Yesterday evening (12 July), staff, friends and supporters of the University joined together at the annual Chancellor’s Dinner and Founders’ Awards for Excellence, which recognise the very best academic work at the institution.
Three members of the academic community from the College of Life and Environmental Sciences were shortlisted for awards - Professor Ole Jensen, Professor Tim Dafforn and Professor Iseult Lynch.
We are delighted to share the news that Professor Ole Jensen and Professor Tim Dafforn collected the Academic Advancement Award, and the Policy Advancement Award respectively.
Professor Ole Jensen, from the School of Psychology, was presented with the Joseph Chamberlain Award for Academic Advancement, by Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood, for his research focusing on investigating the functional role of brain oscillations in relation to human cognition. The contribution for which Professor Jensen is known internationally has been to demonstrate that alpha oscillations (9 – 13 Hz) inhibit task-irrelevant regions during various cognitive tasks. This inhibition serves to route processing resources to task-relevant regions so that the brain can focus its limited resources where needed. In this way his research has helped to unlock the mechanism by which the brain communicates from one region to another during complex everyday tasks requiring memory and attention.
Professor Tim Dafforn, from the School of Biosciences, was presented with the Charles Beale Award for Policy Advancement, by Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood, for his role in leading Her Majesty's Government policy-making efforts in entrepreneurship and SME growth. Professor Dafforn established a new entrepreneurship group within the business growth unit in BEIS and helped rebuild the SME support team in BEIS which had been previously downgraded. He was also made a permanent member of the BEIS executive committee ensuring that entrepreneurship and SME policy was at the heart of Government. Professor Dafforn was also nominated in the Business Advancement category.
Professor Iseult Lynch, from the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, was nominated for the Joseph Chamberlain Award for Academic Achievement, for her work on enhancing the scientific basis to understanding the safety of nanoscale materials, which are used in an enormous variety of everyday consumer and industrial products. Specifically, she has opened up the field of bio-nano science through the development of methods for assessing the “corona” of acquired proteins and other biomolecules that bind to the surfaces of nanomaterials. These coronas allow them to be recognised by and interact directly with organisms via specific molecular recognition pathways.
Other nominees from the College of Life and Environmental Sciences were Professor Dominique Moran (School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences), Dr Victoria Goodyear (School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences) and Josh Quick (School of Biosciences).
In creating the country’s first civic university, the University of Birmingham’s founders aimed to create an institution where ‘the most important work of original research should be continuously carried out’. The Founders’ Awards are named after some of our most influential founders and benefactors, and demonstrate that their principles and vision of a ‘great school of universal instruction’, where our groundbreaking research has true benefits locally, nationally, and internationally, are as alive today as they were in 1900, continuing to guide and inspire the University.
There are four award categories recognising Academic, Policy, and Business Advancement plus an additional award for Outstanding Early-Career Academic.
Now in their seventh year, the Founders’ Awards for Excellence provide an opportunity to recognise our stellar academic colleagues and celebrate their achievements with our most distinguished friends from business, politics, government, and academia.