Royal Society Research Professorship for Microsoft scientist

29 October 2013

Dr Luca Cardelli FRS, a top computer scientist at Microsoft Research, has been awarded a Royal Society Research Professorship in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford.

This is the first time an industry scientist has been awarded a Research Professorship that will enable them to embark on academic research while retaining their position in industry. The world-class research and development that takes place in UK industry is a major driver of growth in the UK economy. Supporting knowledge transfer between university and industry science helps transform innovative ideas into commercially successful products, and thereby secures the UK’s science base in a competitive global arena.

Royal Society Research Professorships usually require the scientist to take up a full-time position at an academic institution. Dr Cardelli will instead be awarded an honorary position at the University of Oxford, which will provide the academic link he needs to collaboratively explore his research interests, whilst maintaining his role at Microsoft Research.

Dr Cardelli will use his professorship to work at the interface of biology, nanotechnology and computing, as he believes that the convergence of these scientific disciplines will bring about the greatest future changes in healthcare and technology.

Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said:

“Science plays an essential role in driving the UK economy. Collaboration between academia and industry helps foster innovation by bringing together people with different approaches to scientific challenges. Dr Cardelli’s new dual affiliation is a perfect example of the sort of flexibility we need to show towards scientists who wish to work at the interface of academic and industry science.”

Computer science has developed a large and very successful body of techniques for analysing and developing complex programmable systems. Many of these techniques have a degree of mathematical generality that makes them suitable for applications in other areas of science, including biology. Dr Cardelli has strong interests in investigating computational structures in biology and in engineering computational structures from biologic materials.

“I’m really honoured to receive this position, which will allow me to continue my research at Microsoft while being able to work within a university environment,” said Dr Cardelli.

“I’m looking forward to being able to supervise students as it’s an exciting time be involved in education at the intersection of computing and biology.”

The Royal Society Research Professorships provide long-term support for internationally recognised scientists of outstanding achievement and promise. Previous holders of Royal Society Research Professorships include six Nobel Laureates and five Presidents of the Royal Society.