Travel Grants for Young Scientists

The SWCF is no longer accepting applications for travel grants.

The SWCF provided financial support for young scientists wishing to attend scientific conferences in research areas which were of particular interest to Simon Wolff. It is essential for scientists to meet and exchange ideas with fellow workers from around the world, but it is often very difficult, especially for younger scientists, to obtain funding to make these trips possible. Feedback from initial recipients of these awards stresses how valuable attendance at these conferences has been to the scientists concerned.

Below are a few of the reports from young scientists who were helped by the Foundation.  The later reports are to be found as blog entries.

With the aid of a grant from the SWCF, Athanasios Mermigkas, a 3rd year PhD student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, attended the IEEE Pulsed Power and Plasma Science conference in California in June 2013.  Road transport was responsible for around a quarter of primary PM2.5 emissions in the UK in 2008. Small particles have the ability to migrate deep into the respiratory system, and exposure to high concentrations has been linked to respiratory diseases and increased mortality rates, a matter to which the late Dr Wolff was already drawing attention as early as the 1990s.  Athanasios Mermigkas’ research is focused on the development of technology  for air-cleaning applications – which will, amongst other things, hopefully contribute to a reduction in the health impacts of transport emissions.Read Athanasios Mermigkas’s report

In October 2012, Lydia Pickering, a third year PhD student researching materials for hydrogen storage travelled to the13th International Symposium on Metal-Hydrogen Systems on 21st – 26th October in Kyoto with the aid of a SWCF grant. Lydia is researching new materials for use in hydrogen storage tanks in fuel cell vehicles. Read Lydia Pickering’s report

The SWCF awarded a grant to Gareth Haslam, a young researcher at the UN University’s Instutue of Advanced Studies in Yokohama, to attend Santa Fe Institute’s Complex Systems Summer School of 2012. He is currenty studying ways of making fuel-cells cheaper, with the aim of eliminating fossil fuel use in road vehicles. Read Gareth Haslam’s report

The SCWF has awarded a grant to Anna Mitchell, a young endocrinologist researching Addison’s disease, to attend the American Endocrine Society conference in Boston in June 2011. Read Anna Mitchell’s report

The SWCF awarded a grant to Karen Anderton, a doctoral student at the University of Oxford Transport Studies Unit to help her attend the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers. At the meeting, she made a presentation titled “Examining sub-national governance: interaction and collaboration in reducing the climate impact of cars”. Read Karen Anderton’s report

The SWCF has awarded a Travel Grant to Dr. Mohammad Alhadj Ali, a Clinical Fellow in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University of Bristol to attend the 17th ESAD Young Scientists’ Training Course at Heidelberg in October 2010. Read Dr. Mohammad Ali’s report

The SWCF awarded a travel grant to Trevor Yeung, a young medical oncologist who holds a Cancer Research UK Clinical Research Fellowship, to help him attend the 2009 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in Orlando, Florida.  Read Trevor Yeung’s report

The SWCF awarded a Travel Grant to Jennyfer Goujon, a PhD student at Heriot-Watt University, to help her attendthe 236th American Chemical Society Meeting in Philadephia in August 2008. She very much enjoyed her first international conference and submitted an enthusiastic report. Read Jennyfer Goujon’s report


The SWCF awarded a Travel Grant to Dr. Hermione Price, a Clinical Research Fellow researching diabetes at the University of Oxford, to enable her to attend the American Diabetes Association’s 67th Scientific Sessions in San Francisco in June 2008. Such conferences are of great importance to young scientists. Read Dr. Hermione Price’s report

The SWCF awarded a Travel Grant to Sarah Clark, a final year PhD student at Queen’s University Belfast working on potential antiviral agents, to enable her to attend the 1st European Chemistry Congress in Budapest, Hungary in August 2006. Read Sarah Clark’s report

The SWCF awarded a Travel Grant to Dr Stuart Plant, Lipid and Diabetes Research Group, Christchurch Hospital, New Zealand for attendance at the 5th Congress of Asian Pacific Society of Atherosclerosis and Vascular Diseases, Jeju Island, South Korea. He has sent us an entertaining and illuminating account of his trip, including (lay) descriptions of his research, which focuses on the mechanism by which adiponectin, a hormone released by the body’s fatty tissue, is able to protect the cardiovascular system from becoming diseased. Read Stuart Plant’s report

Nair Sreejayan works at the University of Munich, Germany, on Cholesterol Gallstone Disease. He showed for the first time that free radicals play a role in the development of gallstones and speculated that antioxidant drugs may be useful in treating this condition. He was selected to present his findings at the American Gastroenterological Association conference in New Orleans, USA, in the summer of 1998 and the SWCF donated £300 towards the cost of his attendance.

Oliver de Peyer, was a postgraduate student at Reading University working on cataract formation – one of the major causes of blindness throughout the world. He was interested in a particular protein component of the lens called MIP26, which seems to be very sensitive to damage caused by certain sugars. Simon Wolff was a pioneer of the view that high sugar levels in patients with diabetes and in older people is damaging to the lens, as well as otherparts of the body, because of the particular chemical reactions which take place between sugars and proteins. Oliver, who also received £300 from the SWCF, attended the International Symposium of Eye Research in Paris in the summer of 1998, where the links between high sugar levels in the blood and cataract formation was discussed.

Mahadev Rao, a scientist working at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India, was able to attend the 4th European Congress of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Milan, Italy, 1999 with a £300 bursary from SWCF. Dr Rao presented a paper on his work concerning the potential use of antioxidants to help protect cancer patients from kidney damage which is sometimes caused by anticancer drug therapies.

an Mudway is a scientist at St. Thomas’s Hospital, London, working on the interaction of vehicular derived pollutants with the lung respiratory tract. Dr. Mudway used his £300 bursary from SWCF to attend the European Respiratory Society meeting in Geneva, Switzerland in 1999, where he presented his work on the potential protective effects of antioxidants against pollutant derived lung injury. The trustees felt that Dr Mudway’s work brought together Simon Wolff’s two main scientific interests, car pollution and oxidative damage, in a particularly novel and interesting way