Peter Batchelor

Head of Electronics and Photonics

Peter Batchelor is Head of Electronics and Photonics at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and another recently elected fellow. He agrees that physicists who work in industry and business deserve the recognition of fellowship just as much as those in academia.

“Over the past decade I’ve been key to developing industrial policy to exploit opportunities offered by emerging sectors such as photonics and plastic electronics,” he says. “In 2009, we developed a UK strategy which led among other things to a substantial investment into a plastic electronics commercialisation centre in the North East. It’s turning an emerging technology into industrial benefits and potentially tens of thousands of jobs.

“This is work which deserves recognition just as much as in the academic sector.”

Why, then, is Fellowship traditionally seen as more for academics?

“Academics care about and recognise qualifications much more than industry does.  In the industrial world, it’s more what you’ve achieved in terms of output rather than academic qualifications.

“In industry you can have few qualifications and still succeed. Qualifications all contribute, but they’re not vital in the same way.”

Peter Batchelor, 60, took his first degree in Physics and Chemistry at the University of East Anglia, and did a PhD at the Sir John Cass College in London.