By Claire West

Forty six outstanding UK researchers have been awarded EPSRC fellowships totaling £38 million to help develop their potential as the next generation of world-leading scientists and engineers.

The fellowships are a direct investment in Britain's most talented individuals to help them tackle some of the biggest challenges of the UK such as climate change and sustainable energy.

The research areas of the new fellows represent many promising developments in new technologies for industry and business development in areas such as physics, chemistry, computer science and bioengineering.

Announcing the new fellowships at Farnborough International Airshow today Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts said:

"Supporting talented scientists and engineers throughout their careers is crucial to driving the UK's science base and economy forward. These prestigious fellowships are an important investment for the future, and will help us develop innovative technologies and solutions for the major challenges ahead, and secure our place as global winners."

EPSRC fellowships are designed to help develop future leaders with the STEM skills necessary for the UK to compete on a global stage, generating the knowledge, new ideas and technologies essential to support business, government, and national priorities.

There are two types of fellowships:

Career Acceleration Fellowships allow grant holders to dedicate themselves to their research areas and fund their research costs. They also allow fellows to pursue new research directions and build international research collaborations and new business partnerships.

Leadership Fellowships provide support for talented researchers with the most potential to develop into international research leaders with the ability to set and drive new research agendas on global issues.

Seven EPSRC interview panels met last month and decided to fund thirty new Career Acceleration Fellows and sixteen new Leadership Fellows in a wide range of disciplines in areas from quantum mechanics to robot navigation and from coastal flood protection to fuel cells for electric vehicles.

New fellow Dr. Michael Preuss from Manchester University is researching nuclear fuels. Michael's work will improve the efficiency of nuclear reactors and reduce nuclear waste.

Dr. Andrew Green from St. Andrews University is researching the behaviour of electrons in solids at the quantum level. Modern technology is increasingly dependent on the quantum behaviour of matter on the smallest scale.

The competition for fellowships is intense. On average, each year four hundred and fifty applications are received for around twenty five career acceleration fellowship awards. Successful fellows have a strong publication record and are able to demonstrate independence from their supervisors. The new awards bring the total of EPSRC fellows to one hundred and thirty three.

Full details on the new EPSRC fellowships can be found at www.epsrc.ac.uk/funding