University scoops double award for research in Science and Engineering

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Two Swansea University academics have scooped highly prestigious awards designed to recognise and facilitate the work of outstanding young research scholars, or practitioners of proven achievement, who have made and are continuing to make original and significant contributions to knowledge in their field of research expertise.

The Leverhulme Trust awarded Dr Siwan Davies a Philip Leverhulme prize in Geography, and Dr Antonio Gil a Philip Leverhulme prize in Engineering.

Dr Siwan Davies is a Reader in Physical Geography and has an international reputation in advancing the dating of rapid climatic changes. She exploits the innovative use of volcanic-ash layers to compare different geological records to assess leads and lags in the climate system. She has demonstrated that volcanic material is distributed over much larger geographical areas than previously thought and has uncovered evidence of unknown volcanic eruptions within the Greenland ice-cores. Dr Davies will employ this technique to address the profound challenges of dating the last 150,000 years with a particular emphasis on the rapid climatic changes that characterise this period.

Dr. Antonio J. Gil is a Senior Lecturer in the world-leading Civil and Computational Engineering Centre at Swansea University. He designs computer codes in order to simulate the underlying physics of engineering problems. These computer models help him to understand physical behaviours not easily reproduced through experiments and allow him to test lots of different ideas in order to optimise a solution. His current work includes the computer modelling of graphene nanomembranes used in biosensors, the hemodynamic performance of bioprosthetic heart valves and the optimum design of energy harvesting devices with the purpose of maximising the amount of energy that can be harnessed. With the support of The Leverhulme Prize, Dr. Gil and his group aim to push forward these highly active research areas whilst continuing to build upon and explore new real world applications of the research.

Thirty prizes were made in the following disciplines: Astronomy and Astrophysics; Economics; Engineering; Geography; Modern European Languages and Literature; and Performing and Visual Arts. It is expected that prize winners will normally have influenced their field sufficiently to have had an international impact. Each prize carries an award of £70,000. The Prizes commemorate the contribution to the work of the Trust made by Philip Leverhulme, the Third Viscount Leverhulme and grandson of the Founder.

Speaking of their achievements, Dr Davies commented:

“I’m absolutely delighted and thrilled to receive this prize. It’s a great honour and I’m very proud to be recognised in this way, but it’s important to realise that this award would not have been possible without the great team of colleagues that I have at Swansea and a wonderful group of international collaborators. At this stage of my career, having £70,000 will allow me to undertake some exciting research at the forefront of climate change.”

Dr Gil, delighted with his award also commented:

 “I am ecstatic to have received this highly prestigious award. We are doing some really exciting research and it is great to have it recognised in this way.”