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Presenting the UK’s Most Promising Scientists of 2020

From fossil-dating and microbubble technology to the discovery of new exoplanet systems and clean nuclear fusion energy, these young scientists are changing our world for the better.

Published January 15, 2020

Now in its third year, the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK announces the three Laureates and six Finalists of 2020. The Blavatnik Awards celebrate the past accomplishments and future potential of young, faculty-level researchers working in the three disciplinary categories of Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry. Despite being in the early stages of their careers, their research is already transforming science and our understanding of the world.

This year’s three Laureates—one in each category—were chosen by an independent jury of leading scientists from across the UK. One Laureate in each category will receive US$100,000, and two Finalists in each category will receive US$30,000 each.


The 2020 Blavatnik Awards in the UK honorees are:

Laureates

Life Sciences:

Professor Timothy Behrens, University of Oxford and University College London (UCL)

Chemistry:

Dr. Kirsty Penkman, University of York

Physical Sciences & Engineering:

Professor Claudia de Rham, Imperial College London

Tim Behrens
Professor Timothy Behrens

University of Oxford and University College London (UCL)

Kirsty Penkman
Dr. Kirsty Penkman

University of York

Claudia de Rham
Professor Claudia de Rham

Imperial College London


“The Academy has seen first-hand how the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists have changed the lives of young scientists...These awards have given them the confidence to take big risks in their research—and to reap the rewards that come with thinking big.”
— Ellis Rubinstein


Finalists

Life Sciences:

Professor Eleanor Stride, University of Oxford

Professor Edze Rients Westra, University of Exeter

 

Chemistry:

Professor Matthew Fuchter, Imperial College London

Professor Stephen Goldup, University of Southampton

 

Physical Sciences & Engineering:

Professor Ian Chapman, UK Atomic Energy Authority and Culham Centre for Fusion Energy

Dr. Amaury Triaud, University of Birmingham


 

Eleanor Stride
Professor Eleanor Stride

University of Oxford

Edze Westra
Professor Edze Rients Westra

University of Exeter

Matthew Fuchter
Professor Matthew Fuchter

Imperial College London

Steve Goldup
Professor Stephen Goldup

University of Southampton

Ian Chapman
Professor Ian Chapman

UK Atomic Energy Authority and Culham Centre for Fusion Energy

Amaury Triaud
Dr. Amaury Triaud

University of Birmingham

Ellis Rubinstein, President of the New York Academy of Sciences and Chair of the Blavatnik Awards’ UK Scientific Advisory Council noted, “With over 13 years’ experience independently administering the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the US, the UK, and Israel, our Academy has seen first-hand how they have changed the lives of young scientists. Many recipients have gone on to receive other prestigious accolades, and some have even mentored the next generation of Blavatnik Scholars. These awards have given these young scientists the confidence to take big risks in their research—and to reap the rewards that come with thinking big.”

The 2020 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK received 80 nominations from 41 academic and research institutions across the UK. The UK awards sit alongside their global counterparts, the Blavatnik National Awards in the United States and the Blavatnik Awards in Israel, all of which honor and support exceptional early-career scientists at faculty-level and above. In addition, the Blavatnik Regional Awards recognized postdoctoral researchers in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. To date, the Blavatnik Awards have honored 291 young scientists in the US, Israel, and the UK with prizes totaling US$8.9M. Blavatnik Awards honorees hail from 47 countries on six continents, and 60% of Blavatnik Awards recipients are immigrants to the country in which they were recognized.

The Laureates and Finalists of the 2020 Blavatnik Awards in the UK will be honored at a formal awards ceremony and gala dinner at Banqueting House in London on March 4, 2020. 

On March 5, 2020, the honorees will present their research with a series of short, interactive lectures at a public symposium. The event, “Game Changers: 9 Young Scientists Transforming Our World”, will be held at Banqueting House in London from 11am to 6pm, and includes a reception, during which attendees can meet the honorees. The event is free and open to the public. To attend the symposium, go to Nyas.org/youngscientists2020 to register. 

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