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Institute of Applied Data Science



Talented Early Career Researchers join Queen Mary on STFC-funded fellowships

29 April 2021

Dr Michèle Levi (left) and Dr Kirsty Duffy (right)
Dr Michèle Levi (left) and Dr Kirsty Duffy (right)

Dr Kirsty Duffy and Dr Michèle Levi have been awarded Ernest Rutherford Fellowships from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to establish their own innovative research programmes at Queen Mary University of London.

The prestigious fellowships are awarded to early career researchers with leadership potential in their chosen field. The five-year funding allows talented researchers without an academic position to conduct cutting-edge research that aims to answer some of the most fundamental questions in current science.

Dr Duffy's project seeks to study elusive particles, known as neutrinos, which could be incredibly important to the make-up of our Universe. As part of the project, Dr Duffy will look to measure different types of neutrino interactions in an experiment called MicroBooNE.

Commenting on the Fellowship, she said: "The STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship will allow me to bring my research back to the UK (from Fermilab, just outside Chicago). I'll build a new research group working on MicroBooNE at Queen Mary and work with other researchers there and across the UK to build a readout system for some of the new DUNE detectors."

Through her programme, Dr Levi will aim to improve our understanding of gravity, delivering analytical high-precision predictions for the real-world data being collected from a rapidly growing worldwide network of gravitational-wave detectors. Dr Levi said: "The STFC ERF award will enable me to transfer my cutting-edge research to the UK, and make the UK a world-leading force in the timely domain of gravitational waves with the most innovative theoretical approaches to gravity."

On the fellowships, Science Minister Amanda Solloway, said: "In a year which has shown the life-saving importance of science as we tackle COVID-19, we must capitalise on this innovative spirit and equip our most ambitious early career scientists with the tools they need to become the next generation of leaders in their field.

"From understanding dark matter to exploring the habitability of the Solar System, these inspiring fellows we are backing today will help us to solve crucial unanswered questions about the Universe, all while cementing the UK's status as a science superpower."

Dr Levi was also recognised as this year's top fellow, after ranking as number one amongst all applicants in the 2020/21 round.