Two scientists from the University of Bath have been awarded prestigious University Research Fellowships by The Royal Society.

The pair are among 44 researchers named as fellows across the UK and Ireland for 2016 who will take up their new posts in October.

Dr Matt Roberts from the Department of Mathematical Sciences uses mathematical structures that resemble family trees to investigate complex systems where the average behaviour is misleading. The techniques that he studies can be used to understand problems as diverse as disease epidemics, solid-state physics and telecommunications networks. The title of his fellowship is “Spatial dependence in branching structures”.

He said: "It's an honour to be awarded this fellowship from the Royal Society, and also really exciting to be able to concentrate on my research for the next five years. This will give me the chance to make progress on some fundamental mathematical questions."

Dr Alex Cresswell joins the Department of Chemistry in October from the University of Edinburgh and is interested in in developing and understanding new synthetic methods for organic chemical synthesis. His fellowship is titled “Better Than Boron? Silicon-Mediated Aromatic Functionalisation”.

He said: "It is an enormous privilege to have been granted this award, and I am grateful to the Department of Chemistry for allowing me to bring the fellowship to Bath. The research environment here is outstanding and diverse, with a strong esprit de corps, and I am greatly looking forward to meeting the students and commencing my independent research programme."

The University Research Fellowship scheme aims to provide outstanding early career 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 fellows are expected to be strong candidates for permanent posts in universities at the end of their fellowships, and many have gone on to enjoy significant national or international recognition for their work.