Imperial College London

Professor Oscar Ces appointed to Hofmann Chair of Chemistry


Professor Oscar Ces, speaking at a podium

The position memorialises August Wilhelm von Hofmann, the first Head of Chemistry at Imperial College.

Professor Oscar Ces, the Head of the Department of Chemistry at Imperial, has been appointed as the new Hofmann Chair of Chemistry, a position that commemorates the memory of chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann (1818-1892).

Professor Hofmann became the first Professor and Director of the newly constituted College of Chemistry in London in 1845, an early predecessor to the Department of Chemistry at Imperial.

The Hofmann Chair of Chemistry is awarded to chemists at Imperial who have made positive and significant contributions to the Department of Chemistry, and to the advancement of Chemistry in London and the UK.

Professor Ces has been at Imperial for over 25-years and has been the

Head of Chemistry since August 2019. Prior to and during his time as Head of Chemistry, he has played a pivotal role in establishing Imperial’s White City Campus. 

Within the Department of Chemistry, Professor Ces has acted as Director of Development, Theme Leader for Chemical Biology & Healthcare and co-Director of the Membrane Biophysics Platform.

Alongside these roles he was previously Director of the Institute of Chemical Biology, the Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Chemical Biology, the longest running CDT in the UK that has been renewed three times, as well as the Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Doctoral Training in Cellular Bionics.

Professor Oscar Ces at the Imperial College Advanced Hackspace.

Through these roles as well as working with others in the Department, Professor Ces has co-developed and realised the vision for the Molecular Sciences Research Hub in White City and helped found the Agilent Measurement Suite, the Imperial College Advanced Hackspace, the Deep Tech Network (in partnership with Upstream) and the Invention Rooms.

Most recently he co-founded fabriCELL, an Imperial College Network of Excellence in Synthetic Cell Science and digiFAB, a new cross-faculty institute focusing on the development of Digital Chemistry which is part of the Academic Strategy

The Hofmann Chair of Chemistry is the biggest honour of my career... Professor Oscar Ces Head of Chemistry

“The Hofmann Chair of Chemistry is the biggest honour of my career,” said Professor Ces, “I have been really fortunate to work on a number of exciting initiatives during my time at Imperial but the best thing about this has been the chance I have had to work with fantastic colleagues on these ventures."

"Many of these are once in a lifetime opportunities such as the move to White City and helping to establish the ecosystem there. It’s a journey that’s only just started," he said. 

Professor Richard Craster, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, congratulated Professor Ces on his new appointment: “I am delighted that Professor Ces will be the Hofmann Chair of Chemistry, which seems very fitting given his contribution to our Department and his broader roles in chemistry.”

Hofmann Chair of Chemistry: Celebrating leadership in Chemistry

August Wilhelm von Hofmann was born in Giessen, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany in 1818. He studied under Justus von Liebig at the University of Giessen, and was awarded his PhD in 1841. 

At the age of 28 in 1845, Professor Hofmann became the first Director of the newly founded College of Chemistry in London, which became the Royal College of Chemistry under the patronage of the College President, Prince Albert, later that year. 

As an organic chemistry, Professor Hofmann made historical contributions to the field of chemistry including his process of converting an amide into an amine, known as the Hofmann Reaction, as well as discovering practical methods of obtaining benzene and toluene and converting them into nitro compounds and amines. 

The Hofmann Chair of Chemistry is an appointment that celebrates those who have made historical academic contributions to the field of Chemistry or have impacted the strategic direction of Chemistry at Imperial. 

Previous winners include: Professor Charles Rees (1927-2006), a renowned synthetic chemist who served as the President of the Royal Society of Chemistry from 1992-1994, and Professor Richard Templer, former Director of Innovation at the Grantham Institute and a co-founder of their Centre for Climate Innovation: Undaunted.


Jacklin Kwan

Jacklin Kwan
Faculty of Natural Sciences


Academic-strategy, White-City-Campus
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