Royal Society announces University Research Fellowships for 2019

16 July 2019

The Royal Society has announced the appointment of 43 new University Research Fellows (URFs) for 2019. The researchers will take up their new posts at institutions across the UK and Ireland from the start of October.

The University Research Fellowship scheme was established to identify outstanding early career scientists who have the potential to become leaders in their chosen fields, providing them 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, with many alumni having gone on to enjoy significant national or international recognition for their work.

In line with the Society’s mission of supporting excellence and the next generation of research leaders, this year’s applicants were eligible to apply for enhanced research support from the UK Government’s Talent Fund, a supplement to further support applicants in building their resources and research team. 

The announcement includes the appointment of one Royal Society Tata University Research Fellow, thanks to generous support from Tata companies. It also includes the appointment of four Royal Society – Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellows 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 projects, including:

Dr Robert Cameron (University of Strathclyde) – Chiral molecules and their interaction with light

Dr Cameron will be using new and powerful light-based technologies to manipulate and understand ‘chiral molecules’ - those molecules whose structure can exist as mirror images of themselves - to explore their hitherto unknown applications, potentially leading to healthier foods, fewer deaths from surgery, and new and finely-tuned drugs.

Dr Eimear Dolan (National University of Ireland, Galway) – A Soft Robotics Approach to Reduce the Foreign Body Response to Medical Implants

Dr Dolan has developed a proof-of-concept soft robotic implant, which she plans on adapting as a treatment for Type 1 diabetes; Dr Dolan plans on establishing relationships with other research institutes to become the global leader in innovative medical devices.

Dr John Regan (Dublin City University) – Seed Black Hole Formation from Environment to Accretion

Dr Regan will track and describe the growth of black holes from their formation up to their maximal size, and in the process identify where in the Universe is most conducive to black hole formation, and how black holes may have formed in the early Universe.

Dr Beth Mortimer (University of Oxford) – Sensing surface vibrations: from animals to robotics

Dr Mortimer will understand the dynamics of vibration sensing through legs - a widespread and information-rich means of sensing in animals - looking specifically at spiders, and using this understanding to develop bioinspired technologies for use in robotics.

In total, there are 24 universities across the UK and Ireland hosting these University Research Fellowships. 14 out of the 43 new appointments (33%) were made to women.

The 2020 round of the University Research Fellowships will close for applications on 3 September 2019.

The complete list of appointments is as follows:

Dr Timothy Adamo

A New Twist on Quantum Field Theory

University of Edinburgh

Dr Helen Alexander

Evolutionary rescue in changing environments: from individuals to populations

University of Edinburgh

Dr Natalia Ares

Quantum thermodynamics at the nanoscale

University of Oxford

Dr Vaishak Belle

Efficient Inference and Learning in Probabilistic Logical Models

University of Edinburgh

Dr Jonathan Breeze

Diamond masers – a new quantum technology platform

Imperial College London

Dr Robert Cameron

Chiral molecules and their interaction with light

University of Strathclyde

Dr Igor Carboni Oliveira

New approaches to unconditional computational lower bounds

University of Warwick

Dr Nicholas Chilton

Chemical control of vibronic coupling

University of Manchester

Dr Michele Coti Zelati

Deterministic and stochastic aspects of fluid mixing

Imperial College London

Dr Ilse De Looze

The origin of cosmic dust in galaxies

University College London (UCL)

Dr Eimear Dolan

A Soft Robotics Approach to Reduce the Foreign Body Response to Medical Implants

National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG)

Dr Andrea Droghetti

Exploring out-of-equilibrium effects and functionalities at hybrid interfaces

Trinity College Dublin

Dr Conor Fitzpatrick

Precision tests of the Standard Model with doubly-charmed beauty decays

University of Warwick

Dr Marina Freitag

1D Coordination Polymers for Charge Transport Materials

Newcastle University

Dr Jarvist Moore Frost

Meaningful dynamic models of the soft solid-state

Imperial College London

Dr Imogen Gingell

The impact of magnetic reconnection on the dynamics and energetics of collisionless shock waves

University of Southampton

Dr Mary Gosal

Attosecond nano-photonics

Imperial College London

Dr Rebecca Greenaway

Molecular Assembly in Porous Liquids

University of Liverpool

Dr Edward Gryspeerdt

Tracking aviation and shipping impacts on clouds

Imperial College London

Dr Lauren Hatcher

Dynamic X-ray Diffraction in Solar Energy Materials Design

Cardiff University

Dr Andrew Hitchcock  

Photosynthesis reimagined: a modular approach to engineering phototrophy

University of Sheffield

Dr James Howarth

Searching for New Physics in events containing top quarks and bosons

University of Glasgow

Dr Lewys Jones

Retrofitting small-scale, high-impact, modular innovations for next-generation transmission electron microscopy (short name: RetroTEM)

Trinity College Dublin

Dr Helena Knowles

Diamond-based nanoscale quantum imaging

University of Cambridge

Dr Nicolai Kraus

Homotopy type theory as a language for directed infinite-dimensional structure

University of Birmingham

Dr Thomas Kruijer

Dynamics of the early solar system inferred from meteorites

University of Bristol

Dr Boris Leistedt

Fundamental physics with galaxy and quasar surveys

Imperial College London

Dr Shoham Letzter

Ramsey theory and extremal combinatorics

University of Cambridge

Dr David Liptrot

Towards Inorganic Retrosynthesis: A Generalisable p-Block Catalytic Cross Coupling

University of Bath

Dr Ferdinand Marlétaz

The genomic and regulatory origins of echinoderm pentaradial bodyplan

University College London

Dr Laura Moody

Genetic regulation of the 2D to 3D growth transition in Physcomitrella patens

University of Oxford

Dr Beth Mortimer

Sensing surface vibrations: from animals to robotics

University of Oxford

Dr Eric Perlmutter

A Conformal Window into Quantum Gravity

King's College London

Dr Sebastian Pike

Metal-Oxo Clusters: Tuneable Building-Blocks for Designing New Photoactive Materials

University of Warwick

Dr Andrew Plackett

Beyond flowering plants: using new models to test the evolution of seed plant reproduction

University of Birmingham

Dr John Regan

Seed Black Hole Formation from Environment to Accretion

Dublin City University

Dr Jason Sanders

Dynamics of the Milky Way with Gaia

University of Cambridge

Dr Sergii Strelchuk

Quantum simulation algorithms and verification for emerging quantum computers

University of Cambridge

Dr Tin Sulejmanpasic

Quantum Field Theories - anomalies, lattice and resurgence

Durham University

Dr Lorenzo Tancredi

The Physics of Scattering Amplitudes at the LHC

University of Oxford

Dr Martin Taylor

The asymptotic behaviour of solutions of the Einstein--Vlasov system

Imperial College London

Dr Andrea Vezzoli

Single-entity electronics and photonics of chemically wired nanocrystals

University of Liverpool

Dr Nathalie Vriend

Understanding granular rheology across scales

University of Cambridge