Future leaders fellowships for Liverpool researchers

Two University of Liverpool researchers from the Faculty of Science & Engineering have been awarded prestigious UKRI-funded Future Leaders Fellowships in the latest round of the flagship programme announced today.

The highly competitive Future Leaders Fellowships scheme is designed to tackle major research challenges and support the research and innovation leaders of the future.

Dr Stefania Soldini is a Lecturer (Asst. Prof.) in Space Engineering at the School of Engineering. She will lead research into the developing of a fleet of self-driven small satellites that will be sent out into the solar system to track and analyse asteroids. This will provide vital data about possible threats to Earth, helping to develop mitigation against the risk of impact.

They will also enable scientists to unlock any resources present on the asteroids, such as water, that may be used to produce rocket fuel and support human space exploration.

Dr Thomas Jones is a volcanologist with the School of Environmental Sciences who uses a combination of field studies and laboratory experiments to investigate the physical processes that operate during the transport and eruption of magma.

He will investigate mafic explosive eruptions — the dominant form of volcanism on Earth and on other planets and satellites. He will use a multidisciplinary and multicomponent approach to provide the first full quantification of how these mafic, runny (low viscosity) magmas containing bubbles and/or crystals break apart. Ultimately, this will help predict whether a volcano will erupt explosively, producing ash or effusively, producing lava flows.

UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said: “The Future Leaders Fellowships provide researchers and innovators with the freedom and generous long-term support to progress adventurous new ideas, and to move across disciplinary boundaries and between academia and industry.

“The fellows announced today provide shining examples of the talented researchers and innovators across every discipline attracted to pursue their ideas in universities and businesses throughout the UK, with the potential to deliver transformative research that can be felt across society and the economy.”

A total of 84 Future Leaders Fellowships, backed with £97.8 million were announced today by Science Minister George Freeman.

The Future Leaders Fellowships scheme helps universities and businesses in the UK recruit, develop and retain the world’s best researchers and innovators, regardless of their background.

Researchers can apply for substantial long-term funding to support their research or innovation and develop their careers, with each fellowship will last four to seven years.