UKRI invests £109 million in future leaders

Diverse crowd from above

One hundred and one research and innovation leaders of the future have received significant government support to tackle major challenges ranging from cancer treatment to space travel and reducing harmful vehicle emissions.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway today, 15 October 2020, announced the latest next wave of individuals to receive Future Leaders Fellowships through UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) flagship scheme.

The fellows, based at UK universities and businesses, will be supported through an investment of £109 million.

World-class research and innovation leaders

The Future Leaders Fellowships scheme is designed to establish the careers of world-class research and innovation leaders across the UK.

The new fellows include:

  • Dr George Gordon (University of Nottingham) aims to develop advanced endoscopes – long thin tubes capable of capturing images through optical fibres – that will help to identify cancers that occur deep within the body and can be difficult to detect and treat, such as pancreatic and ovarian cancer
  • Dr Zoe Tolkien (Advanced Furnace Technology) aims to develop new, advanced graphite coated parts for use in the silicon carbide semiconductor market, which is critical to a range of new clean technologies, from electric cars to solar and wind power generators
  • Dr Tobias Hermann (University of Oxford) aims to ensure that future spacecraft are able to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere safely despite being exposed to extreme heat, removing barriers to future space travel
  • Dr Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso (University of Leeds) is working to make UK crops resistant to viruses and the impacts of climate change, such as depleted soils with little water or nutrients, helping to ensure the UK’s food supply remains strong during severe weather events. She will also determine how unused plant resources can be repurposed to create new biomaterials, such as bioplastics, which could be used as sustainable alternatives to plastics in manufacturing and packaging
  • Dr Alison Garden (Queen’s University Belfast) will work with the arts and cultural sector across Ireland to produce an interdisciplinary social and cultural history of mixed marriage, or love across the divide, in modern Ireland. She will capture and disseminate her findings through theatre productions, films, exhibitions and engagement with community groups
  • Dr Mauro Vallati (University of Huddersfield) aims to create an artificial intelligence-driven, autonomous traffic management system that will be able to use vast quantities of data to reduce traffic congestion – while monitoring the environmental impact of travel, such as vehicle emissions. The system will be designed to effectively manage congestion in specific areas by altering existing traffic light sequences and to communicate with vehicles to suggest that they drop speed, change routes to avoid congested areas or switch to electric power.

Building back better

Announcing the successful fellows at today’s Future Leaders Fellowships conference, Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:

We are committed to building back better through research and innovation, and supporting our science superstars in every corner of the UK.

By backing these inspirational future leaders fellows, we will ensure that their brilliant ideas can be transferred straight from the lab into vital everyday products and services that will help to change all our lives for the better.

UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said:

Future Leaders Fellowships provide researchers and innovators with freedom and support to drive forward transformative new ideas and the opportunity to learn from peers right across the country.

The fellows announced today illustrate how the UK continues to support and attract talented researchers and innovators across every discipline to our universities and businesses, with the potential to deliver change that can be felt across society and the economy.

Links across sectors and disciplines

UKRI’s initiative aims to support the creation of a new cohort of research and innovation leaders who will have links across different sectors and disciplines. Awardees will each receive between £400,000 and £1.5 million over an initial four years.

The grant supports challenging and novel projects, and the development of the fellow’s career. The funding can also be used to support team members, their development, and pay for equipment and other needs.

UKRI is committed to increasing diversity on its fellowship programmes. It is today publishing diversity data on application and award rates for the Future Leaders Fellowships.

Further information

The UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships scheme will recognise up to 550 individuals with a total investment of £900 million committed over three years:

  • the scheme helps universities and businesses in the UK recruit, develop and retain the world’s best researchers and innovators, regardless of their background
  • researchers can apply for substantial long-term funding to support their research or innovation and develop their careers Each fellowship will last four to seven years
  • fellows from the first three rounds will be meeting for a digital conference on 14, 15 and 16 October, and may be made available for interview.

