Dr Fiona J Beck

FERL Fellow
Senior Lecturer
+61 2 619 70113

Dr Beck leads a research group focused on integrating nanophotonics and optoelectronic device design for applications in solar fuels and the next generation of photodetection technologies. She is also Convener of the Hydrogen Fuels Project in the ANU's Zero-carbon energy for the Asia-Pacific Grand Challenge

Dr Beck currently holds a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) from the ARC, as well as the Future Engineering Research Leader (FERL) Fellowship from the ANU. She joined the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the Australian National University as a research fellow and lecturer in 2015. She spent the previous four years as a Marie Curie Research Fellow at ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, Spain, employing plasmonics to enhance the performance of novel optoelectronic devices. She obtained a PhD from the ANU in 2011, with a thesis on designing plasmonic light trapping schemes for applications in solar cells. She has an MSci degree in Physics from The University of Glasgow, and was awarded the Eve and Ravenscroft prize for the most distinguished graduate from the Faculty of Physical Sciences.  

Dr Beck tweets about optoelectronics, nano-optics, and saving the world with renewable energy @Fiona_J_Beck

**I am looking to support a PhD candidate through the ANU domestic scholarship round in October 2021 with a project on the Hydrogen Economy, working with the fabulous ZCEAP Grand Challenge team. See link below for details**


Research areas

  • Nanophotonic approaches to photochemistry 
  • Hot electron science and applications 
  • Solar (photoelectrochemical) hydrogen generation
  • The hydrogen economy and the energy transition

Academic history

2019-present: Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow, Research School of Electrical, Energy and Materials Engineering, ANU

2015-2018: Lecturer and Research Fellow, Research School of Engineering, ANU

2011-2014: Postdoctral Researcher, ICFO- Institute of Photonic Science, Barcelona, Spain

2007-2010: PhD in Nanophotonics for light trapping, College of Engineering and Computer Science, The Australian National University, Australia

2002-2006: First Class MSci in Physics, University of Glasgow, Scotland


2018: Zero-carbon energy for the Asia-Pacific, ANU Grand Challenges Scheme, Hydrogen Fuels Project Convenor, https://www.anu.edu.au/research/research-initiatives/zero-carbon-energy-for-the-asia-pacific

2018: Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) Research and Development Program Round 4: Renewable Hydrogen for Export, Low-Cost Perovskite/Silicon Semiconductors Integrated with Earth Abundant Catalysts for Efficient Solar Hydrogen Generation KC007

2018: ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, Research School of Engineering, ANU, Plasmonic hot-electron technologies for nanoscale energy conversion, DE180100383

2016: ANU Major Equipment Committee Grant, Research School of Engineering, ANU, Photoelectrochemical Characterisation Facility

2014:  Future Engineering Research Leader Fellowship, Research School of Engineering, ANU, Nanostructured Optoelectronic Devices

2011-2013: Marie Curie Incoming International Fellowship, European FP7 People Framework, ICFO - Institute of Photonic Science, Barcelona, Spain, Plasmonically enhanced collodial quantum dot photovoltaics, FP7-299517-PECQDPV

My research spans the boundary between nano-scale optics and photoelectrochemical/optoelectronic device design: harnessing an improved understanding of light-matter interactions to investigate new ways to convert light to other forms of energy.

Our research group brings together expertise in numerical simulations, device design and fabrication, and advanced characterisation to demonstrate proof-of-concept devices with the potential to impact a range of applications; including alternative energy production, and the next generation of photodetection technologies. 

For more info on what I do, and why, see:




Research areas

  • Nanophotonic approaches to photochemistry 
  • Hot electron science and applications 
  • Solar (photoelectrochemical) hydrogen generation
  • The hydrogen economy and the energy transition



**I am looking for PhD Candidates interested in Nanophotonic approaches to photochemistry to support through the August 2020 round**

Dr Reza Fazeli »

Grand Challenge Research Fellow

Astha Sharma »

Research Fellow


2018: CECS Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence, “For her impactful use of active learning technologies within her classes”, Individual award.

2018: CECS Dean’s Award for contributions to Programs that Enhance Student Learning: For their pioneering efforts in developing enhanced feedback mechanisms and grading mechanisms” Team award.

