Case study: Professor Nicola Morley

Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow 2019
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Sheffield
High Entropy Alloys: The next big thing in soft magnetic films?

"I had been working for twelve years in academia and hit a point where I had a done a lot of teaching, research and administration. I had applied for and lost a big grant to pursue a new research area, making me realise that I needed to step back from my other duties and get back into the lab to see where this research could go, so I applied for the Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship.

"'High Entropy Alloys' are big buzzwords with the materials science field, having only been discovered a decade ago. I noticed this area was underdeveloped within my own research area of magnetic materials, with only ~10 published papers on their magnetics properties, so I saw an opportunity to tune the properties within my fellowship and found that they had stranger behaviour than I had anticipated. The fellowship allowed me to explore this new area and discover these novel properties.

"My research was productive in this year and was promoted to Professor (despite only applying to Reader level) as a direct result of my fellowship. Without this fellowship, it is likely that I would only have been promoted to a Reader position with a heavier teaching load and not as much time for lab-based research. There was also benefit for the magnetics research group as in the year and a half since my fellowship, we have brought in £2.5m of research funding, compared to only £500k in the prior five years.

"I was known in the community prior to this fellowship, but since I have been invited to more conferences and was invited to sit on the Women in Magnetism International Group. The Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship came at the right time, when my kids were old enough that I could spend more time on research and has grown my confidence, setting off more career opportunities since."