RSE invests £1.8m in future of research

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) has announced £1,805,000 in grants, funded by the Scottish Government, through the RSE Saltire Research Awards.

With a focus on the next generation of researchers, many awards will be received by ‘early career researchers’ (an individual who is within seven years of the award of their PhD or equivalent professional training), which will bring fresh ideas and new perspectives into the established research arena.

With funding granted averaging £19,000, awardees have been selected from a range of sectors including science, art, humanities, social science and a proportion with a multidisciplinary focus. The research projects also span across a number of countries, supporting Scotland-Europe research collaboration.

Marielle Péré from The University of Edinburgh is one of the 19 PhD students to receive an RSE Saltire Early Career Fellowship. Her work on developing artificial intelligence prediction methods will help combat a central challenge in the fight against chemotherapy resistant cancers. The ability to predict resistance is a missing step in precision cancer diagnosis and treatment. Using a data-driven approach her research will draw on machine learning and modelling methods to contribute to increasing our predictive power when shaping cancer treatments.

James Garcia Iglesias is one of 25 early career researchers to receive an RSE Saltire Early Career Fellowship. His research will be carried out at The University of Edinburgh and in collaboration with the Department of English, French and German in the University of Oviedo in Spain. His research project will examine the way gay men use anonymous online platforms as a creative way to discuss sexual health and HIV. By analysing their use, he hopes to understand the role these spaces play in how the men negotiate, reflect, and share experiences. This research will help inform the ways public health information is shared and create better understanding of men’s sexual health issues.

Professor Charles W. J. Withers FBA FRSE FAcSS, Research Awards Convener, Royal Society of Edinburgh, said: “Collaboration across institutions, sectors, and geographical borders, is the bedrock of high quality and impactful research. It is highly encouraging to see the diverse range of topics that the RSE Saltire Awards programme is facilitating and the number of collaborations between Scottish and EU-based researchers that are being nurtured. From artificial intelligence prediction to overcoming chemotherapy resistance in cancer to beyond 5G wireless connectivity, this research can deliver significant benefits both in Scotland and further afield. Huge congratulations to all awardees.

“Each of the 93 research projects are exceptional and we are proud to support with funding. The findings from these studies could provide key information across a range of sectors, leading to pivotal changes both in the UK and internationally.”

In addition, the funding awarded has a strong international element with more than 20 countries represented across funded collaborations. The effort helps to maintain the strong exchange of knowledge between Scotland and Europe, with that aim central to the Saltire International Collaboration Award. The collaborations with other countries include Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France and Germany.

Welcoming the funding, Jamie Hepburn, minister for higher education and further education, said: “The scope and quality of the successful projects is truly inspiring. These awards will support early career researchers and provide networking opportunities across all career stages at a time options have been limited. Assisting Scottish and other European researchers to build their partnerships and strengthen their collaboration across all disciplines and will facilitate access to future funding through prestigious programmes such as Horizon Europe.”

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