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Announcing the UK’s Rising Science Stars of 2021

From the evolution of the dinosaurs and deciphering the origins of life on Earth, to nanoscale electronic components and single-molecule magnets, the research of these scientists is expanding our understanding of the world.

Published December 09, 2020

Announcing the UK’s Rising Science Stars of 2021
Professor Stephen L. Brusatte, University of Edinburgh2021 Blavatnik Awards in the UK Laureate in Life Sciences

Professor Stephen L. Brusatte, University of Edinburgh
2021 Blavatnik Awards in the UK Laureate in Life Sciences

Professor Daniele Leonori, The University of Manchester2021 Blavatnik Awards in the UK Laureate in Chemistry

Professor Daniele Leonori, The University of Manchester
2021 Blavatnik Awards in the UK Laureate in Chemistry

The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK, now in its fourth year, announce the three Laureates and six Finalists of 2021. Celebrating the accomplishments and future potential of young, faculty-level researchers, the Blavatnik Awards in the UK recognize the United Kingdom’s most talented scientists across three disciplinary categories—Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry. One Laureate in each category will receive US$100,000, and two Finalists in each category will receive US$30,000 each.

The Life Sciences Laureate is Professor Stephen L. Brusatte from The University of Edinburgh. He is a world-renowned paleontologist and science communicator who aims to improve our understanding of the extinction of dinosaurs and the origins of birds from the dinosaurs. His book, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World, was recently featured on the New York Times’ bestseller list. Professor Brusatte has also authored numerous articles for Scientific American, and currently serves as paleontology consultant for the upcoming 2022 science fiction adventure film, Jurassic World III.

The Laureate in Chemistry is Professor Daniele Leonori, whose advances in photo-catalysis reactions—light-induced chemical reactions—have immediate applications in pharmaceutical chemistry. Professor Leonori is one of three of this year’s honorees carrying out their research at The University of Manchester.

Professor Sinéad Farrington, also from The University of Edinburgh, has been named the Physical Sciences & Engineering Laureate. Her work at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) has advanced our understanding of the properties of the Higgs boson, the elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics that was discovered in 2012.

Professor Sinéad Farrington, The University of Edinburgh2021 Blavatnik Awards in the UK Laureate in Physical Sciences & Engineering

Professor Sinéad Farrington, The University of Edinburgh
2021 Blavatnik Awards in the UK Laureate in Physical Sciences & Engineering

Finalists

Dr. John Marioni
Dr. John Marioni

The European Bioinformatics Institute and University of Cambridge

Professor Edze Westra
Professor Edze Westra

University of Exeter

Dr. David P. Mills
Dr. David P. Mills

The University of Manchester

Professor Matthew Powner
Professor Matthew Powner

University College London

Professor Artem Mishchenko
Professor Artem Mishchenko

The University of Manchester

Professor Themis Prodromakis
Professor Themis Prodromakis

University of Southampton

This year’s Finalists are:

  • John Marioni (Life Sciences)—The European Bioinformatics Institute and University of Cambridge
  • Professor Edze Westra (Life Sciences)—University of Exeter
  • David P. Mills (Chemistry)—The University of Manchester
  • Professor Matthew Powner (Chemistry)—University College London
  • Professor Artem Mishchenko (Physical Sciences & Engineering)—The University of Manchester
  • Professor Themis Prodromakis (Physical Sciences & Engineering)—University of Southampton

New York Academy of Sciences President and CEO and Chair of the Awards’ Scientific Advisory Council, Nicholas B. Dirks, noted: “We are excited to see new institutions amongst this year’s honored Blavatnik Awards UK institutions, including The University of Edinburgh and the European Bioinformatics Institute. The UK’s robust scientific academic community and vibrant scientific engagement programs for the general public are a launch pad for the next generation of scientific innovators, including the honorees of the 2021 Blavatnik Awards in the UK.”

The 2021 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK received 99 nominations from 49 academic and research institutions across the UK. The Blavatnik Awards in the UK have three  global counterparts, the Blavatnik National Awards and the Blavatnik Regional Awards in the United States, and the Blavatnik Awards in Israel, all of which honor and support exceptional early-career scientists. By the close of 2021, the Blavatnik Awards will have recognized over 350 young scientists and engineers in the US, Israel, and the UK, and awarded prizes totaling US$11.9 M. Sixty-one percent of Blavatnik Awards recipients hail from 47 countries on six continents. 

The 2021 Blavatnik Awards in the UK Laureates and Finalists will be honored, as pandemic restrictions allow, at a black-tie gala dinner and ceremony at Banqueting House in London, currently scheduled for June 8, 2021. The following day, on June 9, 2021, the honorees will present their research with a series of short, interactive lectures at a free public symposium, “Innovating for a Better Future: 9 Young Scientists Transforming Our World.” The symposium is also scheduled to be held at Banqueting House, from 11 AM to 6 PM BST (6 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT). To attend the symposium, visit nyas.org/innovating2021 to register. 

To learn more about the Blavatnik Awards programs in the US, the UK, and Israel, please visit the Blavatnik Awards website, www.blavatnikawards.org, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter: @BlavatnikAwards.