FSE duo among Future Leaders Fellowship recipients

Drs Laura Wolz and Margherita Polacci of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) have been named among the recipients of the UK Research and Innovation's (UKRI) flagship Future Leaders Fellowships scheme.

The duo are joined by fellow University of Manchester researcher Dr Cristina Temenos of the Faculty of Humanities, and are among 97 of the UK's most promising science and research leaders being backed with a £113 million cash boost to help commercialise their innovations.

Dr Wolz is a Presidential Fellow at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, part of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and specialises in cosmology with radio surveys – particularly the mapping of the large-scale structure of the cosmic web via radio emission from cold gas in and around galaxies.

Her project title is 'Mapping the cosmic web with neutral hydrogen during the era of the Square Kilometre Array'. A key goal of cosmology is to understand the accelerated expansion of the Universe, believed to be driven by a force called Dark Energy. Mapping the distribution of galaxies throughout the Universe's lifetime can measure the expansion and help better understand the nature of Dark Energy.

In the past decade a new method called HI intensity mapping has emerged, which uses the radio emission of gas to trace the galaxy distribution. With the support of the UKRI Fellowship, Dr Wolz will prepare the upcoming HI intensity mapping observations by the Square Kilometre Array, the largest radio observatory ever built, and analyse its recent pathfinder data. These new radio surveys will allow for unique insights into the evolution of the Universe, inaccessible to optical telescopes.

She said: "I am incredibly excited and grateful to receive the Future Leaders Fellowship at such a critical time – both in terms of my career and the field of radio cosmology, where first large and high-quality data are now available."

I am delighted that UKRI is able to support the next generation of research and innovation leaders through our Future Leaders Fellowship programme.

The new Fellows will have the support and freedom they need to pursue their research and innovation ideas, delivering new knowledge and understanding and tackling some of the greatest challenges of our time.
Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, UKRI Chief Executive

Dr Polacci is a Senior Lecturer in Volcanology in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Her project is entitled: '4DVOLC: Magma storage and ascent in volcanic systems via time-resolved HPHT X-ray tomographic experiments and numerical modelling of eruption dynamics'.

She said: "I am very happy to be one of the new UKRI Future Leaders Fellows. For the next four years I will combine time-resolved HPHT X-ray microtomography experiments on magma kinetics, numerical modelling of magma ascent and natural observations to study magma storage, ascent and eruption dynamics.

"The outcome of the project will change our current understanding of volcanic processes and volcanic eruptions, and will put the UK into a cutting-edge position for the study and prediction of volcano system behaviour."

Congratulations to both, and the best of luck with their projects!

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