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19 January 2017 

We are very grateful to Dr Bill Welland (PhD student 1970-73) for his recent donation to support research within Prof Judith Driscoll's group. Below, Bill explains what led him to make this completely unexpected donation:

"When I attended the Department's Open Day in September 2016, Prof. Driscoll was the one staff member I recognised, as she had lectured to me when I took a Corrosion MSc at Imperial College in 1995/96. She told me that one of her group's demonstrations was the result of research done 20 years ago, but that only now was it being exploited commercially. This made me realise that most of the research I had undertaken or commissioned had been funded for very narrow short-term objectives. Even when I'd been allowed to try out 'blue skies' ideas it had been conditional on all my 'important' research being on time and in budget, which didn't seem the best environment for making conceptual breakthroughs. I had originally planned to leave a bequest to the Department, in recognition of the tremendous start my experience as a research student had given to my career, but I now felt it was more important to hand over money - without strings and with Gift Aid - so that it could fund the recipient's current need. I felt that Prof. Driscoll's group would make the ideal recipients for such a donation as my re-think stemmed from that conversation with her. Now that I have heard their spending plans, I am more convinced than ever that this is the right decision."

Judith plans to use the funds to support summer research students in the group to do proof-of-concept research on high risk, novel ideas for which they would not easily obtain funding under normal streams. This will benefit both the research group and the student, who will be immersed in a dynamic environment with PhD students and post-doctoral researchers.

Image: Prof Driscoll's group.