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Fellows Directory

Julia Higgins

Julia Higgins

Dame Julia Higgins DBE FREng FRS


Elected: 1995


Julia Higgins is a polymer scientist who has used techniques from physical chemistry to open up an exciting field of study. After many years at the forefront of research, Julia extended her reach to include management, policy making and advisory roles whilst working to foster gender equality and diversity amongst scientists.

Her early research career focused on fundamental polymer science — a new area of research at that time — where she applied the technique of neutron scattering to the structure, organisation and movement of polymers. Her current work explores the behaviour of mixtures of polymers, observing the boundaries at which they meet and also how they separate.

Julia is now a leader of her profession in policy circles and is particularly active in efforts to raise the profile of women in research. She has held a number of prominent roles, including Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council from 2003–2007 and Principal of the Faculty of Engineering at Imperial College London. She received a DBE in 2001 for services to science.


Professional positions

Emeritus Professor & Distinguished Research Fellow, Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London
Principal, Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College London
Former Foreign Secretary, The Royal Society

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Engineering
    • Materials science (incl materials engineering)
  • Chemistry
    • Chemistry, physical


Neutron scattering, polymer blends and mixtures, organisation and motion of polymer molecules, spinodal decomposition in polymer mixtures


  • Blackett and Jagdish Chandra Bose Memorial Lectures

    On 'The responsibility of being a scientist'.

  • Humphry Davy and Claude Bernard Lectures

    On 'Polymères et Neutrons'.

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