LONDON: The 350-year-old Royal Society’s prestigious University Research Fellowships (URF) scheme, which supports exceptional young scientists, is to receive a £5.6 million (Rs 54 crore) funding boost from a group of Tata companies, including Tata Sons, Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is the president of Royal Society.
The funding will establish nine new Tata University Research Fellows in the physical sciences and engineering over the next ten years, with the first Royal Society Tata University Research Fellows due to be appointed in October 2016, a release on Wednesday said.
The fellowship scheme provides outstanding early career scientists, who have the potential to become leaders in their chosen fields, the statement from Royal Society and Tata Sons said.
The scheme, which is highly competitive, funds successful candidates for five years, with the option to apply for a further three years of funding.
URFs are expected to be strong candidates for permanent posts in universities at the end of their fellowships, and many have gone on to enjoy significant national or international recognition for their work.
The Tata funding will also establish an annual symposium, supporting networking opportunities for the Royal Society’s URF researchers and encouraging future collaborations that push back the boundaries of traditional research.
Ramakrishnan said: “We hope the Tata URF scheme will make a lasting impact on the physical sciences and engineering in the UK. We are especially thankful to Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, himself a Fellow of the Royal Society, for bringing Tata and the Royal Society together in this unique collaboration.”
Cyrus Mistry, chair man of Tata Sons, said, “The Tata Group has a rich heritage of collaboration with world-renowned academic institutions, including in the United Kingdom. The partnership with the Royal Society is in keeping with that tradition”.
“I am confident that the Royal Society Tata University Research Fellows will make an difference by contributing solutions to some of the most pressing challenges the world faces,” Mistry added.