Funding success for Loughborough University London early career academics

Over the summer, three successful competitive funding awards were announced for early career academics at Loughborough University London.

Dr Varuna de Silva from the Institute for Digital Technologies was awarded an EPSRC New Investigator Award. This is only the fifth EPSRC New Investigator Award to have been received by a Loughborough University academic since its launch in July 2017.

Dr de Silva will receive £258,875 for his two-year project called MIMIc: Multimodal Imitation Learning in MultI-Agent Environments. The project will be undertaken in partnership with Chelsea Football Club Academy. Using Artificial Intelligence, the project will answer "what-if" questions related to game play in football, assisting coaching staff to visualize speculative game strategies, and as a computational benchmark to quantify the cognitive skills of football players.

Two pilot projects have also been awarded funding from the BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants 2019, a highly competitive funding scheme with only an average success rate of 15%.

Dr Ling Zhang from the Institute for International Management was awarded circa £10,000 for her 17 month project called Gender and identity in a turbulent space and time: A social network study of diplomats and diplomatic spouses. In collaboration with a partner from Uppsala University in Sweden, Dr Zhang will investigate how an extreme form of transnational employment – that is, diplomatic assignments – impacts on gender and identity from a social network perspective.

Dr Steve Swanson from the Institute for Sport Business was awarded £10,000 for his 14 month project called The Impact of Foreign Ownership on Community and Club Identity: A Case Study of Leyton Orient FC. In collaboration with the Institute for Sport Business’ Professor James Skinner and Professor Aaron Smith, Dr Swanson will investigate the impact of foreign ownership on football communities in the UK. The idea is that this case study of Leyton Orient FC, which has experienced two recent foreign owners, will serve as a pilot and set the groundwork for a larger, more comprehensive study in the future.

Speaking about this summer of success, Professor Jo Tacchi, Associate Dean for Research said:

“We have a talented group of academics at Loughborough University London and these three projects serve to showcase just some of the interesting spread of disciplinary expertise, partnerships and applications that colleagues are engaged in. We can celebrate this success in the certain knowledge that these three academics, who are still in the early stages of their academic careers, will use the opportunity research funding presents to develop excellent and impactful research.”

Professor Tony Edwards, Dean for Loughborough University London added:

“I am delighted at these successes. Research within Loughborough University London is thriving and the commitment of funding from outside bodies to the ideas of our colleagues is just the latest indication of this.”

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2020, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 8th in The UK Complete University Guide 2020.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Specialising exclusively in postgraduate-level study, Loughborough University London is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers cutting-edge master’s and PhD degrees, as well as business collaboration, research and enterprise opportunities.

The seven specialist institutes at Loughborough University London include: Design Innovation, Digital Technologies, Diplomacy and International Governance, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Management, Media and Creative Industries, and Sport Business. Close industry partnerships with a wealth of leading businesses and creative organisations means teaching and learning is informed by real-life challenges and driven by true industry pressures.