Dr Beth Willneff


My current research is focused on integration of surface and interface analysis with environmental XPS into collaborative projects with partners in industry, academia and heritage sectors to understand material composition and performance under process conditions. I am also a teacher, supervisor and mentor of undergraduate and postgraduate students with backgrounds in chemistry, chemical engineering, and art and design. I also continue to support previous core areas of research such as in small molecule crystallisation, solid form control, catalysis, and understanding materials for the arts. I support initiatives such as Mothers in Science because I know first-hand how having children still often seems to restrict employment and career opportunites in the sciences in addition to all the other issues one could face.


  • Vesatile X-ray Spectroscopy Facility (VXSF) Manager

Research interests

Application areas of my research include crystallisation, coatings, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, formulation, catalysis, thin films, foods, tribology and corrosion. This work is delivered through independent research and the Versatile X-ray Spectroscopy Facility. The VXSF is based in the the Bragg Centre for Materials Research at the University of Leeds and is part of the atoms-to-devices hub of the Henry Royce National Institute for Advanced Materials Research and Innovation in the UK. I have also done studies at various national and international research facilities including the APS, Diamond Light Source and the NSLS.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

I support teaching in modules with a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) context, supervise UG dissertations and PhD theses. My teaching practice uses materials as a focal point for bridging actual and perceived divides in pedagogy and practice in the arts, sciences and engineering. I currently supervise PGRs at PhD level in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Complex Particulate Products and Processes (CP3 CDT) and the Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecules to Product in the School of Chemical and Process Engineering

Enquiries about research collaborations are welcome in the areas below.

  • environmental X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (NAP XPS)
  • multiscale science and engineering
  • fundamental research on practice and theory of soft X-ray spectroscopies
  • X-ray spectroscopies (XAS, XPS, NEXAFS, XANES)
  • linking science to art and design practice or heritage science
  • New Materialism

Research groups and institutes

  • Colour technology
  • Textile technology
  • Design history and material culture
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>