The search for life outside our solar system and stem cell therapy for retinal degeneration – just a sample of the breadth of research being undertaken by Royal Society University Research Fellows (URFs).

Over 170 URFs attended the first ever URF Research Conference at the Royal Society in February and the unique event was a showcase for their cutting-edge research, including over 60 speakers and poster exhibitors.

URF Conference, February 2012 

Summing up the range of research on display, Dr Martin Dominik, a URF at St Andrews commented: “Excellence comes in many flavours”.

Dr Maddy Parsons from Kings College London said: “The diversity of excellent science being supported by the Royal Society was accurately reflected in the presentations. I understood (nearly!) everything in every talk which is a real achievement on the part of the speakers given the complexity of subject areas covered. I certainly learned a lot, and have even established two new and exciting collaborations as a result of the meeting which was an unexpected bonus! For me there was no single highlight of the day; rather the event as a whole left me feeling extremely proud and honoured to be a part of such a fantastic Society and very much looking forward to the next URF Conference!”

The event represented an opportunity for URFs to meet and interact with their peers across many different fields, leading to possible collaborations and joint research. Dr Zita Martins from Imperial College works in the interdisciplinary field of Astrobiology: “The opportunity to talk about your work to such a large number of people is fantastic. My research in Astrobiology is very interdisciplinary and I collaborate with scientists from Chemistry, Geology and Physics. This conference has been an excellent opportunity to start more collaborations with other University Research Fellows.”

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