New Year's Resolutions 2017

Posted by Professor Philip Nelson on 04 January 2017
philip nelson

Professor Philip Nelson

2016 brought the first UK Robotics Week, the commitment of £60 million to establish six new research hubs and the launch of EPSRC's new Delivery Plan.

But what will 2017 bring?

From quantum biology and humanoid robots to new research hubs and the establishment of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), EPSRC's Chief Executive, Council Members and supported academics ranging from RISE Leaders to PhD students tell us what their resolutions for the New Year are.

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Our New Year's resolution is to ensure the smooth delivery of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) once the Higher Education and Research Bill has been approved through parliament. We are greatly looking forward to working with our new Chief Executive whose appointment is imminent.

Another priority, with one eye on the future of UKRI, will be the delivery of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund through a collaboration between all of the research councils and Innovate UK.

Professor Jim al-Khalili, EPSRC RISE Leader, Professor of Physics and Chair in Public Engagement in Science, University of Surrey

My ambition for 2017 is research related: to establish a centre for quantum biology at Surrey and to attract research grant funding in this exciting new field.

My resolution is to work on adding the final touches to my first novel, a sci-fi thriller, and to see it published in September.

Dr Jason Nurse, EPSRC Rising Star, Research Fellow in Computer Science, University of Oxford

Cyberspace is a world of great promise, but also, of great peril. At the centre of the problem are users, some of whom are perpetrators (eg hackers and cybercriminals) while others are victims of cyberattacks (in the home and in business).

My goal in 2017 is two-fold: to better understand cybercriminals and why they act as they do; and to appreciate the perspective of victims and how enhanced training approaches may help them to avoid online attacks.

Professor Lee Cronin, EPSRC RISE Leader, Regius Chair of Chemistry, University of Glasgow

My ambition is that in 2017 our interdisciplinary work combining robotics and digital chemistry will come together so that our 'chemical search engine' will boot up. This is very exciting since we will not only be able to search chemical space for new inorganic and organic molecules, or systems, but we will be aiming to discover molecular networks using machine learning and algorithms to see how 'creative' or 'novel' chemical space can be.

I'm dreaming that this approach might even lead to a new type of 'hybrid-computer' that starts on the road to combine chemistry with digital computing.

Professor Martyn Poliakoff, Research Professor of Chemistry, University of Nottingham

The UK is a great place to do science and engineering. I hope that, in 2017, I can contribute to conveying that message across the world.

Professors Ruth Cameron and Serena Best, EPSRC Established Career Fellows and Professors of Materials Science, University of Cambridge

Our New Year's ambition is to use our Fellowship to advance and disseminate our research on 3D scaffolds for optimised tissue regeneration.

Euan Allen, PhD student in Quantum Engineering, University of Bristol

Now entering my 2nd PhD year of research, my primary goal for 2017 is to get a (hopefully fantastic) set of results to put towards my first first-author paper.

In conjunction with this, I will continue my efforts to communicate my research to the wider public, hopefully being able to include these new results in the discussion.

Professor Jane Jiang, Professor of Precision Metrology, University of Huddersfield, and Director of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Advanced Metrology. The new research hub will drive the development of automated manufacturing technologies that deliver components and structures for demanding applications, particularly in the aerospace, transportation, construction and energy sectors.

In 2017, I'm looking forward to establishing our new EPSRC Future Advanced Metrology Hub, which will be the biggest, most challenging, and most exciting research project of my career.

I have such a strong team around me and we have built a consortium that I really believe will put the UK at the forefront of manufacturing metrology research and innovation in the coming years.

Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, Professor of Robotics, University of Edinburgh, and Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics

I am wishing for an 'out of this world' 2017 through massive strides in humanoid mobility and dexterous robotic manipulation capability with the UoE-NASA Valkyrie mission to Mars.

Watch out for us on BBC Stargazing Live this year!

Professor Richard Jones, EPSRC Council Member, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sheffield

Like many people, I begin with a rueful reflection on all the things I resolved to do last year, but didn't. I like to try to get to know an area of science outside my own field of polymer physics a little bit better, so this year I plan to work through some of David Mackay's textbook on inference and learning algorithms.

I've been thinking a lot about the relationship between science, innovation and economic growth; it's become increasingly clear that when scientists and economists talk about "innovation" they're not really talking about the same thing, and I'd like to help bridge that gap a bit. And, just like every year, outside work, I'd like to get a bit more rock climbing done when the evenings get lighter. We'll see if I'm more successful with that aspiration than I have in the past!

Professor Muffy Calder, EPSRC Council Member, Vice-Principal and Head of College of Science and Engineering, University of Glasgow

One of my main research resolutions is to finish a journal paper that encapsulates our major results on probabilistic formal analysis of app usage. That may have been brought together in one paper by Easter, and by then I should be working hard on another resolution, which is to make the first scientific advisory board meeting for my new programme grant (Science of Sensor System Software) a success. On a personal front, this is going to be the year when I learn to play Scottish fiddle. Finally, this is also going to be the year when I do something about those awful fluorescent strip lights in my office.  Any tips for lighting gratefully received.


In the following table, contact information relevant to the page. The first column is for visual reference only. Data is in the right column.

philip nelson

Professor Philip Nelson

Name: Professor Philip Nelson
Job title: Chief Executive
Organisation: EPSRC

Professor Nelson is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a Fellow of the Institute of Acoustics, and a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America. He is the recipient of both the Tyndall and Rayleigh Medals of the Institute of Acoustics, and served as President of the International Commission for Acoustics from 2004-2007. He is also currently serving as the Chair of the Sub-Panel for General Engineering in REF 2014.

Professor Nelson joined EPSRC as Chief Executive in April 2014 and took on the role of Chair of the RCUK Executive Group from October 2015.