University of Bath academic receives prestigious fellowship to research solar energy

A University of Bath academic has been awarded a prestigious research fellowship from the Royal Society to develop new materials for more efficient and cost effective solar cells.

Dr Aron Walsh from the Department of Chemistry and the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies (CSCT) is one of only 40 academics across the UK to receive a University Research Fellowship from the Society this year.

The Royal Society, the UK's national academy of science, announced the appointment of the new University Research Fellows for 2011 today. The scientists started to take up their new posts at institutions across the UK in October.

Dr Walsh will use the fellowship to focus on a five-year project that will employ computer modelling to investigate a new class of materials for energy applications such as solar cells that convert sunlight to electricity.

He said: "I am honoured and delighted to receive this fellowship. It will allow me to focus on this research entirely and with the added support of a European Research Council starting grant I am able to build a research group to develop the techniques required to engineer novel functional materials."

The University Research Fellowship scheme aims to provide outstanding scientists, who have the potential to become leaders in their chosen fields, with the opportunity to build an independent research career. The scheme is extremely competitive and the fellows are expected to be strong candidates for permanent posts in universities at the end of their fellowships.

Professor Jane Millar, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Bath said: "My warmest congratulations to Dr Walsh. The Royal Society University Research Fellowships are highly competitive and it is a significant achievement to be recognised in this way. Aron was one of our first Whorrod Fellows, supported by philanthropic donation, and it is very pleasing to see how his research is flourishing here at Bath, working with colleagues in the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies."

Professor Matthew Davidson, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies added: "Since his recent appointment as a Whorrod Fellow, Aron has already made a huge impact on research and doctoral training in the CSCT. The award of a Royal Society URF is a huge further boost, both for Aron and for the CSCT. His colleagues in the Centre are delighted for him and are looking forward to the scientific advances that this Fellowship will give him the time and resources to pursue."

The newly appointed fellows are working on a wide variety of projects including new stem cell research; understanding exploding Supernovae; a study of neurodevelopmental disorders; and developing clean energy materials.

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