Seven top researchers recognised ahead of British Science Festival

Posted by pt91 at Jun 20, 2018 11:41 AM |
Leicester researcher to deliver prestigious Award Lecture

Issued by the British Science Association on 19 June 2018

The British Science Association (BSA) has announced the winners of its prestigious Award Lectures for 2018. Seven top UK researchers have been recognised for their cutting-edge work and engaging communication skills after a competitive selection process.

They join an illustrious group of Award Lecture recipients that includes: Professor Brian Cox (winner in 2006), Maggie Aderin-Pocock (winner in 2008), and Richard Wiseman (winner in 2002).

The winners and their respective Awards are as follows:

  • The Daphne Oram Award Lecture for Digital Innovation was awarded to Dr Claire Burke (Liverpool John Moores University)
  • The Charles Darwin Award Lecture for Agricultural, Biological and Medical Sciences was awarded to Dr Emma Yhnell (Cardiff University)
  • The Rosalind Franklin Award Lecture for Physical Sciences and Mathematics was awarded to Dr Laura Bonnett (University of Liverpool)
  • The Charles Lyell Award Lecture for Environmental Sciences was awarded to Dr Heidi Burdett (Heriot-Watt University)
  • The Isambard Kingdom Brunel Award Lecture for Engineering, Technology and Industry was awarded to Dr Gemma Bale (University College London)
  • The Margaret Mead Award Lecture for Social Sciences was awarded to Dr Oli Williams (University of Leicester)
  • The Jacob Bronowski Award Lecture for Science and the Arts was awarded to Dr Mirjam Brusius (University of Oxford)
  • Each Award Lecture winner will be celebrated at the British Science Festival in Hull, where they will give a special talk about their innovative research:

    Claire Burke will present her pioneering field of astroecology, which combines astronomy and drone technology to detect animals in real-time, during the day or night. She will detail how this innovative technique can be used to prevent extinctions.

    Emma Yhnell will reveal how she continually pushes the boundaries in her field of Huntington's disease research. She will celebrate the successes of using brain-training to advocate for public and patient involvement in research and consider the challenges of searching for Huntington's treatments.

    Laura Bonnett will talk about how her work made huge shifts in the law, influencing the DVLA to change their driving rules for people with epilepsy. She will explore ‘risk’ and share her experience of the life-changing applications that statistics has in epilepsy research.

    Heidi Burdett will detail her race against the clock in saving coral reefs from rising sea temperatures. She will reveal how their resilience mechanisms are providing a glimmer of hope for their future.

    Gemma Bale will discuss the hugely important topic of brain injury in newborns, which is a leading cause of infant mortality. She will showcase her pioneering work applying an infrared light technique to monitor baby’s brains, which is giving hope to the lives of many affected families.

    Oli Williams will reveal how he's changing public health for the better. He will explore the link between socioeconomic inequality and the "obesity epidemic", examining the current weight-based stigma and how this is impacting the most vulnerable in society.

    Mirjam Brusius will focus on a novel idea: photographs as a scientific tool. She will explain how photographs can ‘lie’ and divulge as to why so many scientists trust photography, and how this trust has developed.

    Ivvet Modinou, Head of Engagement at the BSA, said: “We're delighted to announce this year's cohort of Award Lecturers. They're a hugely talented group who are at the forefront of their fields and who bring their research out from the labs and into the public domain, for everyone to share, learn from and enjoy. We received many high-quality applications, which made the decision process extremely tough. I wish them the best of luck for the coming year and I look forward to working with them all and hearing their fabulous talks at the British Science Festival this September.”

    The Award Lectures have been presented at the British Science Festival since 1990. They celebrate and promote front line research being carried out in the UK by talented early-career scientists. The Awards recognise researchers’ excellent communication skills and their ability to demonstrate the social and societal aspects of their work.

    This year’s British Science Festival will take place later from Tuesday 11 to Friday 14 September, hosted by the University of Hull, with over 100 events on campus and throughout the city. It provides an opportunity to meet researchers face-to-face and discuss cutting-edge research, innovation and ideas in science, technology and engineering.

    All events are free, but booking is required, as spaces are limited. Booking is now open at:


    For press enquiries, please contact:

    Jess Rowley, PR Officer, British Science Association 
    Tel: 020 7019 4953

    Notes to Editors:

  • About the British Science Festival
  • The British Science Festival is one of Europe’s largest science festivals and regularly attracts hundreds of the UK’s top scientists and speakers to discuss the latest developments in science with the public. Over 15,000 visitors attend the talks, discussions and workshops. Registration is free for journalists and gets you access to hundreds of events. The Festival takes place at a different location each year. The 2018 Festival will take place from 11 – 14 September, hosted by the University of Hull. For further information, visit @BritishSciFest #BSF18

  • About the British Science Association
  • The British Science Association (BSA) believes that science should be part of – rather than set apart from – society and culture and is owned by the wider community. Our programmes encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with science, become ambassadors for science, and ultimately to be empowered to challenge and influence British science - whether they work in science or not.

    Established in 1831, the BSA is a registered charity that organises major initiatives across the UK, including British Science Week, the annual British Science Festival, regional and local events, the CREST Awards and other programmes for young people in schools and colleges. The BSA also organises specific activities for professional science communicators, including a specialist conference and training. For more information, please visit

  • About the University of Hull
  • The University of Hull has been changing the way people think for 90 years. Our motto, Lampada Ferens, translates as ‘carrying the light of learning’, and over the years, we’ve shared that light with thousands of people from across the world. Our dynamic graduates include the CEO of Coca-Cola and Chief Executive of Sky and the Head of Education at Google.

    As England’s 14th-oldest university, we have a proud heritage of academic excellence, and a history of creating and inspiring life-changing research to tackle some of our biggest global challenges. In June 2017, we were awarded Silver in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and the last Research Excellence Framework named us as a top 50 institution for research power.

    Latest statistics show 96.1 per cent of our graduates are in work or further study within six months (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education in the United Kingdom for the academic year 2015/16, published by the HESA in June 2017).

    A £200-million investment programme in cutting-edge teaching and learning facilities, IT infrastructure, research laboratories, social spaces, student accommodation and sporting facilities has transformed our campus.

    Share this page: