Royal Society expands prestigious University Research Fellowships programme thanks to generous funding of £5.6M from Tata companies

08 June 2016

The Royal Society’s prestigious University Research Fellowships (URF) scheme, which supports exceptional young scientists, is to receive a £5.6 million boost thanks to generous funding from a group of Tata companies, including Tata Sons, Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). The funding will establish nine new Tata University Research Fellows in the Physical Sciences and Engineering over the next ten years, with the first Royal Society Tata University Research Fellows due to be appointed in October 2016.

The Royal Society’s University Research Fellowship scheme provides outstanding early career scientists, who have the potential to become leaders in their chosen fields, with the opportunity to build independent research careers. The scheme, which is highly competitive, funds successful candidates for five years, with the option to apply for a further three years of funding. URFs are expected to be strong candidates for permanent posts in universities at the end of their fellowships, and many have gone on to enjoy significant national or international recognition for their work. The Tata funding will also establish an annual symposium, supporting networking opportunities for the Royal Society’s URF researchers and encouraging future collaborations that push back the boundaries of traditional research.

The Tata partnership with the Royal Society is part of a global university collaboration programme by Tata companies for strategic outreach to academia across the world. It is aimed at supporting university faculty and students through funded research programmes, sabbaticals, fellowships, and engagements with university leaderships.

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, said, “We are grateful to the Tata companies for their incredibly generous gift, which will allow us to extend the URF scheme so that more young scientists and engineers will have an opportunity to access the excellent support and career development this programme provides. We hope the Tata URF scheme will make a lasting impact on the physical sciences and engineering in the UK. We are especially thankful to Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, himself a Fellow of the Royal Society, for bringing Tata and the Royal Society together in this unique collaboration.”

Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, Chairman of WMG, said, “I am delighted that Tata and the Royal Society have joined hands to further the application of science and engineering to improve the quality of life of people. This is yet another expression of Tata’s pioneering spirit and continuing commitment to innovation, under Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry’s leadership.”

Mr. Cyrus P. Mistry, Chairman of Tata Sons, said, “The Tata group has a rich heritage of collaboration with world-renowned academic institutions, including in the United Kingdom. The partnership with the Royal Society is in keeping with that tradition. I am confident that the Royal Society Tata University Research Fellows will make an impactful difference by contributing solutions to some of the most pressing challenges the world faces.”