IEEE Stuart R. Wenham Young Professional Award Winner
Sam Stranks will receive the Young Professional Award at PVSC 48.

Sam Stranks is a University Lecturer in Energy and Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge.

He completed his PhD as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in 2012 working on polymer/carbon nanotube blends for organic photovoltaics. From 2012-2014, he was a Junior Research Fellow at Oxford University (Worcester College) working with Henry Snaith, before holding a Marie Curie Fellowship at MIT with Vladimir Bulovic (2014-2016). Sam established his group in Cambridge in 2017, and also that same year co-founded Swift Solar, a startup developing lightweight perovskite PV panels, and was listed by the MIT Technology Review as one of the 35 under 35 innovators in Europe.

Sam has been a pioneer in halide perovskite photovoltaics. He is best known for his work on understanding the charge transport and recombination of charge carriers in halide perovskite photovoltaic materials, and translating these learnings to tangible device improvements. His group more broadly uses optical spectroscopy to understand material and device photophysics on a range of length and time scales, and relates these characteristics directly to local electrical, chemical, structural and morphological properties. He received the 2018 Henry Moseley Award and Medal from the Institute of Physics, and the 2019 Marlow Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

About the Award

The IEEE Stuart R. Wenham Young Professional Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the science and technology of photovoltaic energy conversion, including work on PV materials, devices, modules, and/or systems. The award recipient must also show significant promise as a leader in the field. An award is given annually at the PVSC. The award was recently renamed in honor of Stuart Wenham, in recognition of his profound contributions to photovoltaics, and in memory of his great scholarship and friendship.

Award Package

The award consists of a $2000 monetary award, complimentary conference registration, plaque, and recognition at the PVSC Opening Ceremony. In addition, the awardee will give an honorary 30-minute talk during a regular session of the conference, in conjunction with his/her respective technical area.

Rules & Eligibility

  • Nominee must be a young scientist or engineer who has made significant contributions to photovoltaic energy conversion, including work on PV materials, devices, modules, and/or systems.
  • Nominee must have received their first post-secondary degree (Bachelor’s level) within the past 15 years, relative to the nomination deadline.
  • Nominees are not required to be members of IEEE or EDS. 
  • Nominees from any country and institution are eligible. 
  • Nominees are expected to have prior contributions to the PVSC. 
  • Previous recipients of the Young Professional Award are not eligible.
  • Self-nominations will not be accepted.
  • Nominations will not automatically roll over to subsequent years, but nominators are allowed to re-submit nominations, provided the nominee is still eligible. Supplements to the original nomination are permitted, and should reflect the nominee’s latest work. 
  • Members of the awards subcommittee in charge of selection are eligible to be nominated, and can nominate colleagues, but would recuse themselves of subcommittee duties in either case.
  • The award must be received by the winner in person at the PVSC; no award will be made in absentia, except under extraordinary circumstances, as determined by the conference chair.

Nomination Package Requirements

  • Completed and Signed Nomination Summary Form (2 pages)
  • Nominator Statement (2 page limit) supporting the nominee’s suitability for the award with respect to:
    • innovative and creative nature of the nominee’s work
    • significance of the nominee’s work with respect to the broader PV community
    • previous contributions to the PVSC 
    • potential shown as a future leader in the PV community 
  • Nominee Curriculum vitae (2 page limit)
  • List of nominee’s key publications and patents (1 page limit)
  • Up to 3 letters of endorsement from individuals familiar with the nominee’s qualifications and area of research. Each letter may be up to 1 page long and should make reference to specific qualifications that make the nominee best-suited for the award. Each letter should be on letterhead and include the signature of the endorser. 
  • Entire nomination package should be assembled as a single PDF document (10 pages, maximum) in the following order: 
    • Nomination Summary Form (2 pages) 
    • Nominator Statement (2 page limit) 
    • Curriculum Vitae (2 page limit)
    • List of nominee’s key publications, patents, and/or other technical literature (1 page limit)
    • Letters of support (up to 3, each letter 1 page limit)

Please submit the nomination packet by January 25, 2021 via email to

Questions? Contact the Awards Chair

Previous Recipients

Brett Hallam, 2020

Zachary Holman, 2019

Adele Tamboli, 2018

Weiwei Deng, 2017

Bram Hoex, 2016

Henry Snaith, 2015

Oliver Schultz-Wittman, 2014