TWO OXFORD University students have been awarded an £80,000 fellowship that was founded by Prince Albert in 1851.

Scooping two of the 25 fellowships awarded every year, both Tim Sudmeier and Tom Fleming are 'delighted' and 'extremely grateful' for the extraordinary opportunity to be supported by such a prestigious institution.

Mr Fleming, 28 and a DPhil student in chemical biology, said he was surprised when he was awarded the accolade for his project, which looks into DNA repair processes in cancerous cells.

He said: "I think my first reaction was shock because I really did not think my interview went that well.

"I am extremely grateful and honoured to receive this fellowship because in the past these fellowships have been awarded to 13 Nobel Prize winners.

"I have always had an interest in DNA repairs but I really need to thank my professor, Tom Brown, who has been a real driving force in this project.

"It is so important that research projects in science and engineering get this level of support because you never know what they could then lead on to."

Mr Fleming's project looks at restoring the efficacy of chemotherapy on cancers that have developed resistance to anti-cancer drugs by inhibiting DNA repair processes in cancerous cells.

Mr Sudmeier, 22, and a DPhil student in organic chemistry said he had always had a fascination with renewable energy and climate change.

He said: "It really is an honour to receive this, and I know the support I will get from the fellowship will further my project considerably.

"What my project looks at is creating ammonia by electrolysis so you can store the electricity produced by wind farms and other renewable source."

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 awards scholarships and fellowships for advanced study and research in science and engineering.

It was established in 1850 by Queen Victoria to organise the first world trade fair.

Prince Albert was appointed President and took personal charge of the whole operation and in just 16 months a site was chosen in Hyde Park to house 100,000 exhibits.

When the exhibition closed in October 1851, the Royal Commission was then established as a permanent body to spend the profits in realising Prince Albert's ambition to 'increase the means of industrial education and extend the influence of science and art upon productive industry.'

And from there the fellowships were born.

Mr Fleming added: "It clearly shows how prestigious this funding is, if it has continued for more than 150 years.

"And I think for the pair of us to be from the department of chemistry at the University shows what a world class department it is."

For more information visit: