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Barts Charity supports ‘Rising Stars’ of medical research with £6m grant

Barts Charity, who support pioneering medical research at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen Mary University of London, is granting £6 million to fund the ‘Rising Stars’ lectureship programme and support the growth of some of the world’s best young medical researchers.

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The new initiative is launching to help 16 promising young scientists take the next step in their careers.

Currently, Barts and The London is ranked 4th in the world for the quality of its research. With this programme, Barts Charity hopes to establish a new generation of researchers who will shape the next decade of research.

Fiona Miller Smith, Barts Charity Chief Executive, says: “Planning for the future of medical research is fundamental to the future of innovation in the London and the UK. We are proud to be able to contribute to this by supporting Barts and The London to grow its talent base by investing in Rising Star researchers.” 

The Rising Stars programme aims to repeat the success of a similar scheme Barts and The London ran in 2013. Then, it recruited 18 early career researchers, of whom 14 are still at the medical school and now in tenured positions. Those researchers have published dozens of research papers and have secured millions of pounds in additional funding.

It is unusual for so many young researchers to be taken on at the same time in this way. The benefit of this is that there is a ready-made cohort of peers, people who can provide not only a challenge to academic research ideas, but who can be a much-needed personal support at what can be a difficult time in a researcher’s career.

“Starting your own lab is tough. Overnight I went from focusing only on doing my science to writing grants, managing staff and juggling all of the other responsibilities that come with being a faculty member,” said Trevor Graham, who received one of the 2013 awards and is now a professor at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London.

“Having a good start-up package was a tremendous help: I could hire a team and fund their experiments, kick-starting our lab. But it was also invaluable to be part of a group of new lecturers all dealing with similar issues at the same time.  We have become valued colleagues and friends.”

Professor Mauro Perretti, Dean of Research at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, says: “We are very excited about this programme of recruitment generously supported by Barts Charity. Barts and The London is an excellent place to start a successful academic career.

“We foster talent and invest in our people, ensuring that their reach their full potential. We look forward to working with talented scientists to build the future of medical research, with the ultimate aim of delivering cutting edge science to improve healthcare outcomes for people in London, the nation and globally.”

The Rising Star lectureships are now being advertised across the world in the prestigious Nature magazine.

People can apply for the lectureships through the Queen Mary website

The closing date for applications is 27 February and they aim to appoint the successful candidates in the summer.

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