Two Academy researchers have today been recognised as RISE Leaders by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for inspirational leadership and their achievements in research and innovation.

They are joined by eight other RISE Leaders, each of whom will be paired with an influential figure from the political, media or industrial world to become champions and advocates of science. Leaders will also nominate the Rising Stars of science and engineering, researchers on a steady course to become the leaders of the future.

RISE is part of the Engineering for Growth campaign, which is raising awareness and debate on the contribution of engineering to the UK economy and society.

The two Academy RISE Leaders are:

Professor Rachel Williams, Royal Academy of Engineering Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool. Professor Williams is developing materials that are designed to support or replace tissue in the human body (biomaterials). For example, biomaterials that could be implanted under the retina of the eye to repair the damage caused by disease or ageing.

Professor Jeremy O'Brien, Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in Emerging Technologies at the University of Bristol. Professor O'Brien's is the Director of the Centre for Quantum Photonics, which focuses on the fundamental and applied quantum mechanics at the heart of quantum information science and technology.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts MP said: "It's important to celebrate and champion our leading scientists and engineers who are vital to both society and our economy. Their research has a real impact across a range of sectors from manufacturing to financial services. The RISE leaders announced today will help to inspire and encourage others, keeping us ahead in the global science race."

Philip Greenish, CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering said: "The RISE awards are a unique opportunity to recognise established and future research leaders in engineering and the physical sciences.

"RISE is part of the Engineering for Growth campaign which aims to bring engineering to the heart of society; celebrating the contribution of inspiring researchers to growth and innovation is a great way to help create a connection between engineering and daily life."

Follow the journey of the Leaders, Champions and Rising Stars on the RISE pages of the EPSRC website.

In addition to the RISE leaders, the nominees who are Fellows of the National Academies are being celebrated as RISE Renowned Fellows.

RISE Leaders, Fellows and Rising Stars will be recognised in an official ceremony at the House of Commons on June 10th

Notes for editors

1. Rise Leaders

RISE Leaders


Professor Jim Al-Khalili

University of Surrey

Professor Sadie Creese

University of Oxford

Professor Leroy (Lee) Cronin

University of Glasgow

Professor Harald Haas

University of Edinburgh

Professor Stephen Haake

Sheffield Hallam University

Professor Jenny Nelson

Imperial College London

Professor Jeremy O'Brien

University of Bristol

Professor Rodrigo Quian Quiroga

University of Leicester

Professor Kevin Shakesheff

University of Nottingham

Professor Rachel Williams

University of Liverpool

2. Rise Renowned Fellows

RISE Fellows


Professor Polina Bayvel FREng


Professor Nigel Brandon OBE FREng

Imperial College London

Professor Richard Catlow FRS


Professor Dame Athene Donald DBE FRS

University of Cambridge

Professor Peter Edwards FRS

University of Oxford

Professor Robin Grimes FREng

Imperial College London

Professor Dame Wendy Hall DBE FREng FRS

University of Southampton

Professor Robert MacKay FRS

University of Warwick

Professor Anne Neville FREng FRSE

University of Leeds

Professor David Parker FRS

University of Durham

Sir David Payne CBE FREng FRS

University of Southampton

Professor Sir John Pendry FRS

Imperial College London

Professor Gareth Roberts FRS

University of Warwick

Professor Peter Sadler FRS FRSE

University of Warwick

Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt FREng

University of Southampton

Professor Andrew Sherry FREng

University of Manchester

Professor Maurice Skolnick FRS

University of Sheffield

Professor Lionel Tarassenko CBE FREng

University of Oxford

Professor Richard Williams OBE FREng

University of Birmingham

3. Engineering for Growth is a partner campaign, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, that brings together prominent organisations and individuals in order to demonstrate the contribution of engineering to economic growth and the quality of life.

Engineering for Growth website

4. Royal Academy of Engineering As the UK's national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering.

We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK's role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK's world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook.

We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.

5. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

EPSRC website

For more information please contact:

Giorgio De Faveri at the Royal Academy of Engineering 
Tel: 020 7766 0655
Email: Giorgio De Faveri

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