Researchers awarded Future Leader Fellowships

Four University scientists have been awarded government fellowships to help them become leaders in research and innovation.

They are to become Future Leaders Fellows under a newly announced UK Government programme.

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

Altogether, 41 early career researchers at universities across the UK will each benefit from a share of £40 million.

Over the next three years, the Future Leaders Programme will support 550 academics with an overall investment of £900 million.

Research focus

Dr Anna Lisa Varri of the School of Physics and Astronomy will look at how globular clusters – dense groups of around one million stars – emerged when the first galaxies formed.

Her work will be instrumental in uncovering some of the biggest questions in astrophysics, from investigating how black holes are formed to finding out more about the nature of dark matter.

Dr Rod Mitchell, of the University’s MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, will work to identify how chemotherapy drugs damage stem cells in testicles of children with cancer, which can lead to infertility in adulthood.

His research will seek to identify which drugs could protect stem cells without protecting cancer cells.

He will work with drug development companies to produce fertility-sparing drugs for children receiving chemotherapy.

Pioneering studies

Dr Amanda Jarvis of the School of Chemistry will look at enhancing the chemical reactions that form medicines, clothing and plastics by combining enzymes and catalysts, leading to faster and more sustainable production.

Dr Baojun Wang of the School of Biological Sciences will focus on designing synthetic genes to customise cellular behaviour.

His team will also research the manufacture of bespoke protein-based materials and antibodies for the biotechnology industry and for therapeutics.

UKRI will provide up to £900 million in support over six competition rounds over three years for the Future Leaders Fellowships, typically awarding around 200 new fellows each year.  

From tackling the lifelong impact of childhood cancers to investigating the biggest questions of the universe, Edinburgh’s Future Leaders Fellows are at the cutting edge of the latest scientific research.  That’s why we’re backing them through our modern Industrial Strategy, investing in their research as a key part of maintaining the UK’s position as a world-leader in science.

Greg ClarkUK Business Secretary


 Scotland is world leading in science and research with a global reputation for top quality higher education. The UK Government recognises this and, through our Industrial Strategy and Future Leaders Fellowships, we are ensuring talented researchers from around the world can come to Scotland and work with great institutions like the University of Edinburgh to stretch the boundaries of knowledge and make lives better.

David MundellScottish Secretary

Related links

School of Physics and Astronomy

MRC Centre for Reproductive Health

School of Chemistry

School of Biological Sciences