UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences


Funding boost for UKRI Future Leaders Fellows

8 December 2023

Five UCL academics, including Dr Hossein Heidari from the Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, are set to receive a major funding boost after being awarded UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships in recognition of the groundbreaking nature of their research.

Dr Hossein Heidari

Dr Hossein Heidari (UCL Institute for Materials Discovery), Dr Christina Anderson (UCL School of European Languages, Culture and Society), Dr Jonathan Fisher (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health), Dr Emily Kostas (UCL Biochemical Engineering) and Dr Lucy van Dorp (UCL Biosciences) are among 75 promising research professionals that will benefit from £101 million to tackle major global issues. 

UKRI’s flagship Future Leaders Fellowships programme allows universities and businesses to develop their most talented early career researchers and innovators, providing long-term support to enable fellows to tackle ambitious programmes or multidisciplinary questions, and new or emerging research and innovation areas and partnerships. 

UCL’s five selected researchers span a range of disciplines including infectious diseases, biosciences, immunology, bioengineering and European history. 

Dr Heidari began his application for the Future Leaders Fellowships programme while holding a position at Queen Mary University of London but joined the UCL Institute for Materials Discovery in November 2023. He is now one of three academics to lead the Advanced Materials Lab at the UCL East campus.

Dr Heidari has been awarded £1.7 million to fund SPARK 3D - an organ-manufacturing research project that will integrate bioprinting, biomodulation and imaging in a volumetric bioproduction system to produce large 3D tissues. His research will be alongside the Advanced High Throughput Materials Discovery Lab utilising novel robotics and AI for novel materials and the Advanced Sustainable Materials Lab.

He said: “I am honoured to have received the UKRI’s flagship Future Leaders Fellowship for SPARK 3D. The £1.7m award plays an instrumental role in the realisation of our organ-manufacturing 2040 vision at the Programmable Biomaterials Lab at UCL. We will endeavour to make breakthrough advancements in delivering the bright future we all envision for regenerative medicine. I would like to thank the UKRI and all academic and industrial partners for supporting a proposal of such impact and magnitude.”

UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said: “UKRI’s Future Leaders Fellowships provide researchers and innovators with long-term support and training, giving them the freedom to explore adventurous new ideas and to build dynamic careers that break down the boundaries between sectors and disciplines. 

“The fellows announced today illustrate how this scheme empowers talented researchers and innovators to build the diverse and connected research and innovation system we need to shorten the distance between discovery and prosperity across the UK.” 

Professor Geraint Rees (UCL Vice-Provost, Research, Innovation and Global Engagement) said: “I’d like to congratulate my outstanding colleagues who have received a major boost to their research from a highly competitive and prestigious programme. Universities play a vital role in delivering impact to societies and economies through research and innovation partnerships, and the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships funding will enable some of our world-leading academics to continue their vital work in real-world environments.” 



  • Dr Hossein Heidari 

Media contact

Tom Cramp

E: t.cramp@ucl.ac.uk