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Dr. Drew Higgins

Assistant Professor

Department of Chemical Engineering

Electrochemistry; Catalysis; Nanomaterials; Energy Conversion and Storage; Sustainable Energy Technologies; Fuel Cells; Solar Fuels; Artificial Photosynthesis.
Areas of Specialization:
Research Clusters:


Achieving a sustainable energy economy is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. The Higgins lab focuses on addressing this challenge through the design, synthesis and characterization of novel nanomaterial catalysts for clean electrochemical energy technologies, including electrochemical CO2 reduction for the synthesis of fuels and chemicals (i.e., artificial photosynthesis) or low temperature fuel cells for automotive applications. Our primary goal is to develop nanomaterial-based device designs that will help to reduce the > 700 Megatonnes of greenhouse gases emitted in Canada and > 40,000 Megatonnes emitted globally each year. Students in the Higgins group synthesize nanomaterials using a variety of techniques (i.e., electrospinning, hydro/solvothermal, chemical vapour deposition) and test them for electrochemical activity towards artificial photosynthesis or fuel cell relevant reactions. Catalyst structure-activity-property relationships are established through extensive nanomaterial characterization using several of the advanced techniques available at McMaster, including X-ray photoelectron microscopy (Biointerfaces Institute), X-ray diffraction (McMaster Analytical X-Ray Diffraction Facility) and advanced electron microscopy tools available at the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy. Best in class nanomaterial catalysts are then integrated into working electrochemical device prototypes for performance validation and demonstration.

 Drew will begin at McMaster University in the Department of Chemical Engineering in January 2019. He will immediately have positions available for highly motivated graduate students who are interested in developing novel nanomaterials and energy technologies that will help transition our world towards sustainability. If interested, please send your CV, transcript and a brief statement of interest to Drew (


  • BASc in Chemical Engineering – University of Waterloo (2009)
  • MASc in Chemical Engineering – University of Waterloo (2011)
  • PhD in Chemical Engineering – University of Waterloo (2015)
  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellow – Stanford University (2015-2017)
  • Associate Staff Scientist – Stanford University / SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (2017-2018)


View more Publications


  • Canadian Association of Graduate Studies Distinguished Dissertation Award (2016)
  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015-2017)
  • Bernard S. Baker Student Award for Fuel Cell Research, Grand Prize (2014)
  • NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarships – Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements (2014)
  • 4 x Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology Fellowship (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship (2013-2015)
  • 2013 Electrochemical Society Canadian Section Student Award (2013)
  • 2 x Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2011, 2012)
  • M. Chandrashekar Memorial Award in Sustainable Energy (2012-2013)
  • Bernard S. Baker Student Award for Fuel Cell Research, Honourable Mention (2012)
  • Bernard S. Baker Student Award for Fuel Cell Research, Third Place (2011)