(l-r) Dr Joshua Makepeace and Dr Joshua Quick

Two University of Birmingham researchers have been awarded Future Leaders Fellowships as part of a new £78 million investment announced today by UK Research and Innovation.

Top researchers and innovators from across the country will receive a portion of the funding, aimed at propelling the next generation of researchers as they lead cutting-edge projects; from developing rapid diagnostic methods to identify antibiotic resistance in infections, to developing the new energy storage technology.

In Birmingham, Joshua Quick, based in the Institute of Microbiology and Infection, is leading research to enable rapid detection of antibiotic resistance and reduce overprescribing of antibiotics. A serious health threat, antibiotic resistance is expected to cause the death of at least 10 million people per year by 2050. Dr Quick aims to develop methods that can predict antibiotic susceptibility in 3-hours without the use of microbial culture.

“Birmingham is a centre of innovation for microbiology research and nanopore sequencing,” said Dr Quick. “Thanks to this fellowship we will be able to collaborate with world-leading academic, clinical and industrial partners to deliver new tools in the battle against antibiotic resistance.”

Joshua Makepeace, in the School of Chemistry, is leading a project to develop materials for use in the energy storage devices of the future. This includes exploring the use of ammonia as a fuel and hydrogen store and investigating new battery chemistry.

“This fellowship is an opportunity to look at a family of materials which hasn't been explored in huge detail, but shows exciting potential for improved performance in these areas,” says Dr Makepeace. “Ultimately, I want my research to help enable the transition to a sustainable energy system.”

Future Leaders Fellowships are designed to help universities and businesses in the UK recruit, train and retain the world’s best researchers and innovators, regardless of their background. They can apply for up to £1.2 million over four years, with the ability to extend to up to seven years.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said “Delivering on our research and innovation ambitions means putting people first, whether they are just starting out in their career or are leading major projects in academia or industry. These inspirational Future Leaders Fellows will generate the ideas of the future, helping to shape science and research for the 21st century.”

Professor Sir Mark Walport, UK Research and Innovation’s Chief Executive, said: “The Future Leaders Fellowships will enable the most promising researchers and innovators to become leaders in their fields, working on subjects as diverse as climate change, dementia and quantum computing.

“UKRI is committed to creating modern research and innovation careers and our Future Leaders Fellowships aim to support and retain the most talented people, including those with flexible career paths."

Applications for round four of the Futures Leaders Fellowships are now open and UKRI is particularly encouraging applications hosted by, or collaborating with, businesses.

For further information please contact Beck Lockwood, Press Office, University of Birmingham, tel 0121 414 2772.

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • The Future Leaders Fellowships scheme, which is run by UK Research and Innovation, will recognise 550 individuals with a total investment of £900 million committed over 3 years. The scheme helps universities and businesses in the UK recruit, train and retain the world’s best researchers and innovators, regardless of their background. They can apply for up to £1.2 million to support the research and innovation leaders of the future, keeping the UK at the cutting edge of innovation. Each fellowship will last four to seven years.
  • Firms interested in applying to host a Futures Leaders Fellowship