A University of Liverpool engineer who works on materials to prevent vision loss has been ranked as one of the UK’s top ten most inspirational scientists.
Professor Rachel Williams is one of ten scientists and engineers on a list compiled by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) from hundreds of nominations from across the UK.
Her work within the University’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease centres on creating materials which can be used to prevent or delay loss of sight. She is currently working on a project to develop a synthetic membrane on which retinal pigment epithelial cells can be grown and transplanted under the retina in the eye of a patient with age-related macular degeneration.
She was chosen to receive the Recognising Inspirational Scientists and Engineers (RISE) award by an independent panel which selected from a list of scientists nominated by UK universities, industry, professional bodies and learned institutes.
The award scheme is being run by the EPSRC to celebrate 20 years in existence and coincides with ‘Tomorrow’s Engineers Week’; a week-long series of events supported by Engineering UK, the Royal Academy of Engineering, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and other partners, which aims to challenge outdated perceptions of engineering careers and demonstrate the relevance of engineering to people’s everyday lives.
Each of the ten must now select a scientist they consider to have the potential to be a future world-class talent, and this fits in with Professor Williams’ existing work. She said: “As an engineer working in a mainly medical field, I am interested in working with chemists, physicists and engineers and building a cross-disciplinary focus in Ophthalmic Bioengineering.
“I already mentor researchers at the start of their careers at Liverpool and it’s really good that this award allows me to extend this further.
“I’m honoured to be in the top ten list.”