Queen Mary Faculty of Science and Engineering sweeps top honours at Research and Innovation Awards ceremony

Faculty of Science and Engineering
Centre for Brain and Behaviour
Centre for Networks, Communications and Systems

8 May 2024

Research and Innovation Awards
Research and Innovation Awards

The Faculty of Science and Engineering at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is celebrating a night of triumph after taking home three awards at the annual Queen Mary Research and Innovation (R&I) Awards ceremony held in The Barbican Centre, London.

The Queen Mary R&I Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of the University's research community. This year's ceremony highlighted the diverse range of groundbreaking work undertaken by University members. Here's a closer look at each award winner from the Faculty:

Early Career Researcher Award – Dr Yuanwei Liu

Dr Liu's research focuses on simultaneous transmission and reflection surfaces. He is the Principal Investigator of the STAR laboratory and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. Dr Liu received his PhD from Queen Mary in 2016 and holds distinctions such as Fellow of the IEEE and AAIA, Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher, IEEE Communication Society Distinguished Lecturer, and IEEE Vehicular Technology Society Distinguished Lecturer. Dr Liu's accomplishments extend beyond his research, with recognitions including the 2020 IEEE ComSoc Outstanding Young Researcher Award for the Europe, Middle East and Africa Region, the 2020 Early Achievement Award of the IEEE ComSoc - Signal Processing and Computing for Communications (SPCC) Technical Committee, and the 2021 IEEE CTTC Early Achievement Awards.

The award committee singled out Dr Liu's application for his exceptional academic achievements, even in a competitive year. They were particularly impressed by his leadership in establishing a lab at the forefront of global R&D and his dedication to fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment within engineering research and development.

Impact: Enterprise and Commercial Innovation Award – Dragonfly AI

Dragonfly AI, born from the groundbreaking research of the late Professor Peter McOwan and Dr Hamit Soyel in 2012, is a visual analytics platform that leverages cutting-edge neuroscience-informed artificial intelligence to help clients understand how effectively their designs engage audiences.

Dragonfly AI is a leading innovator in the predictive visual analytics field, boasting an impressive client list that includes some of the world's biggest consumer brands such as Harrods, GSK, Mitsubishi, Mars, and Jaguar Land Rover. Initially developed collaboratively with Queen Mary Innovation as a "spot-the-difference" software, it has evolved into a globally recognised platform. Launched in 2018, Dragonfly AI secured significant funding – £625,000 in seed funding and a remarkable £3 million in Series A funding – propelling them to global leadership in AI-driven content optimization.

Vice-Principal's Award for Research Excellence – Professor Lars Chittka

Professor Chittka's research on the perception and intelligence of social insects has solidified him as the UK's leading researcher in animal behaviour. His work has revealed remarkable capabilities of bees' miniature brains, including their ability to count, recognise human faces, learn concepts, use tools through observation, and potentially even be sentient. His team has made significant breakthroughs in exploring the neural underpinnings of these capacities.

Professor Chittka boasts an impressive publication record, having authored over 230 articles in journals like Nature (5 papers), Science (9 papers), PNAS (3 papers), Current Biology (23 papers), and PLoS Biology (9 papers). His achievements have been recognised by esteemed institutions, including the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina), the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS Lifetime Fellowship), a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, and an ERC Advanced Grant.


Updated by: David Lockwood