Science and Technology Facilities Council
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Next generation of astronomy and physics leaders recognised

The latest cohort of Ernest Rutherford Fellows have been awarded funding to take on some of the biggest challenges in their fields.

Energy from a collapsing supernova is radiated in the form of neutrinos, produced when protons and electrons in the nucleus combine to form neutrons

Credit: Naeblys, iStock, Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Ten promising early career academics have received fellowships to establish new independent research programmes which will hone their leadership abilities and give them the opportunity to conduct cutting edge science.

The £6 million total investment marks the 13th consecutive year that the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have awarded the prestigious Ernest Rutherford Fellowships.

Asking important questions

The Ernest Rutherford Fellowships are designed to support researchers to push the boundaries of scientific knowledge using innovative and pioneering research methods.

This year’s fellows will tackle questions such as:

  • what can the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and upcoming European Space Agency (ESA) Euclid mission tell us about dark matter?
  • are neutrinos a door to physics beyond the standard model?
  • how can we maximise the capability of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)?
  • what are the fundamental processes governing giant planets in our solar system?

Harnessing potential

Professor Mark Thomson, STFC Executive Chair, yesterday said:

In order to tackle the challenges facing society, it is essential that we realise the enormous potential of our talented early career researchers.

These fellowships will do exactly this by supporting some of the brightest minds in physics and astronomy to turn ambitious ideas into reality.

Our new Ernest Rutherford fellows are leading examples of the UK’s globally recognised scientific community and it is exciting to think what discoveries they might make in the coming years.

Since 2012:

  • 96% of fellows who were employed had secured a permanent contract after their fellowship
  • at least 94% each year found that their fellowship was essential or very helpful to obtain their current position

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