for the world's largest flavour and fragrance company, Givaudan.  He is also a co-investigator on an ESA ITT with CSEM and RUAG Space to develop a micro gc capability. He is a co-inventor on an OU patent, led by Simon Sheridan, for a gas control valve that is about to be evaluted by a major UK satellite manufacturer, SSTL, for satellite propulsion.  The device was a finalist in the 2014 Space Propuslion Innovations Competition.

Throughout this period he has invested in the best commercial instruments available and in building relationships with SMEs and multinational companies; as a result, he has had students industrially funded (see below) to develop novel analytical methods utilising stable isotopes and comprehensive (GCxGC) gas chromatography-mass spectometry in areas as diverse as atmospheric monitoring, forensic drug detection, steroid profiling, sports testing, potable water testing, cancer and disease classsification.  Markes International Ltd have just signed  a 5 year Strategic Knowledge Partnership to work with his group to develop bespoke solutions for customer led challenges.

In partnership with Anthias Consulting Ltd his laboratory hosts a highly successful training and method development facility that is widely used by academia and commercial companies.  In 2014 alone, the courses attracted delegates from 32 companies and 5 universities internationally - as well as providing over £15k of in kind training for OU staff and students.  OI Analytical have recently joined SRI and Parker Hannifin and Pyrolab in hosting their UK method development, training and demonstration faciltities in his labs.  Leco Corporation Inc also now host their UK workshops in his labs.

In February 2013, he was invited to join Oxford Micromedical Ltd as a director of the newly formed start-up that had just gained incubatee status at the ESA BIC Harwell.  The company has a research license from STFC for a patent for the development of an affordable breath test for Helicobacter pylori, which is the main cause of stomach ulcers in the developing world.  Insect Research Systems Ltd was formed the following summer and is also now based at ESA BIC and is developing a method for the early detection of bed bugs in hotels..

His translational work has received a lot of attention, being featured in Time Magazine, New Scientist, EuroNews (both film and website), Space:UK, Chemistry World, RSC News, in addition to broadsheets, blogs and national radio and tv. He has given invited lectures at the United Nations (Geneva), Royal Society, House of Commons, International Space University, FIND (Geneva), MassSpec 2013 (Singapore), SpaceTech2014, 2015 ISIS Innovations and Oxford AHSN Showcase  and he will be a speaker at the RSC's Symposium at Lab Innovations, Career Zoo (Dublin), Institute of Directors (NW) and the inaugural TEDxESA in ESTEC in November.

Healthcare is one of the application areas of interest - he sits on the Oxford Academic Health Science Network R&D Oversight Committee and the Oxford AHSN Partnerhsip Board and has led a submission to STFC for an initiative  called Space2Health.



Research interests

  • Application of Comprehensive Gas Chromatography (GCxGC) to a range of analytical challenges
  • Development of analytical assays and instrumentation solutions bespoke to customer challenges
  • Strategic initiatives for space technology transfer to other sectors especially healthcare


Impact and engagement

  • International Advisory Board for the Micro and Nanotechnology Facility at RMIT University Melbourne
  • The Open University representative on the Oxford AHSN Partnership Board
  • The Open University representative on the Oxford AHSN R&D Oversight Committee

External collaborations

PhD Studentship Sponsors

Adnan Zulfiqar, Anatune Ltd (Viva defended) 

Dr Andrew Morris, Owlstone Ltd,

Dr Bill Guthery, TrichoTech Ltd ,

Dr Imran Janmohammed, Yorkshire Water Services Ltd

Diane Turner, Anthias Consulting, Ltd (ongoing part-time PhD)

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)CentreFaculty of Science

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