Professor Hawkes (BSc, PhD, MEI, MIWEM, MIWM, MIWA, CEng) originally worked in the aircraft industry as an engineer and obtained a HNC and first degree in Mechanical Engineering. His PhD was in a subject area related to the biological sciences, he is married to a biochemist and works at the engineering and physical sciences / biological sciences interface with current research reflecting this.
Until his semi-retirement in 2004 he headed the Sustainable Environment Research Centre (SERC) that acts as an umbrella body for the Wastewater Treatment Research Unit (WWTRU) and the Hydrogen Research Unit (HRU) and other projects. The Centre continues with leadership now in the hands of a younger group of staff and Prof Hawkes is able to concentrate on hydrogen related research. The HRU has a growing number of funded projects several of which involve the biological production of hydrogen and one which finished in January 2005 which examined the social, economic and technical implications of moving to a hydrogen economy in Wales. This project resulted in the £2.2 million Renewable Hydrogen Research and Demonstration Centre (the Hydrogen Centre) located at Baglan Energy Park .. Prof. Hawkes is co-author of about 100 papers on these topics.