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UCL neuroscientist named as ‘Woman of Outstanding Achievement’

14 March 2008

Professor Uta Frith (UCL Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience) features in the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology’s (UKRC) Women of Outstanding Achievement annual Photographic Exhibition.

Uta Frith

Now in its third year, the Women of Outstanding Achievement in SET Photographic Exhibition is designed to profile pioneering women in science, engineering and technology (SET) – a sector in which only 18.5 per cent of employees are female. The aim is to grow a collection of portraits of inspirational figures that encourage other women to take part and progress in a career within SET.

Professor Frith is one of the world’s leading experts in cognitive development, particularly autism, Asperger’s syndrome and dyslexia. She has published more than 200 research papers and six books, most recently ‘The Learning Brain’, with Dr Sarah-Jayne Blakemore (UCL Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience), which looks at how educators could improve teaching and learning outcomes by understanding more about children’s developing brains. She is currently researching the biological basis of social interaction with her husband and fellow neuroscientist, Professor Christopher Frith (UCL Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience). Both husband and wife are currently visiting professors at Aarhus University, Denmark, associated with the Niels Bohr Project ‘Interacting Minds – a biological basis’.

Professor Frith commented: “I didn’t always want to work in science but my interest in psychology took me down the scientific route and I became hooked. I’m keen to promote women in science because I don’t think many women realise just how flexible it is – you can try anything. I’m proud to be recognised for my contribution to women in science by the UKRC and hope that the exhibition will inspire others to not be afraid to go for it.”

Annette Williams, Director of the UKRC added: “There is a distinct lack of female role models in SET and this may discourage women from entering into and progressing in the sector. That’s why we’re so keen to profile outstanding women scientists and engineers like Uta Frith – to demonstrate that it is possible to succeed in what has traditionally considered to be a male discipline.”

Image: Professor Frith