Professor Paul McKenna is presently Deputy Head of the Department of Physics at the University of Strathclyde. His research interests are in high power laser-plasma physics, including laser-driven ion acceleration and applications, relativistic laser-plasma interactions, high field physics at the focus of ultra-intense laser pulses, and plasma optics. He has been a frequent user of high power laser facilities at STFC’s-Central Laser Facility (CLF) for nearly two decades and leads a strategic equipment project to develop radiation beamlines at the Scottish Centre for the Application of Plasma-based Accelerators (SCAPA).
He has served on numerous UK and international advisory committees. These include STFC-CLF’s High Power Laser Facility Access Panel and the panel for the Independent Review of National Large Facilities at Harwell. He leads the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) Energy theme and is a member of the Directorate of the Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) research pool. He is also a member of Scientific Advisory Committees for the APOLLON 10-Petawatt laser facility in France and the HIBEF facility at DESY in Germany, and held a similar role in the High Field Physics programme at Extreme Light Infrastructure-Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) facility in Romania.
He received his PhD from Queens University Belfast, before becoming a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Glasgow and a Royal Society of Edinburgh Personal Research Fellow at the University of Strathclyde. He was appointed a Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde in 2006, a Reader in 2008 and a Professor in 2011. He became a member of the Cockcroft Institute of Accelerator Science and Technology when the University joined as a full partner in 2017 and held an EPSRC Leadership Fellowship from 2012-17.