Almost 100 of the UK’s next-generation science leaders will be granted a total £113m science funding boost to facilitate the commercialisation of their innovations and tackle global challenges from the climate crisis to chronic illness.
Today (Wednesday 8 September), Science Minister Amanda Solloway has revealed that this massive science funding boost will be awarded to 97 cutting edge science and research projects in the UK in order to transform world-leading science ideas into novel products and services on the market, as well as confronting major global issues.
Supporting UK science with sufficient funding
The projects that will receive a funding boost include:
Four-legged robots to aid British farmers – Dr Dimitrios Kanoulas at University College London will lead the RoboHike project to provide autonomous 4-legged robots with the capacity to navigate through tough terrains, such as construction and agriculture, as well as at the scene of natural disasters. This will allow for quick, robust, and dependable navigation in situations where timely delivery of services and emergency aid is crucial.
Sensors to forecast and analyse seizures – Newcastle University’s Dr Yujiang Wang will utilise a combination of long-term brain recordings and wearable environmental sensors in order to capture and investigate oscillations in epileptic seizures. The project intends to obtain greater insight into how seizure activity and severity differs case by case. As well as this, it will allow the researchers to calculate the severity of upcoming seizures for individual patients, on top of establishing future treatments that could decrease their severity.
Reducing methane emissions – Dr Joshua Dean from the University of Liverpool is leading a project that will utilise urban waterways, like canals and rivers, to determine how to measure and map the origins of and decrease methane emissions.
Methane is a greenhouse gas 86 times more potent than CO2, and more than half of methane emissions come from human activity. Part of the research will entail mapping how urban waterways deliver methane into the atmosphere, for instance, through leaking gas pipes.
Research into biogeobatteries – The University of Bristol’s Dr James Byrne is leading a project that aims to identify how iron-containing minerals present in the ground can behave like natural batteries – known as biogeobatteries. The project will explore how bacteria apply these biogeobatteries to generate and store energy. It is hoped this work will help us to address the challenges of today’s energy storage demands and build a more sustainable future.
UK Research and Innovation flagship
The funding will be provided through the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) flagship Future Leaders Fellowships scheme, which intends to enable the careers of the next generation of pioneering British scientists. This funding will allow researchers at universities and businesses to advance their studies quickly by funding vital equipment and paying for researcher wages.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway explained: “We are putting science and innovation at the heart of our efforts to build back better from the pandemic, empowering our scientific leaders of tomorrow to drive forward game-changing research that could improve all our lives and boost the UK economy.
“Supported by £113 million, the Future Leaders Fellowships will equip our most inventive scientists and researchers across the country with the tools to develop and bring their innovations to market quickly – all while helping to secure the UK’s status as a global science superpower.”
UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, added: “I am delighted that UKRI is able to support the next generation of research and innovation leaders through our Future Leaders Fellowship programme.
“The new Fellows announced today will have the support and freedom they need to pursue their research and innovation ideas, delivering new knowledge and understanding and tackling some of the greatest challenges of our time.”