Press release: Science superstars and small businesses could bring the next big innovations to market with £100 million boost

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  • From Southampton to Edinburgh, projects will help tackle climate change, chronic diseases and barriers to driverless cars
  • Investment will support industries of the future to thrive, boost jobs and grow local economies

The rising stars of UK science and trailblazing small businesses will receive significant government support to help answer some of the world’s biggest scientific challenges and help turn ideas into viable products and services.

Today (20 September 2019), the Government announced a £98 million investment, allowing both UK researchers and small businesses to seize the vast opportunities in science and innovation and industries of the future.

Of this, £78 million will be invested in 78 scientists and researchers through the government’s Future Leaders Fellowships scheme, supporting many of those working at the cutting edge of the next scientific discoveries – including solutions to climate change and birth defects.

The remaining £20 million will be allocated to 20 universities to develop new University Enterprise Zones (UEZs) across the country to provide vital specialist support to small businesses in pioneering industries – like Artificial Intelligence (AI), clean growth, smart energy and agri-food.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said:

Delivering on our research and innovation ambitions means putting people first, whether they are just starting out in their career or are leading major projects in academia or industry.

These inspirational Future Leaders Fellows will generate the ideas of the future, helping to shape science and research for the 21st century. But to realise the full potential of these discoveries, their ideas need to be taken out of the lab and turned into real products and services, where they can actually change people’s lives for the better.

That’s why we are creating 20 new University Enterprise Zones, helping local start-ups to co-locate in universities to build the businesses of the future – all inspired by university research.

The first wave of winners of the Future Leaders Fellowships scheme was announced earlier this year – with several projects now underway, ranging from tackling Alzheimer’s disease to helping emergency services reach the scenes of accidents more quickly.

The new fellows will help maintain the UK’s position as a global science and research superpower, with new fellows including:

  • Joe Rainger, University of Edinburgh – Working with DNA, live cell-imaging, and developing eye tissue, Joe’s project will provide insights into how we can reduce genetic birth defects - including cleft palate, spina bifida, and heart defects

  • Siddartha Khastgir, WMG, University of Warwick- Siddartha’s research will help us overcome the barriers to rolling out driverless cars - running pioneering tests to enable the safe use of connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs)

  • Izzy Jayasinghe, University of Leeds- Izzy will build new portable, cheap and easy-to-use imaging technology. This will help doctors and scientists to visually examine structures as small as individual proteins and genes – unlocking new insights into global issues including effects of environmental change, ageing and long-term disease

  • Adrian Healy, Cardiff University – Adrian’s research will improve global cities’ ability to cope with water-related shocks in the face of increasing demands for water, including droughts and a lack of access clean to water

  • Bob C. Schroeder, University College London – This project will drive advances in self-healing materials - creating a wearable sensor that can be directly applied to human skin to allow for continuous patient monitoring and ultimately improve treatments

  • Patricia Clay, University of Manchester – By examining meteorites and ancient rocks from our planet, this project will explore the age-old existential question: how did life form on early Earth?

  • Sadie Watson, Museum of London Archaeology – Sadie’s research will ensure that public spending on archaeological excavation for infrastructure projects leads to meaningful research that is relevant to society - and has community participation

The remaining £20 million is being allocated by Research England – part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – to 20 universities, from Southampton to Teesside to create UEZs; alongside existing zones in Bradford, Bristol, Liverpool and Nottingham, and a specialised facility at the Bradfield Centre in Cambridge

These UEZs will provide vital specialist support to small businesses at the cutting-edge of pioneering industries.

The scheme will facilitate knowledge sharing between academics and entrepreneurs by opening collaborations with universities and businesses to help them take their ideas from prototype to profit. The UEZs will provide the facilities and expertise to help local SMEs to forge crucial partnerships, driving local growth and job creation.

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said:

The Future Leaders Fellowships will enable the most promising researchers and innovators to become leaders in their fields, working on subjects as diverse as climate change, dementia and quantum computing.

UKRI is committed to creating modern research and innovation careers and our Future Leaders Fellowships aim to support and retain the most talented people, including those with flexible career paths.

These 20 University Enterprise Zones funded by Research England will be important focal points for collaboration in business-friendly environments, driving innovation and delivering benefits that will be felt across economies at the local, regional and national scale.

This investment comes following the government reaffirming its commitment to invest at least 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027 and to publishing a roadmap this autumn setting out how it will realise this ambition.

The government has also launched a new immigration route enabling international students to work in the UK for two-years post-graduation, helping the UK attract and retain the brightest and best talent.

Notes to editors:

The Future Leaders Fellowships scheme, which is run by UK Research and Innovation, will recognise 550 individuals with a total investment of £900 million committed over 3 years. The scheme helps universities and businesses in the UK recruit, train and retain the world’s best researchers and innovators, regardless of their background. They can apply for up to £1.2 million to support the research and innovation leaders of the future, keeping the UK at the cutting edge of innovation. Each fellowship will last four to seven years.

