Professor Nidal Hilal is a Chartered Engineer in the United Kingdom (CEng), a registered European Engineer (Eur Ing), an elected Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (FIChemE), the Learned Society of Wales (FLSW) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC). He received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1981 followed by a master's degree in advanced chemical engineering from Swansea University in 1985. He received his PhD degree from Swansea University in 1988. In 2005 he was awarded a Senior Doctorate, Doctor of Science degree (DSc), from the University of Wales in recognition of an outstanding research contribution in the fields Water Processing including Desalination and Membrane Science and Technology. He was also awarded, by the Emir of Kuwait, the prestigious Kuwait Prize (Kuwait Medal) of Applied Science for the year 2005 and Menelaus Medal 2020, by the Learned Society of Wales, for excellence in engineering and technology.
He has supervised 46 students through their PhDs and more than 70 postdoctoral research fellows and authored over 600 publications including several patents and books. His research interests lie broadly in the identification of innovative and cost-effective solutions within the fields of nano-water, membrane technology, and water treatment including desalination, colloid engineering. His internationally recognized research has led to the use of atomic force microscopy (AFM) in the development of new membranes with optimized properties for difficult separations. His research has produced several breakthrough innovations, including: smallest AFM colloid probe reported in the literature, first AFM coated colloid probe technique, first AFM cell probe technique, first direct measurements of the interaction of single live cells with membrane surfaces, first direct measurement of the force of adhesion of a single particles with membrane surfaces, first to show pores on nanofiltration membranes, first use of the atomic force microscope in meso-scale cavitation studies, first development of composite imprinted membranes, first development of self-cleaning membrane for sustainable desalination and tapping into salty water for agriculture. He is ranked by google scholar in the top 10 desalination leaders (currently number 7) around the world. He is the most cited author (lifetime) in Desalination journal and he is also the most cited author in the Journal of Water Process Engineering.
Nidal sits on the editorial boards of a number of international journals, is an advisory board member of several multinational organizations, and has served on/consulted for industry, government departments, research councils, and universities on an international basis.