Engineering at the University of Brighton

Dr Oyuna Rybdylova

Brighton researcher awarded prestigious Future Leaders Fellowship

University of Brighton mathematician Dr Oyuna Rybdylova has received a ‘life-changing’ UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) grant of £1.1m to further her work by being awarded a Future Leaders Fellowship.

Dr Rybdylova is one of 101 recipients to benefit from UKRI’s flagship scheme, which has invested a total of £109m in the fellows and is designed to establish the careers of world-class research and innovation leaders across the UK.

A graduate of the prestigious Moscow State University in Russia, Dr Rybdylova joined the University of Brighton in 2013 and specialises in multiphase flows, such as droplets or dust particles in the air, and focuses on modelling sprays using mathematical and numerical techniques.

The four-year research funding will allow her to build a team to develop and test a novel approach to modelling sprays and produce free, open software to permit easy access to the model. The team will work on specialised solutions for inhalers and fuel sprays, looking at the complex composition of liquids and the specifics of the flows.

Dr Rybdylova said: “When talking about modelling sprays, the question is how many droplets are there in different locations in space and how these numbers vary with time as the droplets travel and evaporate? In the most popular approach used in engineering at the moment, you have to track each droplet individually – you don’t have to do that in the new model.

“This model is based on advanced maths, and this allows to get more information about droplet distribution, which makes it more efficient, faster and more accurate.”

The droplet distribution model will aid other researchers and scientists in the short-term with the aim that industry specialists will use it in the future.

Dr Rybdylova says it came as a pleasant surprise that she received the grant: “I was inspired to apply after listening to Professor Phil Ashworth (Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise), who I received a huge amount of support from, and would also like to thank countless other colleagues, particularly Professor Sergei Sazhin, Professor Alison Bruce and Professor Cyril Crua.

“I was initially told about the outcome of the application via email and at first, I could only share the news with my friends and family. It’s lifechanging, it’s really exciting and I can’t wait to get started.

“I especially want to thank Professor Sazhin for mentoring me since I arrived at the university – he has provided invaluable encouragement.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Debra Humphris said: “This is wonderful recognition for an outstanding colleague and illustrates that the future leaders of research excellence can be found in universities across the UK. I look forward to watching Dr Rybdylova’s work grow and flourish at the University of Brighton with the support of so many great colleagues.”

Announcing the successful fellows at today’s Future Leaders Conference, Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “We are committed to building back better through research and innovation, and supporting our science superstars in every corner of the UK.

“By backing these inspirational Future Leaders Fellows, we will ensure that their brilliant ideas can be transferred straight from the lab into vital everyday products and services that will help to change all our lives for the better.”

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said: “Future Leaders Fellowships provide researchers and innovators with freedom and support to drive forward transformative new ideas and the opportunity to learn from peers right across the country.

“The fellows announced today illustrate how the UK continues to support and attract talented researchers and innovators across every discipline to our universities and businesses, with the potential to deliver change that can be felt across society and the economy.”

Stephanie Thomson • October 15, 2020

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