EPSRC names University of Leicester Professor Rodrigo Quian Quiroga amongst UK’s most inspirational scientists and engineers

RISE Awards announced by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Leicester, UK,  3-4-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — Ten of the UK’s most inspirational scientists and engineers have been recognised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The Council has announced the ten RISE Leaders for 2014 – including a Professor from the University of Leicester.

The campaign, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, was launched by the Science Minister, David Willetts in November 2013 to mark the 20th anniversary of EPSRC.

It celebrates achievements of the 10 as innovators in engineering and physical sciences research. Their contribution to science covers a broad range of disciplines and highlights the diversity and impact of the engineering and physical sciences.

Rodrigo Quian Quiroga of the University of Leicester  is amongst those selected for the prestigious award.

He said: “I am truly honoured to have been selected as one of the 10 RISE leaders of science and engineering. This is not only a main achievement in my personal scientific career, but also an opportunity to further disseminate the excellent research environment at the University of Leicester, and particularly at the Centre for Systems Neuroscience.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Robert Burgess added:  “I am delighted to congratulate Rodrigo Quian Quiroga on being selected as one of ten national innovators.  It is a splendid achievement for him and for the University.”

Rodrigo Quian Quiroga  holds a Research Chair at the University of Leicester, UK. He is the director of the Centre for Systems Neuroscience and the Head of Bioengineering at the University of Leicester.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts 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.”

An independent panel comprising of Philip Greenish, Imran Khan, Dr Sarah Main, Professor Sir Richard Brook, Professor Harold Poor and chaired by Professor David Delpy, selected the leaders from nominations put forward by over 30 universities, industries and learned societies. They assessed leadership, engagement, influence and impact.

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

In addition to the RISE leaders, the nominees who are Fellows of the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering and the Academy of Medical Sciences are being celebrated as RISE Renowned Fellows. They will attend a dinner at the Cheltenham Science Festival, hosted by the incoming CEO of EPSRC, Professor Philip Nelson.

Chair of the panel and CEO of EPSRC, Professor David Delpy, said:  “One of the best aspects of my job at EPSRC has been the chance to meet and speak directly to some of the most exciting, innovative and enthusiastic scientists and engineers in the UK. This campaign gives us the chance to recognise these outstanding individuals, but also to let others get to know them and the great research that they are doing.”

The RISE leaders will now be paired with individuals from government, business or media to communicate the importance and impact of their research, helping their partners to become champions for science.

They will also nominate researchers who are the ‘Rising Stars’, tipped to lead internationally excellent research in the future, and who will go through to the final RISE award ceremony taking place on 10th June 2014 at the House of Commons.

The RISE leaders, their champions and the Rising Stars will join together to celebrate inspiration and innovation within engineering and physical sciences with prizes awarded to the top three Rising Stars.

Philip Greenish, CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering commented: “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.

Read the EPSRC press release on the RISE leaders.

Notes to editors

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. www.epsrc.ac.uk

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.

Engineering for Growth (EfG) 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. You can find more information here: http://engineeringforgrowth.org.uk/

Rodrigo Quian Quiroga
Rodrigo Quian Quiroga  holds a Research Chair at the University of Leicester, UK. He is the director of the Centre for Systems Neuroscience and the Head of Bioengineering at the Department of Engineering. He graduated in Physics at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and obtained his PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of Luebeck, Germany. Before joining the University of Leicester in 2004, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Research Center Juelich, Germany, a Sloan fellow at the California Institute of Technology, USA and had short stays at RIKEN, Japan and the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands. He is a visiting professor at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste, Italy, and has held visiting positions at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology in Magdeburg, the University of California Los Angeles, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Buenos Aires, and CONICET. He obtained a young investigator award by the American Epilepsy Society, a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award and was selected as one of the 10 UK research leaders in Science and Engineering.

His main research interest is on the study of the principles of visual perception and memory. He discovered what has been named “Concept cells” or “Jennifer Aniston neurons”—neurons in the human brain that play a key role in memory formation— a finding that was selected as one of the top 100 scientific stories of 2005 by Discover Magazine. His work has been published in about 100 research articles and has received world-wide media attention, including articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Scientific American, Daily Mail, New Scientist, The Independent, etc. He is the author of 3 books, including “Borges and memory”, linking the thoughts of Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges with memory research in Neuroscience.

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