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Retaining our best scientists

19 October 2012

Professor Jim Murray
Professor Jim Murray

The research expertise of one of the University's most respected and promising scientists has been secured thanks to a prestigious funding award.

Professor Jim Murray from the School of Biosciences is one of 19 scientists to be awarded a prestigious Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.

Jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), but determined by The Royal Society, the scheme provides universities with financial support to help them attract and retain the best scientists.

"Securing a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award means we're able to retain a scientist – in Professor Jim Murray – who has already had outstanding success in his field with the potential for further excellence," according to Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan.

"Our ambition to be a world-leading, research excellent and educationally outstanding university means appointing and retaining the very best people. I am delighted that this Award means we're able to secure Professor Murray's talent for the future," he added.

Professor Murray is one of the UK's leading scientists in plant cellular development and molecular biotechnology.

Earlier this year, Vince Cable presented Professor Murray with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council's (BBSRC) 'Commercial Innovator of the Year Award' for his contribution to inventing a fast and easy-to-use method to detect DNA with light.

The technology could have many important uses, including sensitive tests for infectious organisms that could lead to dramatic improvements to healthcare in both the developed and developing world.

The technology, called the "bioluminescent assay in real-time", signals the presence of specific DNA sequences, using a version of the enzyme luciferase, which also produces light in fireflies. The test is so simple it can potentially be used anywhere and can give results within minutes, depending on the number of bacteria or viruses being tested for.

Professor Ole Petersen FRS, Director of the School of Biosciences, said: "I am delighted that The Royal Society, the UK's national academy of science, has selected Jim Murray as one the 19 new Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award holders.

"These awards are among the most prestigious in the academic world. This richly deserved recognition and funding will allow Jim Murray's vitally important work on multi-scale understanding of cell division in plant growth and development to continue and expand at Cardiff University's School of Biosciences."

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