Research recognition for Leeds academics


Two Leeds researchers have received prestigious fellowships aimed at tackling major global challenges.

The Future Leaders Fellowships, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), were announced today by Science Minister George Freeman during a speech to industry leaders.

In total, 84 of the most promising science and research leaders in the country are part of this year’s £98 million programme to tackle major global issues and to commercialise their innovations in the UK.

At Leeds, Fellowships have been awarded to Dr Evangelos Pournaras, Associate Professor in the School Of Computing, and to Dr Richard Mandle, a Research Fellow in the School of Physics and Astronomy.

World’s best researchers

The fellowship scheme helps universities and businesses in the UK recruit, develop and retain the world’s best researchers and innovators to tackle major global issues and to commercialise their innovations in the UK.

The two academics take the total number of Future Leaders Fellowships at Leeds to 18.

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation said: “The Future Leaders Fellowships are UKRI’s flagship funding programme and consistently having academics recognised in this way is always a reflection of the incredible talent we have here at Leeds.

“Richard and Evangelos are working in crucial areas to deliver transformational research that is part of our commitment to address pressing global challenges and make a positive difference in the world.”

Building on the success of the £900 million invested in the first six rounds of Future Leaders Fellowship, UKRI has committed almost £100 million for this seventh round.

Researchers can apply for substantial long-term funding to support their research or innovation and develop their careers, with each fellowship lasting four to seven years.

Leeds' recipients

Dr Richard Mandle

Dr Richard Mandle leads the project: “A New Order of Liquids.” This builds on his recent discovery of a new phase of matter, and will deliver advanced materials which will underpin a range of emerging new technologies.

He said: “I’m delighted to have been awarded this prestigious Fellowship, and to have the long-term support of UKRI for this ambitious project.

“Already the molecules we are designing and synthesising here at Leeds are rewriting the rulebook of what is possible, and will enable the discoveries and technologies of tomorrow.”

Dr Evangelos Pournaras

Dr Evangelos Pournaras leads the project: “Digitally Assisted Collective Governance of Smart City Commons - ARTIO.” This innovative programme aims to create a new generation of trustworthy decision-support systems that will empower citizens within Smart Cities, to share resources in a more sustainable and democratic way.

He said: “I am thrilled to lead this interdisciplinary fellowship, to unravel human-machine collective intelligence within impactful domains such as smart transport and energy.

“I aspire to a digital (r)evolution in how citizens can scale coordinated actions to create direct impact on the prosperity of cities."

The Leeds projects are an important part of the government’s ambition to cement the UK’s status as a global leader in science, research and innovation.

UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said: “The Future Leaders Fellowships provide researchers and innovators with the freedom and generous long-term support to progress adventurous new ideas, and to move across disciplinary boundaries and between academia and industry.

“The fellows announced today provide shining examples of the talented researchers and innovators across every discipline attracted to pursue their ideas in universities and businesses throughout the UK, with the potential to deliver transformative research that can be felt across society and the economy.”

Further information

The official announcement for the new Future Leader Fellows is on the UKRI website

For further details, contact University of Leeds Media Relations Manager Ian Rosser by email on