Academy Research Schemes: Research Chairs and Senior Research Fellowships Overview - Video Transcript

Title: Academy Research Schemes: Research Chairs and Senior Research Fellowships overview

Duration: 3:10 mins


[Royal Academy of Engineering Logo]

[TEXT: Research Chairs and Senior Research Fellowships. Generating impact through academic-industrial partnerships.]

[Professor Cindy Smith] Our research sits at the very forefront of engineering and biology.

[TEXT: Professor Cindy Smith is an environmental microbiologist at the University of Glasgow. In 2018 she was awarded the Research Chair to fund a five year project with Scottish Water, exploring new, sustainable water treatment methods in rural Scotland.]

[Professor Cindy Smith] So we're actually really, really good at treating water. The issue is it takes a lot of chemicals, a lot of energy, and simply is not sustainable economically or environmentally.

[TEXT: Cindy's partnership with Scottish Water is focussed on developing a technology called slow sand filtration that uses microbes to treat the water.] 

[Professor Cindy Smith] Slow sand filtration is low cost and sustainable, but the issue is that it's also unreliable. With my background in environmental microbiology, we're now able to make slow sand filtration and biofiltration a reliable, sustainable solution for drinking water treatment. And of course, then this can be used globally because more than 800 million people are without access to clean drinking water.

It's been a complete eye opener and really, really informative to work so closely with Scottish Water. They came to our monthly meetings and discussed real everyday industry challenges. So really this is a collaboration and a co-development of our research project that would not happen without the support of the Research Chair.

[TEXT: Professor Yulong Ding is a chemical engineer at the University of Birmingham.]

[Professor Yulong Ding] As an engineer, my main duty or my moral responsibility would drive me to do what is needed to stop climate change.

[TEXT: His 2014 Research Chair, with industrial partner, Highview Power focussed on next generation cryogenic energy storage technologies. These technologies use low temperature liquids to store energy and could play a key role in enabling the transition to renewable energy sources.]

[Professor Yulong Ding] Highview technology is mainly for very large scale applications, which is needed for net zero 2050 because when we would have majority of energy generation from renewables and hence storage is essential. I was fortunate to be awarded this Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair, which enabled me to grow the team from initially three, including myself, to 35 in five years.

[TEXT: In 2013 Yulong started the Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage, a first-of-its kind where energy storage technologies are driven from laboratory to market.]  

[Professor Yulong Ding] Without this scheme, I wouldn't be able to get what I'm getting today in terms of training next generation engineers and myself, my own success in terms of recognition. I get a lot more known by the community, not only in the UK but globally. And another indication is that I was elected to the Academy as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2020, which is one of the biggest accomplishments I have.

[Professor Cindy Smith] I would absolutely encourage anyone to apply for this scheme. It's been really essential to the growth and development of my career.

[TEXT: Since 1986 the Academy's Research Chairs and Senior Research Fellowships has provided over £9 million of funding to more than 200 awardees at 34 UK universities.]

[Logo of Royal Academy of Engineering, Supported by Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy.]