Research exploring the universe given £3m funding boost

Thursday, 13 February 2020

The University of Nottingham has been awarded two grants totalling £3 million to undertake new research into the early universe and the formation and evolution of galaxies.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council has awarded the School of Physics and Astronomy this significant funding for their research into some of the biggest questions in modern physics.

There are two research programmes that span a wide portfolio of projects including investigating the formation and evolution of galaxies across the history of the Universe, simulating the structure of the cosmic web with high performance supercomputers, understanding the physics of the early universe, developing approaches to solving the cosmological constant problem, and determining the nature of dark matter and dark energy which is driving the observed acceleration of the universe.  

Internationally leading research

Professor Ed Copeland is leading the particle cosmology project, which is in collaboration with the School of Mathematical Sciences. He said: “It is testament to the strength of research in Astronomy and Particle Cosmology here at Nottingham, that in such a difficult financial climate, in which other major universities faced cuts in their funding, Nottingham have been so successful in attracting this level of support. We continue to be very grateful to both the department and University as a whole, for the support offered to us.’

The award will fund the research of seven postdoctoral researchers over the grant period, as well as supporting the internationally leading research of the academic staff. A portion of the funding will also support the scientists in creating more videos for their award-winning public engagement project ‘Sixty Symbols’. The popular YouTube channel, created in collaboration with filmmaker Brady Haran, features short videos about topics in physics and astronomy. With over 750 000 subscribers and 84 million video views, the channel is a powerful platform that allows the presenters – all active researchers in the field – to bring their scientific research to a public audience in an accessible way. 

We look forward to tackling these exciting scientific questions, and to continue sharing our research with the public through Sixty Symbols.
Dr Meghan Gray, Principal Investigator on the Astronomy grant

Story credits

More information on the research is available from Ed Copeland on or Meghan Gray on

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Notes to editors:

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