Martin Smith studied at the University of Oxford as both an undergraduate and graduate student (with Professor George W. J. Fleet). He subsequently moved to the University of Cambridge as the Drapers Company Research Fellow to work with Professor Steven V. Ley CBE FRS. He started his independent career as a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the University of Cambridge before moving to his current position in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford in October 2008. His group works on synthesis, structure and enantioselective catalysis, with a particular focus on reactions mediated by chiral ammonium cations.