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A pioneering scientist at Heriot-Watt University has been awarded £1.3 million to fund research into developing technologies.

 

Professor Brian Gerardot, who leads the Quantum Photonics Laboratory at Heriot-Watt, has  been named by the Royal Academy of Engineering as a Chair in Emerging Technologies.  

 

He is one of 10 engineering global-visionaries who have been selected by the Academy for the honour.

 

With this prestigious Award, our research team will be able to continue its investigation into the fundamental properties of two-dimensional crystals and how to exploit their unique and sometimes exotic behaviour for future photonic technologies

Professor Brian Geradot

Professor Gerardot was recognised for his work on the quantum properties of atomically thin crystals and his vision to create hybrid photonic chips with these materials. This has the potential to revolutionise the way light is generated and how information is processed and transmitted.

 

The £1.3 million award will allow Professor Gerardot to investigate the physical properties of two-dimensional crystals, more commonly referred to as ‘beyond graphene’.

 

He is one of 10 engineering global-visionaries whose have been selection by the Academy is based on the potential of their research to develop technologies that will enhance the UK’s global competitiveness.

 

Commenting on the award, Professor Gerardot said: “It’s a great honour to have been selected by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

 

“With this prestigious Award, our research team will be able to continue its investigation into the fundamental properties of two-dimensional crystals and how to exploit their unique and sometimes exotic behaviour for future photonic technologies.”

 

Professor Garry Pender, Deputy Principal Research and Innovation, said: “I am delighted that Brian has been selected for this award. It is testament to the excellence of Brian’s research and will strengthen the university’s reputation for undertaking world leading research of practical value.”

 

The group of 10 newly named Chairs will focus on developing technologies that have the potential to bring significant economic and societal benefits to the UK. This covers a wide-range of areas from everything from the development of bioelectronic therapies for damaged central nervous systems to improved safety in robotics and AI.

 

Supported by the UK government’s National Productivity Investment Fund, the Academy is committing £1.3 million to each of the ten-year programmes.

 

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “Emerging technologies offer enormous opportunities for the UK, both economically and socially, but often their potential is not widely recognised until it is championed by a visionary individual. The ten researchers who have been appointed as Chairs in Emerging Technologies are global leaders in their fields, seeking to transform their pioneering ideas into fully commercialised technologies with important and widespread applications.

 

“The UK has a rich history of championing disruptive technologies – from the development of the steam engine to the invention of optical fibre communications. Early stage technologies offer enormous potential for the UK to continue this legacy and it’s vital that we invest in both the technology, and the people behind it, to remain competitive in the global marketplace.”

 

As part of their appointment, the Chairs will develop Centres of Excellence in their areas of emerging technology, building and maintaining contacts with industry and other partners to accelerate commercialisation.