Manchester graphene scientist wins prestigious science prize

Professor Sarah Haigh has been honoured by the Blavatnik Family Foundation in this year’s Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the United Kingdom.

Now in its fifth year, the awards are the largest unrestricted prize available to UK scientists aged 42 or younger. They are fast becoming internationally recognised among the scientific community as instrumental in expanding the engagement and recognition of young scientists, and providing a strong foundation on which science can prosper.

"The remarkable scientific talent and research in the UK grows stronger every year," commented Sir Leonard Blavatnik , Founder and Chairman of Access Industries and Head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation. "The brilliant, innovative work for which this year’s Laureates and Finalists are recognised and honoured improves our world for the better and further extends the boundaries of scientific knowledge and understanding."

Professor Nicholas B Dirks , President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences and Chair of the Awards Scientific Advisory Council, noted: "Society cannot surmount world crises like the COVID pandemic without science. It is critical that we continue to invest in science and these young, trailblazing scientists who have the energy, optimism, and brilliance to continue developing scientific solutions benefitting millions, even billions, of people.

"On behalf of the Academy, we are honoured to administer the Blavatnik Awards in the UK in its fifth year and we are thrilled to see a growing list of UK institutions submitting nominations since the program was established. We are also excited to honour six women in 2022."

In each of the three categories - chemistry, physical sciences and engineering, and life sciences - a jury of leading scientists from across the UK also selected two Finalists, who will each receive £30,000.

Professor Sarah Haigh received her award as a leading scientist in engineering and physical sciences for work at The University of Manchester. Professor Haigh is a pioneer in advancing transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques to explore various new types of nanomaterials for electronic and chemical applications. TEM is a tool to visualise the microscopic structure of materials.

Her work in advanced electron microscopy techniques, including new, atomic-resolution imaging methods for probing the behaviour of 2-dimensional materials, as well as for revealing chemical reactions in liquid environments, has significantly impacted the discovery of new nanomaterials. Her research has a broad range of applications, including next-generation electronic hardware, and have now been adopted by scientists worldwide.

The 2022 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK received 94 nominations from 47 academic and research institutions across the UK. The Blavatnik Awards in the UK sit alongside their global counterparts, the Blavatnik National Awards and the Blavatnik Regional Awards in the United States and the Blavatnik Awards in Israel , all of which honour and support exceptional early-career scientists.

By the close of 2022, the Blavatnik Awards will have awarded prizes totalling US$13.6 million. About 60% of all recipients are immigrants to the country in which they were recognised and hail from 48 countries across six continents, reflecting the Blavatnik Family Foundation’s recognition that important science is a global enterprise.

The 2022 Blavatnik Awards in the UK Laureates and Finalists will be honoured, as COVID-19 restrictions allow, at a black-tie gala dinner and ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London, currently scheduled for 28 February 2022. The following day, on 1 March 2022 from 11am to 6pm, the honourees will present their research with a series of short, interactive lectures at a free public symposium also to be held at the V&A.


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