Richard began his career at Oxford University, has directed the Davy-Faraday Laboratory at the Royal Institution in London. He has been a Professor at University College London, the University of Keele, the University of Cardiff, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the German National Science Academy, the Leopoldina, of the Academia Europaea and of the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). He served as Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society from 2016 -2021 and is currently co-President of the Inter Academy Pertnership (IAP)
His research programme is based on the development and application of computational techniques used in direct conjunction with experiment in probing the properties of complex materials. He has played a leading role in developing the field both in the UK and internationally. His programme comprises the study of energy materials, catalysis, nano-chemistry and surface chemistry. His work has also exploited the synergy between computation and experiment using synchrotron radiation and neutron scattering methods, especially in catalytic science. He has published extensively with over 1100 research articles, reviews and book chapters.