Royal Society honour for Manchester scientist


The Royal Society – the UK’s national academy of science – has announced the appointment of 19 new Wolfson Research Merit Award holders, including Manchester’s Jonathan Lloyd.

Jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the scheme aims to provide universities with additional support to enable them to attract science talent from overseas and retain respected UK scientists of outstanding achievement and potential.

Professor Lloyd, from the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences and the University’s Dalton Nuclear Institute, is unlocking the biotechnological potential of the subsurface.

The subsurface is an uncharacterised frontier: unlocking its secrets using cutting edge technologies will give scientists the opportunity to understand some of the most exotic biochemistry found on Earth, while contributing to the sustainable use of a resource, the subsurface, which will be critical for humanity’s long-term survival on the planet. 

Professor Lloyd said: “It is a great honour to be appointed a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award holder.  My research focuses on the ‘unseen majority’ – the microorganisms that surround us and control the chemistry of our planet, but cannot be seen by the naked eye.

“In particular, I study microorganisms that live in the ground beneath our feet, from those that thrive in the first few inches of soils, to more exotic organisms residing at kilometre depths in underlying rocks and sediments.

“Recent work from our group, and others worldwide, is showing that buried within the ‘subsurface’ are a bewildering array of completely uncharacterised microorganisms that shape the planet that we live on.  They are responsible for the natural cycling of the elements of life, and potentially hold the key to sustainable human existence.”

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

The Wolfson Foundation is a grant-making charity established in 1955. Funding is given to support excellence. The Wolfson Foundation is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2015.