The UCL STEM Participation and Social Justice research group, based at the IOE, UCL Faculty of Education and Society, aims to make STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) more inclusive, accessible and equitable for All the kids. His research projects range from working with primary school teachers to develop a ‘scientific capital’ pedagogical approach that helps children find more meaning and relevance in science subjects, to a longitudinal research project following the career aspirations of young people aged 10 to 23.
The team received the Royal Society’s Athena Prize “for pioneering research and development projects that have improved understanding, transformed practice and led to more equitable participation in STEM”. The award recognizes the teams that have contributed the most to advancing diversity in STEM.
Professor Louise Archer (IOE), who leads the group, said: “It is great that the work of the STEM Participation & Social Justice group is recognized by the Royal Society and the scientific community. We hope winning this award can advance our messages of social justice in science education and help us continue to improve equitable youth participation in STEM.
Professor Richard Ellis (UCL Physics & Astronomy), who has followed galaxies further and further away during his career on a quest to find the moment of “cosmic dawn”, when stars illuminated the Universe to the first time was awarded the Royal Medal A, the Society’s highest honor for the physical sciences.
Professor Ellis received the medal for “motivating numerous advances in telescopes and instrumentation, and exploiting these facilities to revolutionize the understanding of cosmological evolution”. The Society noted that Professor Ellis “foreseen the importance of applying new technologies, motivating him to raise funds, design and then operate innovative instruments that have dramatically accelerated progress”. [in the field]”.
Professor Ellis said: “I am deeply honored to be the recipient of this major Royal Society award, joining a distinguished list of previous winners, many of whom have been my personal scientific heroes.” Previous recipients of the award are Nobel Laureates Professor Abdus Salam and Professor Sir Roger Penrose. At UCL, previous winners have included Professor Sir Harrie Massey and Professor Sir Michael Pepper (UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering).
Professor Tiago Branco (Sainsbury Wellcome Center at UCL) was awarded the Francis Crick Medal and Lecture for “having made fundamental advances in the molecular, cellular and circuit bases of neural computation and for successfully linking them to behavior animal”.
Professor Branco’s current research investigates how the mouse brain implements escape behavior, helping to improve understanding of how the brain performs calculations and which areas of the human brain are involved in anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, in hopes of finding new ways to treat these mental health issues.
He said, “I am honored to receive the Francis Crick Medal and Lecture. It is a great privilege to have our work recognized by the Royal Society and, through this award, to partner with Francis Crick and Sydney Brenner – two giants of science whose work has been such an inspiration over the years.
“I am extremely grateful for all the support I have received in my career so far and for all the amazing colleagues I work with, especially the young people who continue to inject new ideas, enthusiasm and to push science in the group beyond our comfort zone. . The body of work that this award recognizes is a truly collaborative effort between many incredible people. I am delighted that this award can increase the visibility of our field and importance of curiosity-driven science.
Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society, said: “On behalf of the Royal Society, I offer my congratulations to the outstanding researchers, individuals and teams whose contributions to our collective scientific endeavor have helped to deepen our understanding of the world around us. surrounded. I am proud that we can celebrate outstanding scientific contributions in all their forms. »