An ocean odyssey and science prizes: News from Imperial

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Here's a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial.

From new funding to investigate the role of underwater organisms in storing carbon, to research that may contribute to energy efficient technologies, here is some quick-read news from across Imperial.

Ocean odyssey

Microscopic image of Sinking faecal pellets from krill.
Krill faecal pellets. Credit: Dr Emma Cavan

Dr Emma Cavan from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial is part of a team awarded £3m in funding by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) as part of its BIO-Carbon programme.  

The three-year project, PARTITRICS, will use shipboard observations and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) to assess how interactions between particles and organisms can shape the organic matter in the sea, in different depths, locations, and seasons.  

It is one of three projects funded in the scheme, which will collaborate on a simultaneous mission funded by the Future Marine Research Infrastructure (FMRI) programme. To coincide with a research ship expedition next spring, the National Oceanography Centre’s (NOC) famous Boaty McBoatface AUV will embark on a trip from the Iceland to UK, rendezvousing with the research ship en route.  

All three projects will generate new data on how ocean biology impacts the storage of carbon that will help to inform the next generation of ocean modelling through future stages of the BIO-Carbon programme. 

Adrian Martin, BIO-Carbon Champion from NERC, said: “With countries striving for net-zero carbon and debate ongoing over whether we can use the ocean to remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the need to understand how the ocean stores carbon has never been stronger and we know that marine life plays an important role. Together the projects will deliver fundamental insights into how ocean organisms will help it continue to store carbon as the climate changes.” 

PARTITRICS is led by Professor Stephanie Henson from the National Oceanography Centre and includes researchers from the University of East Anglia, British Antarctic Survey, University of Exeter and Imperial College London. 

Argentinian science prize 

Professionals smiling at the camera with an award
The Argentinian Science Prize award ceremony

Professor Stefan Maier has won the Leloir Prize 2023 in the natural sciences category from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in Argentina. The prize celebrates foreign scientists, researchers and technologists who have worked to strengthen the scientific and technological capabilities of Argentina. 

Professor Maier is the Lee Lucas Chair in the Department of Physics. His field of research is nanophotonics: the combination of light science and nanotechnology. He has a long history of collaborations with Argentina, which began with a sabbatical stay in 2013 at the University of Buenos Aires. 

He said: “It is a great honour to receive the Leloir Prize 2023. Ten years have passed since I began my collaborations and interactions with the scientific community of Argentina, during a sabbatical stay at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires. Since then, I have been fortunate to have been able to host several brilliant young scientists, who have since secured teaching positions in the UK, Germany and back home in Buenos Aires. 

“Together with teams from the University of Buenos Aires, the University of San Martín, and the Balseiro Institute of Bariloche, we are expanding the limits of light science at the nanoscale, in order to lay the foundations for new technologies that consume less energy. I look forward to continuing our joint adventures for years to come.” 

To see Professor Maier receiving the award, please watch this video (in Spanish).

Worshipful Company of Engineers

A stained window with logos on it
Credit: The Worshipful Company of Engineers

Dr Ali Yetisen from the Department of Chemical Engineering has been elevated to Livery in the Worshipful Company of Engineers.

Founded in 1983, the Worshipful Company of Engineers is a fellowship of leading engineers designed to enhance the future engineering wellbeing of the nation. 

Engineers elected to Livery support the profession, educate and train young engineers and contribute to philanthropy to support hardship throughout the world. 

Master of the Worshipful Company of Engineers, Raymond Joyce said: “I was exceptionally pleased to welcome Dr Ali Yetisen into the Livery of the Worshipful Company of Engineers, which strengthens the links with Imperial College London that many members of the Livery have as graduates and postgraduates.

“As a new Member of the Livery, Dr Yetisen will have opportunities to mentor young engineers and participate in the civic and ceremonial life of the City of London.”

Main article image credit: The Worshipful Company of Engineers.

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Hayley Dunning

Hayley Dunning
Communications Division

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Bryony Ravate

Bryony Ravate
Communications Division


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