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Three world-class scientists awarded Royal Society Research Professorships

01 February 2023

The Royal Society

Three world-class scientists have been awarded Royal Society Research Professorships, the Royal Society’s premier research awards. 

These prestigious appointments provide long-term support for internationally recognised scientists from a range of diverse fields, including chemistry, mathematics and astronomy.

Exceptional researchers are released from competing duties, like teaching and administration, allowing them to focus on ambitious and original research. The awards also enable distinguished, international research talent to relocate to a UK academic institution. 

The three appointments this year are:

Professor Andrew Cooper, University of Liverpool – Putting a brain in the mobile robotic chemist

Professor Andrew Cooper is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Liverpool. This research will build on his recent development of the first intelligent mobile ‘robot chemist’.


He aims to equip the robot chemist with the necessary artificial intelligence to explore the materials space. Working autonomously and with human scientists, it will use a real-time web interface to crowd source scientific insight to find new materials for applications, like clean energy production and environmental remediation.

Professor James Dunlop, University of Edinburgh – Exploring the formation and growth of the first galaxies

Professor James Dunlop is a Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh.

Over the next 5-10 years, this research aims to use the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), and the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA), to discover and study the first galaxies which were forming and growing in the first billion years of the universe. This could reveal ‘first light' and chart the formation of the elements required for life on Earth.

Professor Wendelin Werner, University of Cambridge – Randomness in the continuum

Professor Wendelin Werner is a Professor of Mathematics, currently based at ETH Zürich. He will hold this award after re-locating to the University of Cambridge, and plans to address questions related to random structures in the continuum.

He hopes to explore how random structures can emerge as assemblies of random microscopic and sometimes natural macroscopic features, and how they depend on the dimension of the considered space. This research is motivated by questions originating in Theoretical Physics and may also provide some new insight into the dimension-dependent nature of randomness itself.

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