Phil Davies studied chemistry and mathematics in Southampton University moving to Cardiff to study reactions at surfaces with surface-sensitive spectroscopy under the supervision of Wyn Roberts. He was appointed to a lectureship in the Department of Chemistry at Cardiff in 1989 and continued to study surface reaction mechanisms, particularly the role of short lived intermediates and the role of local atomic structure on reaction mechanisms. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer at Cardiff in 2000 and a personal chair in 2014. His current research includes nanoparticle growth and nanoparticle coating, surface coatings for steel, photocatalysis and surface reaction mechanisms particularly related to catalysis. He is director of HarwellXPS, EPSRC’s National Facility in XPS and deputy director of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute.