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30 November 2020

King's researcher receives prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowship

Dr James Gooch is one of six engineering researchers who have been selected to receive a UK Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering this year. Dr Gooch will receive funding for his research project for two years, mentorship from a Fellow of the Academy as well as support from an advisor from the intelligence community.

Dr James Gooch, King's Forensics
Dr James Gooch, King's Forensics

Dr Gooch will use his fellowship to conduct a new project on the detection of nerve agents which are highly toxic and can cause severe respiratory depression, coma and death by disrupting normal nervous function. Dr Gooch will be developing a fluorescent biosensor that can detect different classes of nerve agents from a safe distance.

With input from several Government departments responsible for the UK’s counter-terrorism response, Dr Gooch’s project will involve the initial design and development of the biosensor, as well as an extended testing programme to ensure that the sensor will function correctly in a ‘real-world’ scenario.

I am delighted to have been awarded this prestigious fellowship. Despite their ban under international law, the use of Novichok in the 2018 Salisbury attack shows that nerve agents still represent a serious threat to national security and the safety of the general public. I hope that the work conducted as part of this fellowship will provide emergency service personnel with new tools to better respond to incidents involving suspected chemical warfare agents.

Dr James Gooch, King's Forensics

More about the award

The Government Office for Science offers the UK Intelligence Community (IC) Postdoctoral Research Fellowships to outstanding early career researchers. These fellowships are designed to promote unclassified basic research in areas of interest to the intelligence, security and defence community. Each fellowship is capped at a maximum grant of £200,000 over a two-year period. For more information on the fellowships, visit Submissions for the UK Intelligence Community (IC) Postdoctoral Research Fellowships 2021 will be open in late January 2021.

In this story

James  Gooch

UK IC Research Fellow