Professor Calum Drummond

2015 Victoria Prize for Science & Innovation

Professor Drummond is awarded the Victoria Prize for his outstanding contributions to advancing the fundamental understanding of the key factors governing molecular assembly, and particle and surface interactions in liquids. This fundamental research in chemistry has enabled the development and commercialisation of advanced high- performance materials for economic and societal benefit.

Detergents, surfactants, lipids, proteins and many macromolecules are classed as amphiphiles. Amphiphiles can utilise their molecular segmentation to self-assemble into highly-ordered structures in some liquids. These amphiphile self-assembly structures can be exploited to create advanced nanostructured materials. Professor Drummond’s research primarily revolves around addressing three questions: (a) what drives amphiphile self- assembly (investigating the hydrophobic/solvophobic effect), (b) what governs the self- assembly structures that are formed, and (c) how can amphiphile self-assembly materials be used to enhance product formulations; including drug delivery vehicles, medical imaging contrast agents, membrane protein crystallisation media, environmentally friendly off-shore oil well drilling fluids, water-proof recyclable paper coatings, household cleaning products, and specialty chemicals for the construction industry. 

Part of Professor Drummond’s nanostructured materials research has also focused on strategies to improve the power density of energy storage devices. High power density supercapacitors are desired for consumer electronic products and can be used to highlight the calibre of Professor Drummond’s contributions to this field. Professor Drummond served as the inaugural Vice President Research at CAP-XX, an Australian-based Intel Portfolio company. Advances made by his research team in device materials led to global market leadership in commercial high power supercapacitor performance, with 11 million devices sold to date. The World Economic Forum designated CAP-XX as a 2005 Global Technology Pioneer.