Applications now open for Summerhayes Fellowships

Funded through a generous donation from Clive and Pauline Summerhayes, the ten-year Summerhayes Fellowships programme will target early career researchers at Leeds.

Beech Grove Plaza in a sunny day.

Applications are now open for a new fellowship scheme to support the next generation of exceptionally talented academics to focus on tackling health inequalities and disease prevention.

The programme provides two-year long opportunities for those immediately post PhD – a known danger point in a researcher’s career and where institutions like Leeds can lose some of the brightest minds due to limited prospects being available.

Unique opportunities

Applications are now open for a selection of projects working alongside key established academics at Leeds in the Faculty of Biological Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine and Health. The projects are as follows:

  • Reducing the variability in colorectal cancer outcomes through understanding the molecular determinants that predict chemotherapy response – Professor David Jayne and Professor John Ladbury
  • Prototype development and evaluation of an affordable and wearable intelligent robotic knee device to support, monitor and evaluate rehabilitation therapy for the ageing population with knee osteoarthritis – Dr Aiqin Liu, Professor Philip Conaghan, Dr Sarah Kingsbury, Professor Shane Xie
  • Mapping the pathways to transformation and treatment in anal cancers – Professor Andrew Macdonald, Professor David Sebag-Montefiore, Dr Adel Samson
  • Neural Profiles for Addressing Inequalities in Childhood Support - Dr Faisal Mushtaq, Professor Mark Mon-Williams, Dr Ioannis Delis, Dr Michael Colman, Professor Adam Glaser
  • Physiological profiling and sex-based differences in chronic lung disease – Dr Oliver J. Price, Professor Karen Birch, Professor Daniel Peckham, Dr Ian Clifton
  • Determining the molecular mechanisms underpinning the beneficial effects of exercise on cardiometabolic health – Dr Lee Roberts, Dr Thomas Scott Bowen
  • Development of an exercise and functional restoration programme for chronic musculoskeletal pain in underserved communities to prevent multimorbidity and improve quality of life – Dr Manoj Sivan, Dr Sarah Astill
  • Developing novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for Hepatocellular Carcinoma – Professor Ade Whitehouse, Dr Adel Samson

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, said: “The Summerhayes Fellowships are a fantastic addition to our early career support, and will help to develop and retain the best talent at Leeds whilst also addressing big questions of relevance to human health.

“As 21st century lifestyles change, we see healthcare providers being faced with more complex challenges. For example, the epidemic of obesity is exacerbated by inactivity and poor diet, and is associated with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal problems and cancers.

“We are also seeing the impact of health inequalities, which have been brought into sharp focus during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Leeds, the number of people suffering from premature death due to cancer and cardiovascular disease differs substantially between the most deprived and most affluent areas.

“These Fellows will enable us to act urgently and tackle these global and local challenges, building on our already internationally recognised skills in exercise science, cardiovascular and diabetes research.”

Bespoke support plan

The Fellows will work on applied research projects linked to human health providing opportunities for early impact (within five years). They will be embedded within a collaborative cross disciplinary programme, unique to Leeds, featuring bespoke development and support for successful candidates, including:

  • Guidance from an interdisciplinary team of staff from both the Faculty of Biological Science and the Faculty of Medicine and Health who have experience in securing funding from key agencies;
  • Training on how to attract further independent, external Fellowships, and how to focus on impacting policy and translation of research for future clinical practice – thus creating a virtuous funding circle around new income streams.

Clive Summerhayes, a Leeds alumnus and former business leader, said: “The ability to create and nurture a pipeline of very talented researchers who are equipped to tackle some of our most significant health challenges is of great importance.

“I’m certainly keen that we retain our finest homegrown talent in Leeds; but also to enable greater working across research disciplines and a focus on the needs of patients around the globe. I am confident these Fellows will deliver life-changing results.”

Leading and driving global change

The Fellowships will be at the heart of the University’s current strategy, Universal Values, Global Change, 2020 to 2030, which focuses on an ambitious goal to tackle health inequalities and disease prevention at a local, national and international level. Underpinning this goal is a key aim to develop, support and retain the best researchers with the ability to cross traditional research boundaries.

Find out more and apply

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