Rising research stars awarded Future Leaders Fellowships

Two University of Liverpool scientists have been awarded prestigious government fellowships to pursue ambitious and adventurous research in the fields of conservation biology and nanomedicine.

Dr Jenny Hodgson and Dr Marco Giardiello are part of a new generation of rising stars supported by the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowships scheme, which provides funding, flexibility and time to take forward challenging research questions.

Dr Jenny Hodgson is a conservation biologist, investigating how we can best configure landscapes to allow species to survive despite climate change and other pressures. Jenny’s notable projects include developing the software Condatis, which has been used around the world to prioritise the best habitat to protect and restore. During her Fellowship – Robust Conservation for a Dynamic World – Jenny will build a new scientific toolbox for reliable conservation plans that are applicable globally, convening a team of collaborators with different disciplinary backgrounds. Key advances will involve marrying the power of network analysis with a data-driven, mechanistic model of how species survive and move.

Dr Marco Giardiello works out of the Department of Chemistry with a research focus in nanomedicine. To date, his work has led to clinical trial developments of nanomedicine therapies for HIV/AIDS and the formation of the University of Liverpool spin-out company Tandem Nano Ltd, for which he is a co-founder. Through his Fellowship, Marco aims to develop novel Inorganic/Organic Nanocomposite Particles (I/O-NP) for use in both diagnostic and therapeutic nanomedicine. The technology is highly adaptable allowing for a range of applications, each with significant avenues to innovative material design and future healthcare developments. The aim is to offer new direction for nanomedicine research, providing the foundation for new research fields to emerge.

A total of 90 Fellowships were announced today in the latest round of the scheme, which aims to support the creation of a new cohort of research leaders with links across different sectors and disciplines.

Kirsty Grainger, Director of the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships, said: “The Future Leaders Fellows represent some of the most brilliant people working in the country. We’re supporting researchers from every background – from the arts to medicine, and the social sciences to engineering – helping them become the research and innovation leaders of the future.”

Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, said: “The prestigious Future Leaders Fellowships help develop the careers of outstanding researchers who are pushing the boundaries of research and innovation across universities, research organisations and for the first time in businesses.”

The awards form part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which aims to secure the UK as world-leading in scientific research and innovation.