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UK government announces major new funding to attract world’s best in science and innovation

Sian EGardiner5 July 2018

Business Secretary Greg Clark has announced a major new investment in UK talent and skills to grow and attract the best in science and innovation from across the world.

The inaugural UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowship Scheme is set to receive £900 million over the next 11 years, with six funding competitions and at least 550 fellowships awarded over the next three years.

UCL researchers are frequently among those to receive government backing. Recent examples include the Department of Physics & Astronomy’s Krishna Manojkumar Jadeja, who has received funding for his project on ‘coherent gamma rays,’ along with a team at the Department of Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering led by Professor Gary Royle, whose proton therapy proposal has received backing from the National Institute for Health Research.

Flexibility for researchers

Delivering the keynote speech at the International Business Festival in Liverpool last month, Clark outlined £1.3 billion worth of investment for British universities and businesses.

The money is intended to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and scientific leaders and secure Britain’s future economic prosperity, and is the single biggest investment in science in 40 years. He said: “The money will help ensure the UK invests 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027 and help us become the world’s most innovative economy by 2030.”

Clark explained that the investment will provide up to seven years of funding for early-career researchers and innovators, including support for part-time awards and career breaks, in a bid to provide researchers with the flexibility needed to tackle ambitious and challenging research areas.

Key international collaboration

Commenting on the announcement, Clark added: “We are a nation of innovators, with some of the world’s greatest inventions created on British soil – from penicillin to the first computer programme. We want to retain our global reputation as a destination for world-class scientists and researchers, by providing opportunities to find and nurture the next Ada Lovelaces and Isaac Newtons.

“International collaboration has been key to many of the most significant discoveries and breakthroughs and I want the UK to remain the go-to destination for the best scientists and innovators. We are investing in the rising stars of research and innovation to ensure the UK is where the products and technologies of tomorrow are developed.”

The scheme is open to businesses as well as universities, and is also open to researchers from around the world, in a bid to ensure the UK continues to attract exceptional talent from around the world.

Supporting the Grand Challenges

Clark also announced that complementing the Future Leaders Fellowship Scheme, the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, British Academy, and Academy of Medical Sciences will collectively receive £350 million for the prestigious fellowships schemes. This funding will enhance the research talent pipeline and increase the number of fellowships on offer for high skilled researchers and innovators.

For the next five years, £50 million has been allocated through the National Productivity Investment Fund for additional PhDs, including 100 PhDs to support research into AI, supporting one of the Grand Challenges within the Industrial Strategy and ensuring Britain is at the forefront of the AI revolution.

UK – Mexico Visiting Chair scheme: Funding for research visits

SophieVinter7 April 2016

UCL researchers interested in working with partners in Mexico can apply for funding to support their collaboration.

The UK – Mexico Visiting Chair scheme provides mobility funding for a research visit of up to two weeks to visit a new potential collaborator within a Consortium of 12 Mexican and 12 UK universities (see the guidance notes under ‘How to apply’ for a full list of participating Mexican institutions).

The scheme was created with the support of the Mexican and UK governments to increase research collaboration and strengthen relations between HEIs in the two countries.

To be eligible, applicants need to hold a doctorate degree in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) or Social Sciences and Humanities as well as being employed by any of the HEIs included in the scheme.

Activities accepted and encouraged include attendance at workshops, research symposia and conferences, as well as meetings to scope collaboration, share best practice or develop new initiatives.

Costs covered under the scheme include flights, accommodation, workspace, insurance, internal travel and incidental expenses.

How to apply

Applicants must read the guidance notes in full before completing the research project proposal form. They will need to list their top three possible destinations for their proposed visit to Mexico – this should include confirmation from the host academic/department in each institution.

Applications should be submitted to ciaran.moynihan@ucl.ac.uk by 17.00 on 20 May 2016. They must be made in English and include the documents below:

a.    A completed research project proposal form
b.    Curriculum vitae, including relevant publications.

The results will be announced on Friday 24 June by email and published online thereafter.

Applicants should be aware that if successful, the location of their placement will depend on finalisation by the Commissions of both their home country and that of their partner.