Robert Mather is a Cambridge graduate in Chemistry, with a Ph.D. from Birmingham University in polymer chemistry. He is a Chartered Chemist and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is also a Member of the Textile Institute and a Corporate Member of the Society of Dyers and Colourists.
After two spells of postdoctoral research at Imperial College and Brunel University in London, he worked for 10 years in the R&D Department of Ciba-Geigy Pigments at Paisley, Scotland. He then transferred to The Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels, where he acquired his interest in technical textiles and established a research profile in polypropylene fibre processing. The Scottish College of Textiles subsequently became part of Heriot-Watt University, and Robert Mather is now an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Heriot-Watt.
Current research and development interests include the integration of solar cells on textiles (supported by SMART:SCOTLAND funding from the Scottish Executive), gas plasma treatments for textiles, particularly for biomedical textiles, and the application of nonwovens for oil spill recovery. Robert Mather has also worked on 3D woven engineering products.
Robert Mather’s industrial experience has convinced him of the need for companies and universities to work closely together, so that they can benefit from one another’s expertise. In this respect, he was Director for five years from 1995 of the newly-established Technical Textiles and Polymer Innovation Unit at Galashiels. During this period, he established contacts with personnel at the Department of Trade and Industry responsible for the technical textile industry, and was also contracted to write on the technical textile industry in Scotland for a briefing paper for the Scottish Executive. In 2000, the Unit was subsumed into the UK TechniTex Faraday Partnership, and he became responsible for technology transfer in the Partnership’s organisation.
Robert Mather has also been Director of the Biomedical Textiles
Research Centre at Heriot-Watt University. He is the author of over 80
technical papers and is a proficient speaker of French.