Researchers Granted Over £2M Support in RSE Awards

Over 100 distinguished academic researchers will receive over £2M in awards from the RSE.

Supported by both public and private bodies, the RSE’s awards enable individuals to pursue academic research or investigate the commercial potential of their work. A range of funding is offered; from travel grants for arts and humanities researchers seeking to collaborate with their counterparts overseas to cross-departmental/institutional leadership and development awards.

The RSE’s prestigious awards highlight the tremendous vitality of Scotland’s research sector and the huge contribution it makes to Scotland’s development, economy and wellbeing, as well as the impact made on an international level. Hailing from diverse disciplines, this year’s awardees have projects that represent a wide range of subject areas such as romantic national song culture in the UK; gravitational waves; prisoner of war camps; and cognitive predictors of mathematics skills in children with ADHD.

This year there are 19 RSE Enterprise Fellowship awardees who will receive funding, training and mentorship to unleash their entrepreneurial potential, enabling them to commercialise their science and technology-based research.

Dr Rotimi Alabi, founder of RAB-Microfluidics is hosted by the University of Aberdeen and using the RSE Enterprise Fellowship to support the commercialisation of his microfluidic technology that permits the analysis of oil within the environment; enhancing process efficiency and cost savings on traditional lab-testing methods. He commented, “The RSE Enterprise Fellowship reinforces Scotland’s position of being a leading incubator of entrepreneurship. The RSE understands the value of nurturing entrepreneurship talent and the needs of such talent. By providing financial support that helps entrepreneurs focus on the day-to-day running of their enterprise, to providing world class business training, the RSE has an eye on the future and its Enterprise Fellows are building this future. I am indeed grateful to be part of that future.”

New to the awards offered this year is the new RSE/Fulbright Scholar Award, which offers a UK-based academic the opportunity to go to a top university in the US for up to 3 months to carry out lecturing and/or research in any of the following areas: science and technology, arts, humanities, social science, business and public service.

Through this new initiative Kirsteen Shields of the University of Dundee will spend a semester at Berkeley University, California, where she will continue her research into land reform, human rights and the right to food. She commented, “It is an honour to be given an opportunity to spend time at Berkeley. Scholar exchanges like this are vital for the spread and transfer of knowledge. I feel very lucky that the RSE, Fulbright and Berkeley selected me for this award and I cannot wait to bring back my new experiences and knowledge back to the University of Dundee.”

Through an RSE Arts & Humanities Network Grant, Dr Elspeth Jajdelska, School of Humanities, University of Strathclyde and Dr Christopher Butler, Department of Neurology, University of Oxford are collaborating to further their investigative project ‘Stories in Scotland’, which poses the questions: What happens when verbal narratives lose out to moving image ones? What are the cognitive differences between experiencing a story in language or in moving images? Speaking about receiving the award Dr Elspeth Jajdelska said, “We were delighted and honoured to have the RSE’s support to continue our project, which tries to get at the implications for all of us, good and bad, of a shift from books to screens in the ways we consume stories. The funding has let us bring together disciplines that don’t normally talk to one another, and to work closely with the Scottish Book Trust and Glasgow Women’s Library on making our research as relevant as possible to their needs.”

President of the RSE, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, said the awards recognise the finest in Scottish research, commenting, “Once again, it is encouraging to see the breadth of research and impact that is enabled through our wide ranging, prestigious awards. I congratulate each of the pioneering and inspiring awardees; their achievements reflect the high standard of work that typifies the RSE and Scotland’s research and business community.”

The RSE’s awards are made possible through the continued and generous support of our funding partners: Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise, BBSRC, STFC, NERC and the RSE Scotland Foundation.

The full list of awardees can be viewed in the Awards Reception brochure.