The three academics are among a cohort of researchers form across Europe to receive a share of €603 million

Rising stars of research at Exeter receive prestigious European Research Council funding

Three rising research stars at the University of Exeter have received a significant funding boost from the European Research Council (ERC), it has been announced.

Dr Bertram Daum, Dr David Phillips and Dr Muireann Maguire have all received five-year grants from the respected research council, through its ‘Starting Grants’ funding scheme.

They are among a cohort of researchers form across Europe to receive a share of €603 million, allocated by the ERC to talented early career researchers to fund their own research teams and pioneering projects.

Dr Phillips, a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow in the Physics and Astronomy department, has received almost €1.8 million for his research into complex photonics. The research will uncover how to control light that has been scrambled by passing through opaque media such as biological tissue.

This research will lead to the development of new imaging systems to peer into these environments, such as the human body, using only visible light.

“This grant gives me the freedom to study this exciting field in depth”, said Dr Phillips.

“It also gives me the opportunity to collaborate closely with the growing range of expertise in complex photonics at Exeter”.

Dr Daum, part of Exeter’s Living Systems Institute, received a grant for approximately €1.7 million to pioneer new research that will use the distinctive properties of a diverse group of microorganisms, called archaea, to engineer microscopic robots, dubbed ‘biohybrid microrobots’.

These microscopic “submarines” could be used for a variety of applications including in surgery, drug delivery (targeting drugs to specific areas in the body) and nanotechnology.

“This generous grant provides me with a fantastic opportunity to establish my own independent research group and to develop a unique and exciting scientific remit long-term", Dr Daum explained.

“The ERC gives scientists the unique opportunity to perform ‘blue-sky’ science, free of the constraints of industrial or commercial interests”.

Dr Maguire, a Senior Lecturer in Russian, received just over €1.3 million for her project The Dark Side of Translation: 20th and 21st Century Translation from Russian as a Political Phenomenon in the UK, Ireland, and the USA.

She aims to demonstrate the links between translation and national identity at key points over the last century. 

Speaking about her research Dr Maguire said: “I believe it's crucial to understand how the ever-changing political situation between Russia and the rest of the world affects the translation of Russian literature.

“This grant will give me and my co-researchers, including Ms Cathy McAteer (Bristol) as a PDRA, an extraordinary opportunity to produce a detailed and diachronic portrait of Russian-English translation networks in the Western world between the 1920s and present day”.

The projects have received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement Nos 804626 [Dave Phillips], 803894 [Bertram Daum] and 802437 [Muireann Maguire]).

Date: 27 July 2018

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