Round four fellows

Name Organisation
Dr Carolyn Atkins STFC – Laboratories
Dr John Baison RAGT Seeds Ltd
Mr Edward Ball The University of Sheffield
Mr Josh Barras The Welding Institute
Dr Martin Bauer Durham University
Dr Dayne Beccano-Kelly Cardiff University
Dr Robert Bell C-Tech Innovation Ltd
Dr Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso University of Leeds
Dr Eloisa Bentivegna IBM United Kingdom Limited
Dr Megan Bergkessel University of Dundee
Dr Joanna Birch University of Glasgow
Dr Matthew Birket The University of Manchester
Dr James Nicholas Blaza University of York
Dr Greg Brittles Tokamak Energy Ltd
Dr David Bryant University of Glasgow
Dr Amaya Bustinduy London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Dr Jose Camacho Collados Cardiff University
Dr Valentina Cambiano University College London
Dr Eleanor Carter University of Oxford
Dr Stephen Clement Edgetic
Dr Thomas Collett Lancaster University
Dr Charles-Antoine Collins-Fekete University College London
Dr Gwyneth Davies University College London
Dr Aoife Doyle London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Dr Patrick Dunne Imperial College London
Dr Luisa Enria University of Bath
Dr Azadeh Fattahi Liverpool John Moores University
Dr Adam Fletcher University of Glasgow
Dr Alexander Forse University of Cambridge
Dr Maria Fragiadaki The University of Sheffield
Dr Jennifer Garden The University of Edinburgh
Dr Alison Garden Queen’s University of Belfast
Dr George Gordon University of Nottingham
Dr Felicia Gottmann Northumbria University
Dr Hannah Griffiths University of Bristol
Dr Andrew Guise King’s College London
Dr Lauren V Hadley University of Nottingham
Dr Sarah Hall The University of Manchester
Dr Xinjiang Hao Liberty House Group (UK)
Dr Tobias Hermann University of Oxford
Dr Jane Hirst University of Oxford
Dr Romina Istratii SOAS University of London
Dr Lindsay Jaacks The University of Edinburgh
Dr Ana Belen Jorge Sobrido Queen Mary University of London
Dr Izabela Jurewicz Advanced Material Development
Dr Zubin Kanga Royal Holloway, University of London
Dr Siddhartha Kar University of Bristol
Dr Anthony Khawaja University College London
Dr Johannes Kromdijk University of Cambridge
Dr Adriano Lameira The University of Warwick
Dr Sam Lindley The University of Edinburgh
Dr Andrew Lloyd Aberystwyth University
Dr Rianne Lord University of East Anglia
Dr Sarah Louise Lovelock The University of Manchester
Dr Marjorie Lundgren Lancaster University
Dr Jennifer MacRitchie The University of Sheffield
Dr Filipe Marques Ferreira University College London
Dr Nathan Mayne University of Exeter
Dr Erin McFee London School of Economics and Political Science
Dr Raymond McQuaid Queen’s University of Belfast
Dr Giacomo Melis University of Stirling
Dr Zoë Mildon University of Plymouth
Dr Simon Mitchell Brighton and Sussex Medical School
Dr Leah Morabito Durham University
Dr Hannah Murphy King’s College London
Dr Adrianna Murphy London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Dr Daragh Murray University of Essex
Dr Ioanna Mylonaki Sixfold Bioscience Ltd
Dr Martha Newson University of Kent
Dr Rachel Newton University of Reading
Dr Sahil Nijhawan Zoological Society London Institute of Zoology
Dr Cengiz Oztireli University of Cambridge
Dr Miriam Pena-Alvarez The University of Edinburgh
Dr Michelle Pentecost King’s College London
Dr Simon Poland King’s College London
Dr Mohsen Rahmani Nottingham Trent University
Dr Marc Reid University of Strathclyde
Dr Alessandro Rossi University of Strathclyde
Dr Oyuna Rybdylova University of Brighton
Dr Maria Secrier University College London
Dr Ellie Sherrard-Smith Imperial College London
Dr Anastasia Shesterinina The University of Sheffield
Dr Joshua Silverstone University of Bristol
Dr Brooke Simmons Lancaster University
Dr Anya Skatova University of Bristol
Dr Jonathan Skelton The University of Manchester
Dr Nathan Skene Imperial College London
Dr Petr Slovak King’s College London
Dr Fabian Spill University of Birmingham
Dr Jonathan Stewart CATAGEN Limited
Dr Carolin Struller Bobst Manchester Ltd
Dr Gavin Sullivan University of Kent
Dr Peter Taylor Newcastle University
Dr Zoe Tolkien Advanced Furnace Technology Ltd
Dr Mauro Vallati University of Huddersfield
Dr Curt von Keyserlingk University of Birmingham
Dr Matthew Wallace University of East Anglia
Dr Catherine Walsh University of Leeds
Dr Xinyan Wang Brunel University London
Dr Bodo Winter University of Birmingham
Dr Laura Young Newcastle University

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