This annual award was established in 1996 by the British Carbon Group in memory of Brian Kelly, a leading authority on graphite physics (note that Brian’s book, “The Physics of Graphite”, is available for download from our website).

The award is intended as a travel grant for students and early career researchers with up to ten years postdoctoral experience to attend the annual World Conference on Carbon. Anyone living or working, at the time of that conference, in the country where the conference is held is not eligible. As a consequence, applications will not be accepted from the UK on this occasion.

The award is made upon the basis of an appraisal of THREE documents: (1) an extended abstract of two A4 sides, (2) a short CV (with the date of the award of PhD if applicable) and (3) a commentary provided normally by the candidate’s supervisor or close colleague. Self-nomination is permitted. The Award Committee of the British Carbon Group will determine the successful applicant.

The closing date for applications is 1st May 2023.

The award is currently five hundred pounds sterling (£500) and is presented at the time of the conference with a certificate. It is a condition of the award that the winner attends the conference and presents their paper either orally or as a poster.

Applications may be transferred electronically to the Chair of The Brian Kelly Award Committee, Ms. Nassia Tzelepi, at or, exceptionally, mailed to her at the following address:

Ms Nassia Tzelepi FInstP
Laboratory Fellow in Graphite Technology
NNL Central Laboratory, Sellafield, Seascale, Cumbria CA20 1PG,
United Kingdom

Previous Winners:

  • 2022: Jacob Martin, Curtin University, Graphite formation through annealable topological defects
  • 2019: Phoebe K. Allan, University of Birmingham, Pair Distribution Function Analysis of Hard Carbon Anode Materials for Sodium-Ion Batteries
  • 2018: Huseyin Enis Karahan, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Factors influencing the antibacterial activity of graphene oxide beyond materials physicochemistry
  • 2017: Riutao Lv, Assistant Professor, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University, China
  • 2016: Dr. Yasuhiro Yamada, Chiba University, Review for analyses of defects in carbon materials using X- ray photo-electron spectroscopy and computation
  • 2015: Dr. Graham Rance, University of Nottingham, Palladium nanoparticles in catalytic carbon nanoreactors: the effect of confinement on Suzuki-Miyaura reactions
  • 2014: No award
  • 2013: Vilas Pol, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL 60439, USA and Wei Lv, Engineering Laboratory for Functionalized Carbon Materials, Tsinghua University , China (two awards)
  • 2012:  Fei Guo, Chemical Engineering, Brown University, USA
  • 2011: Monica J. Hanus, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Sydney, Australia.
  • 2010: Jean-Philippe Tessonnier, Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany.
  • 2009: Gemma Haffenden, Theoretical Chemistry and Chemistry of Materials group, University of Sussex, UK.
  • 2008: Denisa Hulicova-Jurcakova, ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials, University of Queensland, Austrialia.
  • 2007: Philip Adelhelm, Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces Potsdam, Germany
  • 2006: An-hui Lu, Max-Planck-Institut fur Kohlenforschung, Mulheim an der Ruhr, Germany and
    Emmanuel Flahaut Universite Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France (two awards)
  • 2005: No award
  • 2004: Q.H.Yang, Tohoku University, Sendai Japan.
  • 2003: No award
  • 2002: J. Y. Howe, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, USA and M. Guellali, University of Karlsruhe, Germany (two awards)
  • 2001:    Z.-X. Ma, Tohoku University, Japan
  • 2000:    J. Klett, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, USA and J. Andresen, Penn State University, USA (two awards)
  • 1999: no award
  • 1998: B. Fathollahi, University of California, San Diego, USA
  • 1997: J. Barbosa-Mota, Inst. Biologia Experimental e Tecnologica, Oeiras, Portugal
  • 1996: Y. Kawabuchi, Kyushu University, Japan

 Download the The Brian Kelly Award details

Geoff Fowler, BCG Chairman, presents the Brian Kelly Award to Jacob Martin at Carbon 2022.
Malcolm Heggie, BCG Chairman, presenting the Brian Kelly Award to Riutao Lv at Carbon 2017.
Carbon 2016 Yasuhrio Yamada
Yasuhiro Yamada from Chiba University receives the Brian Kelly Award at Carbon 2016 from BCG Chairman, Malcolm Heggie

Brian Kelly was a world authority both on the physics of graphite and on irradiation damage in solids. He was born and educated in Wales and spent most of his career working for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, UKAEA. One of his major contributions at UKAEA was to the development of specifications for the isotropic graphite required for the graphite core for the British Advanced Gas cooled Reactors, AGR.

Brian’s approach, which he carried out brilliantly, was to underpin engineering design data with an understanding of the basic science. For example he related the irradiation-induced dimensional changes in the graphite bricks in the reactor core to the displacement of atoms in the graphite crystal. Brian made many contributions to the basic science of graphite, much of it summarised in his much sought after book ‘The Physics of Graphite’, Applied Science Publishers, 1981. In 1981 he also received the Charles E Pettinos Award of the American Carbon Society for “his many contributions to the theoretical and experimental aspects of the physics of carbon and graphite”….

After his retirement form the UKAEA, Brian was engaged as a consultant by Oak Ridge National Laboratories, USA. During a productive association with ORNL, Brian worked on a number of projects including graphites for high temperature gas-cooled reactors and the mechanisms of irradiation induced creep of graphite. He was a visiting professor at Bath University after he retired and until his untimely passing.

Brian was an engaging person who wore his formidable learning lightly. At conferences he enjoyed vigorous but good-natured discussions on many topics but particularly on the physics of graphite.