The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences celebrated the sixth annual Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the United Kingdom with an awards ceremony and gala dinner on February 28, 2023. The event returned to the historic Banqueting House in Whitehall, London, where it was previously held in 2020 and 2021. The celebration showcased the nine honorees of the 2023 Blavatnik Awards in the UK.
The new Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford and renowned neuroscientist, Professor Irene Tracey, CBE, FMedSci served as the 2023 Presenter. Over 140 guests attended the ceremony, including prominent leaders in science, academia, government, business, and past Blavatnik Awards Laureates. Distinguished guests included the current Ambassador of Israel to the United Kingdom, Tzipi Hotovely; British Diplomat Sir Michael Pakenham; Nobel Laureates Prof. John O’Keefe and Sir Paul Nurse; Director of the Science Museum Group, Roger Highfield; Founding Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, Prof. Ngaire Woods; British physicist and a pioneer of string theory, Prof. Michael B. Green; President of the European Research Council, Prof. Maria Leptin; President Emeritus of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Dr. Walter Massey; Chair of Surgery at Imperial College London, the Royal Marsden Hospital and the Institute of Cancer Research, Prof. The Lord Darzi of Denham; CEO of Access Industries, Lincoln Benet; and EVP of the Blavatnik Family Foundation and Access Industries, Peter Thorén.
During her opening remarks, Professor Tracey commented on the three Laureates: “I’m particularly proud, as a woman of science myself, that, for the first time in the history of the Blavatnik Awards in the United Kingdom, we have three women Laureates! So tonight, we also celebrate the progress that has been made to allow women in STEM to flourish — there is more work to do, but these awardees illustrate the bounties that an ever-inclusive work environment brings to society — when everyone is given the chance to thrive, everyone benefits.”
In commenting on the Award’s impact, President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences, Nicholas B. Dirks said “the Blavatnik Awards program doesn’t just benefit its honorees, but all of us. In their relatively short lifetimes, they’ve already changed the world. How much more will they change all of our lives? I, for one, can’t wait to find out!”
For each Award category—Physical Sciences & Engineering, Chemistry, and Life Sciences—two Finalists were each awarded prizes of £30,000, and one Laureate was awarded £100,000. As each honoree was recognized, the audience viewed a film introducing their groundbreaking research before they were presented with their Blavatnik Awards medal. 2022 Blavatnik Awards in the UK Laureate, Prof. Matthew Brookes from the University of Nottingham was also recognized during the night, as he was unable to attend last year’s ceremony.
To watch the honoree films, click on the links to the honoree profile pages below:
- Katie Doores, DPhil (Life Sciences)—King’s College London
- Susan Perkin, DPhil (Chemistry)—University of Oxford
- Clare Burrage, PhD (Physical Sciences & Engineering)—University of Nottingham
- Andrew Saxe, PhD (Life Sciences)—University College London (UCL)
- Pontus Skoglund, PhD (Life Sciences)—The Francis Crick Institute
- Jesko Köhnke, PhD (Chemistry)—University of Glasgow
- Andrew L. Lawrence, DPhil (Chemistry)—The University of Edinburgh
- Jade Alglave, PhD (Physical Sciences & Engineering)—University College London (UCL) and Arm
- James A. Screen, PhD (Physical Sciences & Engineering)—University of Exeter
The Laureates all gave short scientific talks after receiving their medals. Physical Sciences & Engineering Finalist, Prof. James Screen was unable to attend due to research commitments in Australia and was honored in absentia.
The ceremony concluded with the Blavatnik Awards tradition of making a “Toast to Science.” The following day, the honorees shared their cutting-edge research in a Blavatnik Awards public symposium “Catalysing Change: 9 Young Scientists Transforming Our World.” You can watch the recorded talks on-demand here: https://events.nyas.org/event/5ff910b8-9c61-425d-bc94-b1e20e9d3465/summary