Research within Loughborough University’s School of Science has received a funding boost through a ground-breaking new programme designed to support adventurous high-risk research.
The New Horizons programme, launched by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in early 2020, called for “transformative” research projects in the mathematical and physical sciences. Funding of up to £200,000 was available for projects of up to 24 months in duration.
Under the programme, the EPSRC has allocated almost £25.5 million of funding to 126 projects – five of which involve researchers within Loughborough’s School of Science.
“This is a phenomenal success for the School of Science,” said Professor Claudia Eberlein, Dean of Science at Loughborough University. “It shows the very high standard of our research across the School, and I am particularly pleased that our staff have succeeded in this new award process where applications are anonymous for a significant part of the refereeing process.”
She explained: “This is an important step towards removing bias from the process as reviewers cannot make judgements, consciously or unconsciously, on the basis of the applicants’ name, gender, or affiliation.”
Dr Hamid Ahmadinezhad echoed this sentiment.
“Mine is a fast-evolving area of research, and I am happy to be part of it,” he says. “It is especially gratifying that my ideas have been recognised through a rigorous and bias-minimised peer review process.”
The New Horizons programme is an attempt to promote research excellence, encouraging adventurous research while simplifying the application process. EPSRC Executive Chair, Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, said:
“New Horizons reflects EPSRC’s commitment to funding creative, transformative and ambitiouis new ideas across our portfolio. In this pilot, we have funded more than 100 projects in the mathematical and physical sciences. The scheme also piloted a new, simplified applications process designed to minimise the administrative burden of submitting grant applications, thereby enabling researchers to focus on developing their research ideas.”
The School’s Associate Dean for Research, Professor Sergey Saveliev, joined the chorus of voices celebrating the School of Science’s success:
“This new scheme supports transformative research and I am very proud that the School of Science is now on a trajectory to contribute to, and possibly even set, a fundamental research agenda in the UK.”
Here is a summary of the five projects to receive grants under the New Horizons programme:
Invariant algebra in hyperbolic geometry
Principle investigator: Professor Sara Lombardo
Kähler-Einstein metrics on Fano manifolds
Principle investigator: Dr Hamid Ahmadinezhad
Into a new plane – three-dimensionally delocalised nano-graphenes
Principle investigator: Dr Iain Wright
Seeing magnons at spin-to-charge conversion interfaces
Principle investigator: Dr D Kepaptsoglou (University of York)
Co-investigator: Dr Kelly Morrison
Multielectron photoredox catalysts based on charge accumulation in conjugated macrocycles
Principle investigator: Professor M J Heeney, Imperial College
Co-investigator: Dr Felix Plasser