Fiona Beck

FERL Fellow and ARC DECRA Fellow


Nanophotonic approaches to photochemistry, hot electron science and applications, solar (photoelectrochemical) hydrogen generation, the hydrogen economy and the energy transition


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 Convenor of the Hydrogen Fuels Project in the Energy Change Instiutute’s Zero-carbon energy for the Asia-Pacific ANU Grand Challenge.

Dr Beck is interested in harnessing light matter interactions at the nano-scale to advance renewable energy and energy saving technologies. Her research spans two boundaries: between semiconductor physics and nano optics; and between fundamental and applied concepts. Dr Beck explores fundamental questions about the processes occurring in semiconducting materials in the vicinity of strong optical resonances and nanostructured interfaces. By exploiting nanophotonic structures and novel device architectures, it is possible to improve both the electrical and optical performance of optoelectronic devices with applications to photovoltaic and solar energy, photodetection, sensing and more.


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 Research School of Engineering at The Australian National University as a research fellow and lecturer in 2015. She spent the previous 4 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.

Activities & Awards

  • 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.
  • 2018: ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, Research School of Engineering, ANU, Plasmonic hot-electron technologies for nanoscale energy conversion, DE180100383
  • 2014: Future Engineering Research Leader Fellowship, RSE, CSES, ANU
  • 2012: Marie Curie FP7-People-2011-IIF grant for the PECQDPV project.
  • 2006: Ede & Ravenscroft Prize, awarded annually to the most distinguished graduate of the Physical Sciences Faculty at the University of Glasgow

Dr Beck has also served the community through:

  • 2018 Women in Energy Committee
  • 2018 CECS Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • 2018- present: Early Career Academic representative on the CECS Executive
  • 2016- end 2017: Student Experience Coordinator for coursework students in RSE.

You are on Aboriginal land.

The Australian National University acknowledges, celebrates and pays our respects to the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people of the Canberra region and to all First Nations Australians on whose traditional lands we meet and work, and whose cultures are among the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

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