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The British Academy welcomes Leverhulme’s continued support for APEX Awards

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The APEX Awards have received a generous boost in research funding from the Leverhulme Trust, providing further support for the British Academy’s interdisciplinary research collaboration for an additional five years.

The APEX Awards are jointly delivered by The British Academy, The Royal Academy of Engineering and The Royal Society to support interdisciplinary and curiosity-driven research for the benefit of wider society.

A new round of funding launches in October 2019, providing up to £100,000 for established independent researchers to collaborate with partners from different disciplines across science, engineering, the humanities and social sciences.

Major objectives of the APEX Awards include facilitating outstanding research which is unlikely to be supported through conventional funding programmes and enhancing collaboration between science and engineering and the humanities and social sciences.

Researchers will also be able to apply for an additional £10,000 grant towards public engagement activities, encouraging them to involve the public in their work and reach a wider audience.

Professor Sir David Cannadine, President of the British Academy, welcomed the continued support for the APEX Awards. He said:

“We are indebted to the Leverhulme Trust and its spirited support for interdisciplinary research. With the support of forward-thinking programmes such as the APEX Awards, the humanities and social sciences and their counterparts in science and engineering now have an ever-increasing number of opportunities to work hand-in-hand, encouraging truly excellent research to reach further and have a more profound impact.”

Since launching in 2017, the APEX Awards have funded 14 interdisciplinary research projects across the UK. Researchers supported through this award are able to address complex challenges by investigating problems through different perspectives.

Professor Robert Field at the University of Oxford is researching the political implications and public reaction to using treated wastewater for human consumption in parts of the world currently facing water shortages. Implementing this new method of treating wastewater not only has the potential to readjust imbalances in water availability but it also has a reduced carbon footprint and capital cost compared to other water treatment methods.

Professor Kate Robson Brown at the University of Bristol is investigating the potential to manufacture materials which can adapt in response to stress in the same way in which human bones grow and strengthen over time. Findings from this research are being used in a pilot study with the NASA Ames Research Centre to deploy a structure which can be both manufactured and deployed in space.

Dr David Horsell at the University of Exeter is researching the structural properties of bumble bee hair and its potential applications as a metamaterial for building materials and electronics. The unique fern-like branching structure of bumble bee hair is thought to be able to actively control the bee’s body temperature depending on surrounding conditions. This same process could be harnessed to reduce energy wastage in various man-made materials.

Further details about the next round of APEX Awards will be announced soon and full scheme notes will be available when the scheme opens in October. For further information please contact APEX@royalsociety.org.