Meet our fellows

It's our vibrant and interdisciplinary research community that unlocks world-changing thought and technology. Meet the individuals behind the big ideas and learn more about their unique journeys.

Dr Marianna Loli (Marie Curie Research Fellow), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

I came to Surrey to begin an EU-funded research fellowship on 1 September 2020, at what was maybe the worst possible time for new beginnings, during the pandemic. As if this was not already intimidating enough, my plan was based on a significant shift of focus from geotechnical earthquake engineering, which I studied for my PhD, to flood hazard analysis for the assessment of risk and resilience of transport infrastructure. The project relied significantly on mobility for training and networking, really difficult due to travel restrictions. It looked like a disaster and would have been, had I not had the support of several people within the University of Surrey, who enabled me to undertake a major field reconnaissance mission in October 2020. This made possible the collection of valuable data leading to several publications and presentations in international conferences.

Two years after, I am glad to be able to tell a success story. This fellowship has brought me to the exact position where I wished to be when I was applying for it, and I would recommend the framework to anyone wishing to pursue a career change involving research and innovation.

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Dr Sacha Beniamine (Research Fellow), Department of Literature and Languages

Two years ago, I joined the Surrey Morphology Group (SMG) on a British Academy Newton International Fellowship (BA NIF). I am a researcher in linguistics, studying how systems of words (morphology) vary across languages (typology). My BA NIF project investigates how we can use computational approaches to compare these quantitatively. SMG is a leading group on morphological typology, and the best place where I could pursue this type of research.

Throughout the past two years, I have benefited from a very supportive group culture, excellent mentorship, various training opportunities, and most of all, engaging scientific conversations and synergies. I found that the University of Surrey provides extensive infrastructure for computational researchers and was delighted to witness outstanding collaboration between IT and researcher teams. I was recently awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, and I look forward to settling more durably at the University of Surrey.

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Dr Susan Hutton (Research Fellow), Department of Physics

Stag statue on Stag Hill campus

I am an Astrophysics Research Fellow in the Physics department at Surrey University. I was fortunate to have been offered a Daphne Jackson Fellowship and I started in June 2022. The Fellowship is unique as it offers professionals wishing to return to a research career the opportunity to balance an individually tailored retraining programme with a challenging research project in a suitably supportive environment.

Since my undergraduate degree I struggled to fulfil my research aspirations due to family commitments but on completing a part-time MSc in Astrophysics and then a PhD as a mature student, I was finally able to accomplish my lifelong goal, a career in research, thanks to the Fellowship and Surrey University.

The support I have received has given me the confidence to work autonomously on my research. We are a dynamic and growing department, and everyone is inspired to strive to reach their potential, but most of all it is inclusive and upholds the Surrey values and I'm proud to be a Fellow at the University.

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Prof Erich Round, Surrey Morphology Group

At the University of Surrey, I hold the position of British Academy Global Professor in linguistics. My host here is the Surrey Morphology Group (SMG), the world’s premier research group investigating the diversity of complex word structures (a.k.a. ‘morphology’) in the languages of the world. At SMG I lead a project which seeks new models of the evolutionary dynamics of complex morphology and champions the use of mathematical modelling in the study of language change.

Prior to Surrey, I have worked at Yale University, the University of Queensland and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. My British Academy professorial fellowship gives me the freedom to pursue an ambitious research project. I chose the Surrey Morphology Group as my host owing to its world-leading intellectual environment and concentration of expertise, and its renowned collegiality, collaboration and research success.

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Professor Melanie Bailey (EPSRC & Professorial Research Fellow), Department of Chemistry

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I was awarded an EPSRC Early Career Fellowship in 2018. My team are trying to push the boundaries of biological sample analysis, using accelerators and nanocapillaries! We are involved in a wide range of research problems - from tackling Covid-19 to understanding tuberculosis. Having a research fellowship has provided an amazing career opportunity, and I have recently been promoted to professor.

The fellowship has really allowed me to focus on research, and this has enabled me to start leading on larger initiatives, like establishing a Covid-19 biobank, setting up a new national facility for single cell omics and developing an analytical centre. I am really grateful for the opportunity that EPSRC has given me, but also the University of Surrey, for providing sufficient flexibility to allow me to focus my time on the research I am passionate about. Surrey is a great place to do this because it is friendly, supportive and inclusive. I have been able to work on my fellowship part time whilst bringing up my two children. Guildford is a very beautiful and safe part of the world to live in, and I would whole heartedly recommend it to anyone considering moving here. 

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