UCL News


Dr Gemma Bale recognised with British Science Association award

20 June 2018

Dr Gemma Bale (UCL Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering) has been awarded The Isambard Kingdom Brunel Award Lecture for Engineering, Technology and Industry by the British Science Association (BSA) as part of its prestigious Award Lectures for 2018.

Dr Gemma Bale

Dr Bale has been recognised alongside six other top UK researchers for their cutting-edge work and engaging communication skills after a competitive selection process. They join an illustrious group of Award Lecture recipients that includes Professor Brian Cox (winner in 2006), Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock (UCL Physics & Astronomy and winner in 2008), and Professor Richard Wiseman (winner in 2002).

Each Award Lecture winner will be celebrated at the British Science Festival in Hull, where they will give a special talk about their innovative research.

Dr Bale will discuss the hugely important topic of brain injury in newborns, which is a leading cause of infant mortality. She will showcase her pioneering work applying an infrared light technique to monitor baby's brains, which is giving hope to the lives of many affected families.

On receiving the accolade, Dr Bale, said: "I'm so excited to be giving one of the Award Lectures this year. I'm really passionate about sharing the work we're doing in Medical Physics and showing how engineering can be used to positively impact peoples' lives, so I can't wait to do this in Hull!"

The Award Lectures have been presented at the British Science Festival since 1990. They celebrate and promote front line research being carried out in the UK by talented early-career scientists. The Awards recognise researchers' excellent communication skills and their ability to demonstrate the social and societal aspects of their work.

"We're delighted to announce this year's cohort of Award Lecturers. They're a hugely talented group who are at the forefront of their fields and who bring their research out from the labs and into the public domain, for everyone to share, learn from and enjoy," said Ivvet Modinou, Head of Engagement at the BSA.

"We received many high-quality applications, which made the decision process extremely tough. I wish them the best of luck for the coming year and I look forward to working with them all and hearing their fabulous talks at the British Science Festival this September."

In addition to winning this prestigious award, Dr Bale has previously been recognised through the UCL Provost's Engineering Engager of the Year award in 2015 for her work in communicating science to the public and more recently this year for a new public engagement platform she launched called MetaboLight (www.metabolight.org).

Dr Bale has also been selected as one of three British Science Association Media Fellows for 2018 from UCL Engineering and will be joining Professor Clare Elwell (UCL Medical Physics) and Professor Licia Capra (UCL Computer Science) in spending two to six weeks working at the heart of a media outlet such as the Guardian, BBC Breakfast or the Financial Times.

Professor Nigel Titchener-Hooker, Dean of UCL Engineering, said: "This award to Gemma recognises her enormous talents both as a truly pioneering engineer but also as a consummate communicator. Such a combination is a wonderful gift and this award is richly deserved both for the huge relevance of Gemma's studies but also for her descriptive eloquence." 



  • Dr Gemma Bale