GW4 researchers awarded UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships

November 27, 2019

Researchers from each GW4 institution, including two GW4 Crucible alumni, have been awarded UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowships.

The UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships is a £900 million initiative designed to support the very best early career researchers from a wide range of disciplines. The support will enable each fellow to tackle ambitious and challenging research and innovation and develop their own careers.

GW4 Crucible Alumni Dr Victoria Bates from the University of Bristol and Dr Adrian Healy at Cardiff University have both been awarded fellowships and taken part in GW4 Crucible, a programme designed to develop research leaders of the future and provide an opportunity to consider new approaches to their research and its impact.

Dr Healy’s fellowship will support an ambitious long-term research programme to address global water shortages, working with international partners. Dr Healy’s research project 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.

Dr Healy was part of the 2018 GW4 Crucible cohort and was also involved in the GW4 seed funded project: The Resilience Games, exploring how gaming approaches might be applied as an educational tool to raise awareness of the resilience of places.

Dr Healy said: “GW4 Crucible provides an excellent forum through which to meet other like-minded researchers. The fact that it is organised around particular themes offers real potential to those involved, and the GW4 Universities, to build lasting communities of interdisciplinary research, addressing some of the critical challenges facing our societies today. Personally, I continue to value the insights I gained from GW4 Crucible and which proved valuable in developing my Fellowship.”

Dr Healy will also be working closely with Cardiff University’s Water Research Institute, part of GW4’s Water Security Alliance. Director for both, Professor Isabelle Durance, commented: “Dr Healy’s work is a great example of the value of applying an interdisciplinary perspective to tackle the challenges of resilient urban water supplies, both internationally and in the UK.”

Dr Bates, University of Bristol, has been awarded the Future Leaders Fellowship for the project ‘Sensing Spaces of Healthcare: Rethinking the NHS Hospital’. It will create the first sensory history of hospitals in the 20th and 21st centuries, in order to understand the changing role of sensory interactions in the making of hospital environments.

Dr Bates took part in GW4 Crucible 2017 with the theme Healthy Spaces and led a collaborative research group which received GW4 seed funding for their project.

Dr Patrick Bury, from the University of Bath, has been awarded funding to further his work on Transatlantic counter-terrorism. The new project will map out how counter-terrorism networks operate as well as what impact new technologies such as AI and Big Data have had on information sharing between agencies.

Dr Emily Bridger at The University of Exeter has been awarded a fellowship to explore the history of sexual violence of South Africa, drawing on the voices of women. This is the first research conducted into the history of sexual violence in the country across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, exploring women’s experiences of violence before, during, and after apartheid. The results will help experts, NGOs and policy makers better understand and respond to crimes against women.

Dr Sarah Perkins, GW4 Director said: “GW4 is committed to supporting our researchers, including early career researchers and developing innovative research leaders of the future, through programmes such as GW4 Crucible. It is fantastic to see researchers from across GW4 institutions recognised with this prestigious fellowship which will enable them to tackle global challenges and some of society’s most pressing issues.”

Professor Sir Mark Walport, UKRI’s Chief Executive, 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 fellowships build on GW4’s success from round 1 with fellowships awarded to researchers at the University of Bristol and University of Exeter.