RESEARCHERS in cancer and dementia have been included in a group of 101 of the “most promising” UK researchers.

Dr Joanna Birch at the University of Glasgow is working to develop new therapeutic treatments for three cancers - glioblastoma, colorectal and pancreatic – and aims to reduce unwanted side effects from radiotherapy.

Dr Jennifer MacRitchie, originally from Glasgow but researching with the University of Sheffield, will lead a study looking to combine technology and easy-to-use musical instruments to improve the mental, physical and emotional well-being of people with dementia.

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They will benefit from a share of £109 million of UK Government funding to be shared amongst researchers across the UK to help “turn novel science innovations into a reality”.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the investment in a range of projects would back “blue sky” solutions for global issues such as climate change, food supply and dementia treatment.

The funding will go to the latest beneficiaries of the Future Leaders Fellowships initiative, to which the Government has committed more than £900m over three years.

Delivered through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the money aims to support the country’s “most promising future science leaders” by helping to buy equipment or fund wages.

Science minister Amanda Solloway is due to announce the most recent wave of successful fellows at the Future Leaders Fellowships conference today.

She said the Government was committed to supporting “science superstars”, adding: “By backing these inspirational Future Leaders Fellows, we will ensure that their brilliant ideas can be transferred straight from the lab into vital everyday products and services that will help to change all our lives for the better.”

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UK Research and Innovation chief executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said: “The fellows announced today illustrate how the UK continues to support and attract talented researchers and innovators across every discipline to our universities and businesses, with the potential to deliver change that can be felt across society and the economy.”

The Future Leaders Fellowships scheme aims to recognise up to 550 individuals, with each fellowship lasting four to seven years. Awardees receive between £400,000 and £1.5m over an initial four-year period.

BEIS said that the funding for the fellows forms part of the Government’s commitment to increase public spending in research and development (R&D) by £22 billion by 2024/25, with the aim of having 2.4% of UK GDP spent on R&D across the economy by 2027.