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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology


Former CEB researcher Dr Christopher Ness has been awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) Research Fellowship to continue his work on soft matter engineering at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Ness was an undergraduate in our department between 2008 and 2011, before moving to Edinburgh in 2012 to undertake a PhD in modelling of suspension rheology. In 2016 he was awarded the Maudslay-Butler Research Fellowship at Pembroke College, and since then he has worked as an independent researcher here at CEB, collaborating with other groups in the Department, as well as at the Department of Physics and Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, and nationally and internationally. The move back to Edinburgh, supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship, will allow Dr Ness to establish his own group and continue making progress in areas of interest including the role of contact forces in suspension rheology, modelling of functionalised emulsions and gels, and phase transitions in granular matter.

Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowships support early-career researchers to establish successful research careers and become future research leaders in their fields. The scheme provides funding for five years to allow awardees the freedom to concentrate on basic research in any field of engineering and establish a track record in the field. Funding for the Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowships is provided by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Engineering for Development Research Fellowships through the government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

In his time here Dr Ness has made important contributions to suspension rheology, fostering new collaborations with theoretical and experimental groups, and making a strong contribution to the research profile of the Department. He has also made an impact more widely in Cambridge, publishing articles with co-workers at the Cavendish Laboratory and the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. He gave a series of lectures on 'Rheology & Processing’ as part of our 4th year undergraduate course, delivering small group supervisions to the whole class and setting and marking the associated examination. He also supervised experimental research projects as part of our MEng and MPhil courses. He was an active member of the Posdoc Committee at CEB and the Organising Committee of the annual department conference “CEB Research Day” in 2017.  

“This award is a great next step in my career as an independent researcher," said Dr Ness. "Its length and value mean I can scale-up my ongoing research and develop my leadership skills by establishing a group of postgraduate students and postdocs. From a scientific point of view, this award will give me the opportunity to tackle the many outstanding engineering challenges associated with suspension flow.” 

Current Head of Department Professor Lisa Hall congratulated Chris on behalf of CEB: "This is a real achievement; the competition is fierce!. We wish Chris all the very best for establishing his group in Edinburgh."

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