Royal Society announces University Research Fellowships for 2016

29 September 2016

The Royal Society has announced the appointment of 44 new University Research Fellows (URFs) for 2016. This year the prestigious University Research Fellowships programme has been able to expand, thanks to generous support from Tata companies over the coming years and from the Global Challenge Research Fund. The researchers will take up their new posts at institutions across the UK and Ireland at the start of October.

The University Research Fellowship scheme aims to provide outstanding early career scientists, who have the potential to become leaders in their chosen fields, with the opportunity to build an independent research career. The scheme is extremely competitive and 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 announcement includes the appointment of four Royal Society-Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellows. The fellowships are funded by Science Foundation Ireland and available for outstanding researchers in the Republic of Ireland.

The newly appointed research fellows will be working on a wide range of research areas including applying mathematical models to solve biomedical problems, understanding evolution of cooperation in humans, probing the evolution of cyanobacteria and their role in oxygenation of the early earth, the modelling of atomistic processes of radiation damage in materials for nuclear power generation, characterisation of habitable worlds and addressing fundamental questions in the field of low energy nuclear physics.

The list of appointments is as follows:

Dr Patricia Sanchez-Baracaldo
Transition from a freshwater to a marine biosphere during the early Earth 
University of Bristol

Dr Nicolas Barry
The design, chemistry, and biochemistry of carborane metallated particles  
University of Bradford

Dr Thomas Bennett
New Directions for Hybrid Materials: Liquids, Glasses and Superstrong Frameworks 
University of Cambridge 

Dr Scott Boden
Genetic regulation of inflorescence architecture and development in wheat
John Innes Centre

Dr Alistair Boyer
Sulfonyl Triazoles: A Next-Generation Building Block for Molecular Complexity 
University of Glasgow 

Dr Ana Caraiani
P-adic aspects of the Langlands program through arithmetic geometry 
Imperial College London 

Dr Alex Cresswell
Better Than Boron? Silicon-Mediated Aromatic Functionalisation 
University of Bath 

Dr Ryan Cooke
The Genesis of the First Elements 
University of Durham

Dr Brice-Olivier Demory 
Fast-track characterisation of habitable worlds 
University of Cambridge 

Dr John Elliott
The Rise of Mountains 
University of Leeds 

Dr Matthew Foreman
Mesoscopic plasmon speckle: fundamentals and applications 
Imperial College London 

Dr Morgan Fraser
The fate of the most massive stars 
University College Dublin (UCD) 

Dr John Goold
Thermodynamics for Quantum Technologies 
Trinity College Dublin 

Dr Heather Harrington
Algebraic and topological approaches for molecular biology 
University of Oxford 

Dr Richard Hobbs
Engineering energy transfer on the nanoscale at plasmonic surfaces
Trinity College Dublin

Dr Simon Horsley
Using complex coordinates to develop new optical and acoustic materials
University of Exeter

Dr Susan Johnston
Macro- and microevolution of recombination rates 
University of Edinburgh

Dr Rucha Karnik
Hormone-Regulated Membrane Traffic and Plant Morphogenesis
University of Glasgow

Dr Matthew Kitching
Dancing Droplets and Intelligent Chemistry 
University of Durham

Dr Shakti Lamba
Testing evolutionary theories of human cooperation in the real world 
University of Exeter

Dr Oliver Lord
The chemical architecture of the deep Earth
University of Bristol

Dr Kevin Lovelock
X-ray spectroscopy of liquids: quantifying Lewis reactivity 
University of Oxford

Dr Adam Masters
What drives Jupiter's mysterious polar aurora? 
Imperial College London

Dr Charles Melnyk
Generating and Regenerating Vasculature in Plants  
John Innes Centre

Dr Ricardo Monteiro
Geometric Aspects of Scattering Amplitudes 
Queen Mary, University of London

Dr Tim Newbold
Quantifying the joint impacts of land use and climate on ecological assemblages 
University College London

Dr Sinead O'Keeffe
Advancing Photonics for Radiotherapy 
University of Limerick Ireland

Dr Thomas Ouldridge
Persistent information: Thermodynamics of active biochemical systems 
Imperial College London

Dr James Owen
Formation and evolution of extra-solar planets 
Imperial College London

Dr Miguel Fernandes Paulos
Spectroscopy of conformal field theories and critical phenomena 
University of Cambridge 

Dr Marina Petri
Experiments on light nuclei to benchmark the chiral EFT ab initio frontier 
University of York

Dr Christopher Race
Predicting grain structure evolution - a mechanistic approach to new tools  
University of Manchester

Dr Aliaksandra Rakovich
Bio-inspired approaches to low-loss optical antenna systems and devices 
Imperial College London

Dr Cécile Gubry-Rangin 
Adaptation in Thaumarchaeota: the interplay between ecology and evolution 
University of Aberdeen

Dr Xavier Rojas
Cavity optomechanics with superfluid 4He in a nanofluidic environment 
Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Matthew Roberts
Spatial dependence in branching structures 
University of Bath

Dr Alexander Schenkel
Homotopical algebra and quantum gauge theories 
University of Nottingham

Dr Samuel Stranks
Next Generation Perovskite Optoelectronics
University of Cambridge

Dr Paul Skrzypczyk
Understanding and Harnessing Quantum Theory 
University of Bristol

Dr Mark Symes
Driving energetically uphill processes using metal-ligand coordination complexes
University of Glasgow

Dr Daniel Thompson
Generalised Dualities in String Theory and Holography
Swansea University

Dr David Thomson 
Computing at the speed of light 
University of Southampton

Dr Mark Williams
Launching a Charm Offensive at LHCb 
University of Manchester

Dr Karl Wotton
The environmental and genetic basis of migration in the marmalade hoverfly
University of Exeter

Of the 44 URFs, three are Tata awards, four are Royal Society-Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellows and 3 are through the Global Challenge Research Fund. 10 out of the 44 new appointments (22%) were made to female researchers. In total there are 25 universities across the UK and Ireland hosting the University Research Fellowships.