Francesco Shankar is Professor of Astrophysics in the School of Physics and Astronomy and CHEP professional development lead at the University of Southampton. He is fellow of the Alan Turing Institute, fellow of the Higher Education Academy, fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and PI of a large-scale project in medical science aimed at optimising blood pressure measurements strategies. Professor Shankar is PI of a H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (https://www.bid4best.org/), one of the largest networks in the world working on supermassive black holes in a cosmological context, comprising 13 Marie Curie PhD students and about 20 academic and industrial partners. Professor Shankar also sits on diverse scientific Advisory Board Panels worldwide and is leading a massive outreach/public engagement project named Astera (Astera - A Cosmological Visualizer (soton.ac.uk)), an interactive, fully immersive 3D realization of the Universe.
Professor Shankar is currently the module leader of Cosmology. In previous years he was teaching Introduction to Astronomy, Galaxies and Photons in Astrophysics. As CHEP teaching champion, prof Shankar has supported the School of P&A with one-to-one sessions on B&B module pages, or via school- and also faculty-wide events to spread good practice in teaching. His Cosmology module has been included in the super-league VLE table (only 11 modules are on this list across the whole University) for being consistently shortlisted by students since 2017 as one of the best teaching resources.
After obtaining his PhD at SISSA and a postdoc at the Ohio State University, Prof Shankar moved to the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics as an Alexander von Hulmboldt Fellow, and then to the Observatoire de Paris as a Marie Curie Fellow. He then joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2013.
Based on his citation metrics, prof Shankar has been classified among the top 1.5% across 7 million scientists in 22 distinct disciplines by Ioannidis et al. (2019; latest metrics), and ranked in the top scientists in Italy for impact of publications Top Italian Scientists.
Several of prof Shankar’s past PhDs/Postdocs have secured high-level positions in academia or industry. Strongly supported by the analytic and numerical skills they have acquired during their research projects under his supervision, many of his BSc/Master students have promptly secured jobs in different companies (e.g., Ayima, Qinetiq, Mercedes Benz).
Member Euclid/LSST/SKA/Athena-AGN/Galaxies; Scientific Advisory Board Polish, Swiss NSF, Chilean CONICYT, Italian MIUR, CFHT and GMRT telescopes; Editor for the Universe; Reviewer for Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Astrophysical Journal.
Pietro Tacchini Prize for one of the best Italian PhD theses of that year.
Awarded some of the most prestigious fellowships in the EU-UK: The Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship in the UK, the Max-Planck-SHAO Fellowship and the Humboldt Fellowship in Germany, the Marie Curie Fellowship in France, the ASTROFIT-Marie Curie Fellowship in Italy (top classified in that year), the Ramon y Cayal Fellowship in Spain (2nd ranked in space science in that year).
Qualification pour Maitre de Conférence.
Dean’s Award for best module in 2019.
Virtual Learning Environment Awards in 2019 and 2022 for best learning resource.