Dr Helen Chadwick

The UK Research Institute (UKRI) has announced that 75 of the most promising research leaders will benefit from £101m to tackle major global issues and to commercialise their innovations in the UK.

UKRI’s flagship Future Leaders Fellowships allow universities and businesses to develop their most talented early career researchers and innovators and to attract new people to their organisations, including from overseas.

Among the future scientific leaders announced by the UKRI is Dr Helen Chadwick, a research officer in Swansea University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Dr Chadwick will spearhead an ambitious research initiative which will explore the interaction of gas phase hydrogen molecules with surfaces at a very fundamental level. Collisions of hydrogen with surfaces plays a pivotal role in many applications, from the formation of stars and the safe storage of rocket fuel, to hydrogen fuel cells and industrial catalysis, meaning there is great value in understanding these interactions at a molecular level.

Dr Chadwick's research has the aim of determining whether the reaction of a hydrogen molecule with a surface can be controlled just by changing how the molecule is rotating. Working in partnership with UK and international researchers, the project findings will provide new insights into the reaction mechanisms underpinning the gas-surface reaction and help develop predictive theoretical models of these important interactions.

On receiving her fellowship, Dr Chadwick said: “I am really excited to have been given a Future Leaders Fellowship which will allow me to establish an ambitious research programme and attract a team to deliver it. The Fellowship will enable me to further develop an experimental methodology which is unique to Swansea University to study the role that rotational motion has on the reactivity of gas phase molecules on surfaces for the first time. It will also allow me to undertake collaborative work with other research leaders within the UK and beyond.”

UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said: “UKRI’s Future Leaders Fellowships provide researchers and innovators with long-term support and training, giving them the freedom to explore adventurous new ideas, and to build dynamic careers that break down the boundaries between sectors and disciplines.

“The fellows announced today illustrate how this scheme empowers talented researchers and innovators to build the diverse and connected research and innovation system we need to shorten the distance between discovery and prosperity across the UK.”

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