Director of leading orthopaedic research institute honoured with Fellowship

Professor R Geoff Richards, Aberystwyth University graduate and Director of the AO Research Institute Davos (Switzerland)

Professor R Geoff Richards, Aberystwyth University graduate and Director of the AO Research Institute Davos (Switzerland)

17 July 2019

The Director of a leading orthopaedic research institute has been presented with an Honorary Fellowship of Aberystwyth University.

Professor R Geoff Richards was born and schooled in Llanfyllin, Powys.  He graduated from Aberystwyth with a BSc in Cell and Immunobiology in 1990, followed by a Masters in 1991 and a PhD in 1997. 

Since 2009, he has been Director of the AO Research Institute Davos (Switzerland) – a leading organisation in the field of orthopaedics, including the global implants industry and the training of surgeons. 

His research work on metal implant interfaces in the trauma area of orthopaedics has led to major improvements in the design and manufacture of fracture fixation products.

Professor Richards is an Honorary Professor at the School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, and the Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg (Germany), and a Distinguished Professor at the First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou (China). 

He is President of the Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society and Chair of the International College of Fellows for Orthopaedic Research. In 1999 he co-founded eCM journal, a pioneer in open access publishing.

Professor Richards was presented as Honorary Fellow by Professor Chris Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor – Research, Knowledge Exchange and Innovation at Aberystwyth University, on Wednesday 17 July 2019.

The full conferral presentation is available below, in the language in which it was delivered.

Presentation of Professor R Geoff Richards by Professor Chris Thomas:

Gadeirydd Y Cyngor, Dirprwy Is-Ganghellor, graddedigion a  chyfeillion.  Pleser o’r mwyaf yw cyflwyno Geoff Richards yn gymrawd Prifysgol Aberystwyth.

Chair of Council, Pro Vice-Chancellor, graduates and supporters.  It is an honour and a privilege to present Geoff Richards as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.

Born and schooled in Llanfyllin in Powys, Geoff Richards graduated from Aberystwyth in 1990 with a degree in Cell and Immunobiology. 

He stayed on in Aberystwyth for a further seven years, completing an MSc in Biological Electron Microscopy in 1991, and in 1997 a PhD in Cell Adhesion to Implant Surfaces.

In 1999, he co-founded the eCM Journal, along with his Aber supervisor Iolo ap Gwynn and the late Professor Godfried Roomans.  Arguably the first online open access journal in the world it was pioneering in the field of open access publishing, and two decades on it is the number one rated journal in the area of trauma research.

Geoff Richards once said “It is very unlikely I would be where I am now if I had not been at Aber.”

And, indeed his specialist degree and masters did set him onto a unique career path. 

From this west-Wales University, Geoff journeyed to Switzerland and joined the AO Research Institute in Davos.

One of the world's leading research Institutes in orthopaedics, the AO Research Institute Davos houses one hundred multidisciplinary scientists who undertake cutting-edge research in regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, biomaterials and implant science. 

Geoff’s own research, which began here in Aberystwyth, has led to major improvements in the design and manufacture of internal fracture fixation products, which has in turn led to greatly improved clinical outcomes for patients world-wide.

Geoff became Director of the AO Research Institute in 2009, and is responsible for an annual budget of almost £11m. Over the last ten years, he has strengthened the Institute’s collaborations with surgeons and clinical divisions, and formed stronger academic connections to international universities and societies, including through the creation of highly competitive medical research fellowships which attracts resident and senior surgeons from around the world to spend 6-12 months at the Institute.

Geoff holds a Professorship at Cardiff University, along with chairs at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Germany and at the First Affiliated Hospital, Sun-Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.

He is a fellow of both Biomaterials Science and Engineering and International Orthopedic Research, President of the global Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society, and Chair of the International College of Fellows for Orthopaedic Research. 

He is passionate about musculoskeletal research, development and innovation.  His driving force is his desire to improve patient care.

From his student days in Aberystwyth when he joined a volunteer student mission to Romania to deliver medical supplies after the revolution; to today when his research has translated into major improvements in the medical care and health outcomes for trauma and fracture patients, Geoff has, without question, improved the lives of countless people across the globe.

Gadeirydd Y Cyngor, mae’n bleser gen i gyflwyno Geoff Richards i chi yn Gymrawd. 

Chair of Council, it is my absolute pleasure to present Professor R Geoff Richards to you as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.


Photo:  Chair of Council, Dr Emyr Roberts, with Honorary Fellow, Professor R Geoff Richards

Aberystwyth University Honours 2019

Nine individuals are being honoured by Aberystwyth University during the 2019 graduation ceremonies, which take place at the University’s Arts Centre from Tuesday 16 until Friday 19 July.

Honorary Fellowships are presented to individuals who have, or have had, a connection with Aberystwyth or Wales, and who have made an outstanding contribution to their chosen field.

The 2019 Aberystwyth University Honorary Fellows are (in order of presentation):

  • Alan Phillips, retired peripatetic music teacher who worked for Ceredigion Music Service for 35 years
  • Professor Frank N. Hogg OBE, the first Principal of the College of Librarianship Wales
  • Ruth Bidgood, Welsh poet and local historian
  • Professor R Geoff Richards, Director of one of the world's leading orthopaedic research institutes, the AO Research Institute in Davos (Switzerland)
  • Emyr Jenkins, first Director of the National Eisteddfod and former Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales
  • Professor Virginia Gamba, leading expert in the field of disarmament research and policy formulation
  • Ian Hopwood, who has worked in the development field for over 40 years in UNICEF HQ and in field assignments in Africa, Asia, and the Arab Gulf States
  • The Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, former First Minister of Wales and Leader of the Welsh Labour Party 2009-18
  • Judith Diment, a leading global figure in the campaign to eradicate polio