2016 ABTA Doctoral Researcher Awards

On Saturday 14th May 2016, ABTA proudly organised the 2016 Doctoral Research Awards (DRA) at University College London (UCL) to award and celebrate the achievements of the young researchers. By DRA, ABTA aims to cultivate junior academic research in the UK and encourage the young academics by acknowledging their contribution to the academics world.

The program was hosted by Derrick Roberts, a PhD candidate in chemistry at the University of Cambridge, who was also one of the finalists of DRA 2015. The program began with a short introduction of ABTA followed by the presentations of the finalists from the categories of Natural & Life Sciences, Management & Social Sciences and Engineering Sciences. The finalists gave intriguing information about their research and impressed the audience with their presentations. Meanwhile, the quality of the hosting proved that Derrick's skills on the stage was no less than his scientific brilliance.

During the reception and poster session, the participants viewed the posters of the researchers and had an opportunity to talk to the researchers about the details of their study while enjoying the treats. This break session turned out to be a nice platform for science without boundaries where the young and curious science lovers from high schools poured down their questions on the senior researchers and did not easily let them back to the Lecture Hall for the second part of the ceremony.

In the second part of the ceremony, the distinguished guests of honour shared their thoughts on the significance of promoting science at the junior level and the importance of DRA in this regard.

Professor Sir David Cox from Department of Statistics, University of Oxford, gave an inspiring speech on the importance of doing cross-disciplinary research in the new age and conveyed his own philosophy through examples from his long and fruitful life. Particularly important point of his meritorious speech was when he advised PhD students "not to take too long between almost finishing and finishing it with a quick but not rushed pace. He emphasized that the "perfect" can become the enemy of the "good". After his speech, he showed his humility and respect for the winners and honoured them by giving their awards with his own hands.

Second keynote speaker, Professor Uta Frith from Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, delivered her speech titled "Pride and Prejudice: Removing Barriers in Science" reminding the audience on the unfortunate historical discrimination against the female scientists and warned all of us about our "biased sub-conscious decisions". Fortunately, she eased our concerns for the future with some encouraging statistics showing that the "Pride and Prejudice" will not prevail. She also presented the awards to the winners in the category of Management & Social Sciences.

Professor Peter Grant from School of Engineering University of Edinburgh, as the third guest of honour, had a speech on "Scientific Achievements of James Clerk Maxwell: The Physicist of the 18th Century" and pointed on Maxwell's unique and influential place in modern physics. He also delivered the awards of the winners in the category of Engineering Sciences.

In the last part of the program, for the first time in DRA, a social media award was given to one of the audience for being an active twitter follower of the ABTA during the ceremony.

The ceremony ended with closing remarks by ABTA Director Dr Hasan Yardimci, followed by DRA 2016 group photo of all judges and DRA 2016 winners, all looking forward to meeting again for a new round of ABTA DRA adventure in the next year.

Finally, we would like once again to thank all of our guests of honour as well as our generous sponsors for their continued support of the 2016 ABTA Doctoral Researcher Awards and congratulate all winners and wish them the best in their academic career.

Natural & Life Sciences
1st Natalie Pilakouta - University of Edinburgh
A caring mother can compensate for the detrimental effects of inbreeding
2nd Wouter Berghuijs - University of Bristol
Reduced freshwater availability under snow loss
3rd Laura Hardwick - University of Cambridge
bHLH transcription factors: From developmental biology to cellular reprogramming

Management & Social Sciences
1st Scott MacDonald - University of Oxford
Green electricity for consumers
2nd Matluba Khan - University of Edinburgh
Designing for change: Developing design guidelines for the outdoor environment of primary schools in Bangladesh to enhance children's learning
3rd Mehmet Ihsan Canayaz - University of Oxford
Returns to senior representation

Engineering Sciences
1st Giancarlo Soavi - University of Cambridge
Boosting photovoltaic efficiency with graphene nanoribbons
2nd Sabina Caneva - University of Cambridge
The big potential of small materials nanoscale engineering of hexagonal boron nitride
3rd Francesca Letizia - University of Southampton
A continuous approach to space debris evolution

Honourable Mentions
Natural & Life Sciences
• Enrico Berardo* - Imperial College London
• Michael Nielsen* - Imperial College London
• Tevong You* - King's College London
• Alice Durieux - King's College London
• Alison Ming - University of Cambridge
• Andrei Lazanu - University of Cambridge
• Annalisa Occhipinti - University of Cambridge
• Francesca Day - University of Oxford
• James Bradley - University of Bristol
• Jon Hawkings - University of Bristol
• Madeline Kavanagh - University of Cambridge
• Marta Meazza - University of Southampton
• Maximillian Lee - University College London
• Ruadhai Dervan - University of Cambridge
• Setu Kasera - University of Cambridge

Management & Social Sciences
• Anika Nasra Haque* - University of Cambridge
• Yasin Rofcanin* - University of Warwick
• Christopher Hooton* - University of Cambridge
• Haian Dukhan* - University of St Andrews
• Cevat Giray Aksoy - Royal Holloway, University of London
• Cindy Nelson-Viljoen - University of Edinburgh
• Gulnara Tampayeva - Brunel University
• John Frame - University of Oxford
• Merve Alanyali - University of Warwick
• Samaneh Zandian - University of Warwick
• Santhy Balachandran - University of Oxford
• Serik Orazgaliyev - University of Cambridge
• Sungtak Hong - London Business School
• Uma Pradhan - University of Oxford

Engineering Sciences
• Alex Gibberd* - University College London
• Claudio Angione* - Teesside University
• Ahmed Abdalqader - University of Cambridge
• Asif Khan - University of Cambridge
• Christopher Noble - University of Sheffield
• Di Hu - University of Cambridge
• Elena Simone - Loughborough University
• Jinya Su - Loughborough University
• Marta Cecchinato - University College London
• Ozan Oktay - Imperial College London
• Sahin Yigit - Newcastle University
• Sebastian Seriani - University College London
• Shuqun Chen - Queen Mary University of London
• Yuanwei Liu - Queen Mary University of London

* Who were the finalists.