Firms interested in applying to host a Futures Leaders Fellow

The full list of fellows can be found below:

  • Christopher Staples, Bangor University
  • Adrian Healy, Cardiff University
  • Laura Schoenberger, Durham University
  • James Osborn, Durham University
  • Babette Hoogakker, Heriot-Watt University
  • Klaus Jöns, Heriot-Watt University
  • Adam Celiz, Imperial College London
  • Oliver Robinson, Imperial College London
  • Yuval Elani, Imperial College London
  • Francesco Antonio Aprile, Imperial College London
  • Vanessa Sancho Shimizu, Imperial College London
  • Mark Scott, Imperial College London
  • Ayush Bhandari, Imperial College London
  • Michael Vanner, Imperial College London
  • Isabel Dregely, King’s College London
  • Pierpaolo Vivo, King’s College London
  • Katie Sheehan, King’s College London
  • Aurelia Lepine, London, Sch of Hygiene and University College London
  • Muhammed Olanrewaju Afolabi, London Sch of Hygiene and Trop Medicine
  • Daniel Smale, Marine Biological Association
  • Sadie Watson, Museum of London Archaeology
  • Noemi Procopio, Northumbria University
  • Jan Mol, Queen Mary University of London
  • Georgina Robinson, Scottish Association For Marine Science
  • Paul Albert, Swansea University
  • Yue Ren, Swansea University
  • Patricia Clay, The University of Manchester
  • Jean-Michel Fustin, The University of Manchester
  • Jennifer Steeden, University College London
  • Jenevieve Mannell, University College London
  • Bob Camille Schroeder, University College London
  • Peter Keating, University College London
  • Neil Oxtoby, University College London
  • Alice Davidson, University College London
  • Timothy Carroll, University College London
  • Carla Perez Martinez, University College London
  • Pierre Maillard, University College London
  • Anupam Das, University College London
  • Patrick Bury, University of Bath
  • Joshua Quick, University of Birmingham
  • Joshua Makepeace, University of Birmingham
  • Sarah Pike, University of Bradford
  • Victoria Bates, University of Bristol
  • Laura Dixon, University of Leeds
  • Daniel Field, University of Cambridge
  • Jamie Blundell, University of Cambridge
  • Tom Vettenburg, University of Dundee
  • Alper Akay, University of East Anglia
  • Charles Lees, University of Edinburgh
  • Joe Rainger, University of Edinburgh
  • Stephen Wallace, University of Edinburgh
  • Franz Herzog, University of Edinburgh
  • Emily Bridger, University of Exeter
  • Adam Dobson, University of Glasgow
  • Lewis Topley, University of Kent
  • Laura Carter, University of Leeds
  • Karen Michelle Davies, University of Leeds
  • Richard Mann, University of Leeds
  • Izzy Jayasinghe, University of Leeds
  • Anna Tarrant, University of Lincoln
  • Janine Kavanagh, University of Liverpool
  • Ruth Nugent, University of Liverpool
  • Kay Brandner, University of Nottingham
  • Christopher Ballance, University of Oxford
  • Daniel Humphreys, University of Sheffield
  • Christina Vanderwel, University of Southampton
  • Matthew Ryan, University of Southampton
  • William Hutchison, University of St Andrews
  • Patrick O’Hare, University of St Andrews
  • Panagiotis Papadopoulos, University of Strathclyde
  • Payel Das, University of Surrey
  • Siddartha Khastgir, University of Warwick
  • Richard Moore, University of Warwick
  • Heather Cegla, University of Warwick
  • Tom Gur, University of Warwick
  • Benajmin Richards, University of Warwick
  • Matthew Spencer, University of Warwick
  • Angela Aristidou, University of Warwick

The further £20 million will be allocated to 20 Universities by Research England:

  • STEAMincubator Led by: Birmingham City University Research England funding: £0.53 million

  • AVIATE+ Led by: Cranfield University Research England funding: £1.2 million

  • Keele University Corridor University Enterprise Zone Led by: Keele University Research England funding: £0.91 million

  • Secure Digitalisation University Enterprise Zone (SecureD EZ) Led by: Lancaster University Research England funding: £1.5 million

  • Oxford Brookes Artificial Intelligence & Data Analysis Incubator (AIDA) Led by: Oxford Brookes University Research England funding: £1.2 million

  • QMUL/Barts Life Sciences University Enterprise Zone Led by: Queen Mary University of London Research England funding: £1.5 million

  • Wellbeing Accelerator Led by: Sheffield Hallam University Research England funding: £0.9 million

  • Staffordshire Advanced Materials Incubation and Accelerator Centre (SAMIAC) Led by: Staffordshire University Research England funding: £0.8 million

  • Unit DX+ Led by: University of Bristol Research England funding: £1.5 million

  • East London Inclusive Enterprise Zone (ELIEZ) Led by: UCL Research England funding: £0.5 million

  • Greater Cambridge Health Tech Connect: Testing and integrating inter-disciplinary models of incubation across West/South Cambridge Led by: University of Cambridge Research England funding: £0.5 million

  • Accelerating Innovation at the Knowledge Gateway Led by: University of Essex Research England funding: £0.8 million

  • University of Exeter Enterprise Zone (UEEZ) Led by: University of Exeter Research England funding: £0.8 million

  • Launchpad Led by: University of Falmouth Research England funding: £1 million

  • The Go Herts University Enterprise Zone Led by: University of Hertfordshire Research England funding: £1.1 million

  • Business Incubation Development to support Food Enterprise Zones Led by: University of Lincoln Research England funding: £1 million

  • Future Towns Innovation Hub Led by: University of Southampton Research England funding: £1.5 million

  • Led by: Durham University Research England funding: £1.4 million

  • Led by: Teesside University Research England funding: £1.4 million

  • Led by: University of Sunderland Research England funding: £0.6 million

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