2018: World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Scientist. Each year, the World Economic Forum honours 50 extraordinary scientists under the age of 40 for their contributions to advancing the frontiers of science, engineering and technology.

2010: Selected as an author for the Australian Research Council Nanotechnology Network Book Project.

2010: Nominated for the JG Crawford Prize at The Australian National University for the graduate students in the faculties of Science, Medicine and Engineering most deserving of recognition for the quality of their graduate work.

2006: Ede & Ravenscroft Prize, awarded annually to the most distinguished graduate of the Physical Sciences Faculty at the University of Glasgow. 



2018 Women in Energy Committee

2018 CECS Diversity and Inclusion Committee

start 2018- present: Early Career Academic representative on the CECS Executive

start 2016- end 2017: Student Experience Coordinator for coursework students in RSE.

Student experience and engagement (SE) in the University context incorporates three main ideas: inspiring the active participation and interest of students in their academic studies; providing the services and opportunities necessary for students to fully integrate into college life; and facilitating the engagement of students with external organisations through outreach, internships and work experience in order to enrich their studies.



  1.  Expert commentary for Nikkei Asian Review article Australia's hydrogen dreams colored by 'blue' vs. 'green' divide, by Prashant Mehra, 24th July 2021 https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Energy/Australia-s-hydrogen-dreams-colored-by-blue-vs.-green-divide
  2.  Featured on ABC RN Future Tense podcast discussing the role hydrogen will play in our future. 20th June 2021 https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/what-role-will-hydrogen-play-in-our-future/13356484
  3.  Work quoted and results reproduced in Renew Economy Article, Time to stop flirting with ‘blue’ hydrogen and go green, experts say, by Michael Mazengarb, 14th May 2021. https://reneweconomy.com.au/time-to-stop-flirting-with-blue-hydrogen-and-go-green-experts-say/   
  4.  Expert commentary for ABC Science on Andrew Forrest’s ABC Boyer Lecturer on green steel. Quoted in What is green hydrogen, how is it made and will it be the fuel of the future?  By James Purtill, 23rd Janurary 2021. https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2021-01-23/green-hydrogen-renewable-energy-climate-emissions-explainer/13081872?utm_source=abc_news_web&utm_medium=content_shared&utm_campaign=abc_news_web
  5. Interviewed for a story in the Griffith Review by Nicole Hasham, October 2020, https://www.griffithreview.com/articles/hail-hydrogen/
  6. Interviewed in Engineers Australia Create Magazine Article: Could Australia sit at the centre of a zero-carbon economy? by Chris Sheedy, March 17, 2020 in Energy, https://www.createdigital.org.au/australia-sit-centre-zero-carbon-economy/
  7.  Expert panellist on ABC Nightlife: Hydrogen Fuelling the Future, 5th March 2020. This was an hour-long panel discussion chaired by Mark Sutton, with Dr Patrick Hartley, Research director of the Oil, Gas and Fuels research program within CSIRO's Energy Business Unit; and Ben Wilson, CEO of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/nightlife/hydrogen---fuelling-the-future/12031204
  8.  Quoted in New Scientist article Australia’s push for hydrogen power may prop up fossil fuel industry, by Ruby Prosser Scully, 2 December 2019 https://www.newscientist.com/article/2225548-australias-push-for-hydrogen-power-may-prop-up-fossil-fuel-industry/
  9.  2CC radio interview with Leon Delaney. Provided expert commentary on Role of Hydrogen in Australia’s Future, Friday 22nd November 2019 http://2cc.net.au/podcasts/13301-what-role-could-hydrogen-play-in-australia-s-future.html
  10.  Consulted on Emerging Hydrogen Economy for the 21st Sunday Briefing (A subscription-only, British based, weekly report for business leaders, highlighting the geopolitical trends shaping the world and its markets), by Ben Oldfield, May 2019
  11. Interviewed for an article in the Guardian: 'The perfect storm': hydrogen gains ground on LNG as alternative fuel, by Royce Kurmelovs, 8th April 2019 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/08/the-perfect-storm-woodside-energy-and-siemens-invest-in-australias-hydrogen-economy?




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