Mumbai: The Royal Society, UK, today (29 September 2016) announced the appointment of the first of nine Tata University Research Fellows (URFs) to its prestigious University Research Fellowship (URF) scheme. These appointments come as part of a joint partnership between Tata companies, including Tata Sons, Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and The Royal Society to fund the establishment of nine Tata University Research Fellows in the areas of physical sciences and engineering over a period of ten years.
The Tata Group in a statement said that the partnership will support the selected candidates in their respective area of research for a period of five years, with the option to apply for a further three years of funding. The partnership with The Royal Society is part of a global university collaboration programme of Tata companies aimed at supporting university faculty and students through funded research programmes, sabbaticals, fellowships, and engagements with university leadership, as well as studying long-term research outcomes related to key market needs.
The newly appointed research fellows, who will be working on a wide range of research areas, are:
Dr Alistair Boyer: a Ramsay Memorial Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow – will study Sulfonyl Triazoles, a next-generation building block for molecular complexity, to develop novel concepts with applications in areas such as disease treatment, future drug discovery, clean energy and green chemistry.
Dr Simon Horsley: a Research Fellow at the University of Exeter – will explore the use of complex coordinates to develop new optical and acoustic materials. His research will develop an improved way to understand how matter affects waves.
Dr Samuel Stranks: a recipient of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University, and a Marie Curie IOF Fellow based jointly at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Cambridge – will research inexpensive materials to make solar cells and LEDs. This will enable the development of low-cost, clean and scalable solutions to supply growing global electricity and lighting demand.
Commenting on the announcement, Dr Gopichand Katragadda, group chief technology officer, Tata Sons, said, “It is the Tata group’s vision to touch the lives of 25 percent of the world’s population. To accomplish this vision, we are engaging with the best research institutions around the world to enable sustainable market development in the regions we work and live. Our partnership with The Royal Society is part of this strategic outreach to academia, and through this collaboration, we aim to empower these young talented Tata University Research Fellows to achieve their full potential.”
Other leading academic institutions with which Tata companies have entered into a collaboration are Harvard University (in the areas of soft robotics, advanced materials, and sensor technologies), Yale University (in the areas of network sciences, consumer behaviour and microbiome) and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (in the area of advanced materials). The participating Tata companies, namely Tata Sons, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Tata Chemicals, Tata Communications, Tata Steel and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), have extended financial support of over $25 million across these four partnerships.