The Merits of Science

Thursday 28 August 2014

Malcolm White

Two leading scientists from the University of St Andrews are to receive Wolfson Research Merit Awards from the Royal Society.

Professor Malcolm White (pictured; right) and Professor Sven Hoefling are named in an exclusive list published today (Friday August 29, 2014) of just 14 outstanding scientists working in the UK to receive the accolade.

Professor White’s award recognises his research into a recently discovered immune system in microbes. His work is aimed at understanding how these complex molecular machines detect and destroy invading viruses.

Professor White was quick to praise talented colleagues and students at St Andrews for their contributions to his work.

He said: “This award would not have happened without a lot of hard work by the students, technicians and research fellows in my laboratory. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank them for all their efforts over the years.”

Professor Hoefling (pictured; below) receives his award in appreciation of his work to understand and exploit light-matter interactions.

He expressed delight at the award and explained what drives his research.

He said: “What excites me is the interdisciplinary nature of my work, in which as an engineer I can design advanced materials, investigate

them as a material scientist, explore fundamental physics aspects as basic scientist, and as an inventor exploit new effects in devices that are successfully commercialized by companies.

“It is my scientific passion to engineer artificial materials and research them. I study the interaction of them with light and customize their properties. The materials I’m working on

range from inorganic and organic semiconductors to transition metal oxides. Effects that I investigate and employ in photonic devices find direct use in areas like classical and quantum communication or optical sensing.”

Jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the scheme aims to provide universities with additional support to

enable them to attract science talent from overseas and retain respected UK scientists of outstanding achievement and potential.

The newly appointed award holders are working on a wide range of project topics including climate change and string theory.


Note to Editors

For images please contact the press office on 01334 462 108.

The Wolfson Foundation is a grant-making charity established in 1955. Funding is given to support excellence. More information is available from

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

For further information please visit Follow the Royal Society on Twitter at or on Facebook at .

Images available on request.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Press Office
Contact Victoria Herd on 01334 472560 or [email protected]
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