Two UCL academics named Blavatnik Award finalists for emerging scientific talent

Dr Andrew Saxe and Professor Jade Alglave
Dr Andrew Saxe and Professor Jade Alglave
Dr Andrew Saxe (UCL Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit and Sainsbury Wellcome Centre at UCL) and Professor Jade Alglave (UCL Computer Science) are among nine finalists in the 2023 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK.

The Blavatnik Awards celebrate the past accomplishments and future potential of the UK’s most innovative young scientists and engineers working in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry. For the sixth year of this award, the organisers received 77 nominations from 43 academic and research institutions across the UK.

Dr Andrew Saxe has been named a UK Finalist in Life Sciences for his contributions to the study of deep neural networks. Dr Saxe’s research provides insight into representation learning-the method by which systems discover and organise knowledge-in artificial and natural systems. This understanding of deep learning in the brain could help improve the performance of AI systems and lead to better treatments following injuries such as stroke or aid in teaching.

Dr Saxe said: "I am incredibly proud to be selected as a Blavatnik Finalist for Life Sciences 2023. It is an honour to be nominated and I am extremely thankful to all those who have mentored me in my career to date and to my remarkable colleagues in the lab."

Professor Jade Alglave has been named a UK finalist in Physical Sciences & Engineering for her work formalising the communications of computer chips and operating systems. Professor Alglave designed a methodology to develop mathematical models of concurrent systems-systems where multiple calculations are made within overlapping time frames-with the aid of a set of practical software tools. This work has had a profound impact on the architecture of concurrent systems, such as smartphones, data centres and operating systems.

Professor Alglave said: "I am thrilled that the methodology and tools that I started to develop with my colleague Luc Maranget nearly 15 years ago appear to be useful. I am grateful for UCL giving me the time and space to refine this methodology, and apply it in industry."

As Blavatnik Awards UK Finalists, both Dr Saxe and Professor Alglave will be granted a £30,000 cash prize at an award ceremony next month in Whitehall, London. Dr Saxe and Professor Alglave will also give scientific talks at a free public symposium at The RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) on Wednesday 1st March 2023.

The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK are supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and independently administered by the New York Academy of Sciences.

Sir Leonard Blavatnik, Founder and Chairman of Access Industries and head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, said: "I am proud to recognise and support these outstanding young scientists. Their pioneering research leads the way for future discoveries that will improve the world and benefit all humankind."