Applications invited for Africa projects grant scheme

10 February 2016

The Institute is awarding grants for IOP members and others to help to support STEM development in Africa, thanks to a donation from award-winning physicist Sir Tejinder Virdee.

Professor Sir Tejinder Virdee

The grants are available to enable members of the physics community in the UK or Ireland to undertake activities that will support the development of science and technology in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Virdee Grants will ideally go towards kick-starting new initiatives, but can also be used as travel awards, for buying equipment, software or materials, to pay for services for existing work, or, in exceptional cases, as top-up funding to enable a project to go ahead.

The IOP is particularly interested in new projects or activities and preference will be given to applications from IOP members. Proposals can come from an individual, a group or a consortium, but must be submitted by a lead applicant.

Examples of projects that might be funded include field trials of theoretical or experimental ideas aimed at improving quality of life; developing innovative physics teaching ideas or resources in partnership with a school, university or teacher training college in Africa; collaborative physics-based research contributing to a PhD or postdoc research project at an institution in the region; or skills training for physics-based postgraduate students there.

Sir Tejinder, who is professor of physics at Imperial College London, was born in Kenya and came to the UK as a teenager in 1967. After completing a degree in physics at Queen Mary University of London and a PhD at Imperial he joined CERN in 1979, where he has played a central role in planning the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, for which he was deputy project leader in 1993–2007 and project leader in 2007–10.

He has received the IOP’s Chadwick Medal and Glazebrook Medal, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2012 and was knighted in 2014.

The IOP’s head of international, Tajinder Panesor, said: “Thanks to a generous donation provided by Sir Tejinder, this grant programme supplements our portfolio of activity supporting scientific capacity building in sub-Saharan Africa, where we are looking to create lasting change.”