Sebastian is awarded 2022 Philip Leverhulme Prize in Engineering


Associate Professor Sebastian Bonilla has been honoured with a prestigious 2022 Philip Leverhulme Prize in Engineering. Awarded by the Leverhulme Trust, Philip Leverhulme Prizes recognise the achievement of outstanding research scholars whose future career is exceptionally promising, and whose work has made original and significant contributions to knowledge as well as shown sustained international impact.

Thirty prize winners have been recognised across the subject areas of Archaeology, Chemistry, Economics, Engineering, Geography, and Languages and Literatures. Each of the 30 prize winners receives £100,000 which can be used for any purpose related to the advancement of their research. Philip Leverhulme Prizes have been awarded annually since 2001 in commemoration of the contribution to the work of the Trust made by Philip Leverhulme, the Third Viscount Leverhulme and grandson of William Hesketh Lever, the founder of the Trust.

Prof Bonilla received his prize in the Engineering category. His research aims to understand and develop nanolayer materials enabling a new generation of advanced optoelectronic devices and integrated circuits. Most notoriously, he has made substantial contributions to the development of materials to improve the efficiency of solar panels, and hence the uptake of solar energy and the mitigation of climate change worldwide. 

Commenting on this award Prof Bonilla said: “I am deeply honoured to have been selected by the Leverhulme Trust for this great recognition of my work and their vote of confidence in me. I am thrilled of the new and exciting avenues of science that this prize will allow me to explore. I am also hugely thankful for all the support I have received from my colleagues at Oxford Materials, the funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering and EPSRC, and the work and dedication of my team, without whom this would not have been possible.”

Prof Bonilla is also a recipient of a five-year Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship supporting his work into next generation electronic devices, and a prestigious Hugh Price Fellowship at Jesus College Oxford which recognises mid-career researchers of clear academic distinction. In 2022 he became a Europe Fellow at the International Strategy Forum by Schmidt Futures – a philanthropic initiative aimed at creating an interdisciplinary network to strengthen progress and security amid technological innovation and a changing world order.