NPL announces unique Fellowships programme to support the world’s leading scientists beyond funding cycles

LONDON 21 June 2018 – The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the UK’s National Measurement Institute, has today announced a new unique programme of Measurement Fellowships, funded by the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. These aim to attract experienced scientists from all over the world and enable them to pursue career-long research at a world-class organisation. Unlike other fellowships, NPL’s Measurement Fellowships will invest in promising research for the long-term, giving candidates the opportunity to tackle major challenges in data sciences at the interface with other NPL sectors such as advanced manufacturing, digital, energy and environment and life sciences and health.


The first of the Measurement Fellowships seeks leading data scientists, and will give them the opportunity to work on cutting-edge research programmes around data quality, provenance, traceability and uncertainty, supported by the infrastructure of one of the world's leading centres for measurement science.

The programme aims to establish a centre of excellence in data quality and data provenance and comes as a timely response to Prime Minister Theresa May’s challenge to the UK’s AI sector – to direct their attention to the diagnosis of diseases like cancer, heart disease and dementia; a shift with the potential to save thousands of lives.

Home to the researchers behind radar, the atomic clock and packet switching – historical technologies that have shaped modern society – and at the heart of new technological development, NPL offers an environment in which ideas can flourish. In fact, Alan Turing’s time at NPL was instrumental to the design and eventual construction of the ACE computer, the first universal computer of its kind and placed the UK as one of the world leaders in early computing development.
The multi-disciplinary nature of NPL’s work, and breadth of world-class facilities make it a unique place to conduct research. This programme is an extension of its investment in the skills needed to drive research and development and subsequently improve quality of life and economic growth in the UK.


Dr JT Janssen, Director of Research at NPL says:

“These are fellowships, but not as you know them. At NPL, we believe that the only way to tackle global challenges is to invest in the brightest minds for the long term. Many of our Fellows in the past have gone on to deliver some of the most promising and successful areas of research.


So we’re re-writing the fellowship rule book by giving leading researchers the freedom to pursue research with longevity that goes beyond funding cycles. By doing this, and equipping them with world class facilities, we will enable them to deliver research that offers real impact. This programme is helping to identify the leaders in research that will inject vital expertise into the UK’s economy and shape our world for the future.”

Fellows will be hired as full-time employees and, for research which shows promise, NPL will continue to invest. This will give researchers long-term career opportunities, and ensure that research meets its full potential and can continue to tackle global challenges in the long-term. Successful candidates will also have the opportunity to work on and bid for a wide portfolio of research, grants and commercially-funded projects.

The Fellowships tie into NPL’s overall growth strategy, which is investing in new areas of excellent science, with an aim to: grow collaborative research and development, provide opportunities for international business development, and to position the UK as a significant player in developing international measurement standards.

The first round of the NPL Fellowships Programme is open until 15 August 2018. It’s open to pre and post-doctoral data scientists and engineers across the globe that are interested in leading and shaping research programmes (with the opportunity to relocate their existing group). The Fellowship provides a salary, fellowship supplement and research expenses for three years, but with the option for this to be ongoing for the lifetime of the project.

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The programme will be expanded in the future to attract leading researchers across the areas that offer the most impact to UK prosperity and quality of life: advanced manufacturing, digital, energy and environment and life sciences and health. The Fellowships also forms part of a wider drive to find the talented people needed to bring a better future closer. NPL is investing heavily in securing and developing new skills across these areas, with over 100 research vacancies.