Elsevier and US-UK Fulbright Commission recognize seven talented Early Career Researchers in the UK

This year’s awards highlight ECR achievements in coronavirus and HIV pathobiology, energy access and sustainable development, digital ethics and data preservation, condensed matter physics and educational psychology

London, November 16, 2020

Elsevier, in partnership with the US-UK Fulbright Commission, today announced the winners of the UK Early Career Researcher Awards 2020. The ECR Awards champion researchers at an early stage in their career by recognizing their work and awarding each recipient a grant of £1,500. This year’s winners were recognized in a virtual awards ceremony, hosted by science writer and broadcaster Vivienne Parry, OBE and attended by leading experts in higher education from across the UK, the EU and the US.

Established to support the growth and development of research talent globally, this year’s UK ECR Awards come at a time when the academic community is facing unprecedented uncertainty and requiring more support than ever. This is especially apparent among young researchers, with a recent survey of UK early career researchers revealing that two-thirds of respondents felt “very worried” about the future of their career, in light of changes caused by the pandemic and half of respondents felt stressed about their work.1

Elsevier and the US-UK Fulbright Commission remain committed to recognizing and rewarding outstanding young researchers that are making a significant contribution to their field of research, especially during this challenging time, and also recognizing the institutions enabling their work.

The UK Early Career Researcher Awards program comprises two award categories:

  • Recognition early career researchers across six research disciplines. Winners are chosen by an expert panel of judges based on their profiles in Scopus, (Elsevier’s curated abstract and citation database).
  • The Researchers’ Choice Communication Award (RCCA) recognizes early career researchers with excellent communication skills.

The six winners of the Scopus Early Career Researcher Award 2020 are:

  • Arts and Humanities: Dr. Carl Öhman, from the University of Oxford, who has researched areas including digital ethics and data preservation.
  • Biochemistry, Genetics, Molecular Biology: Dr. Yasunori Watanabe, from the University of Oxford, who has researched areas including HIV and coronavirus pathobiology.
  • Environmental Science: Dr. Iwona Bisaga, from University College London and Loughborough University, who has conducted research on topics such as energy access and sustainable development.
  • Medicine: Lewis Steell, from the University of Glasgow, who has explored areas including physical activity and cardiovascular risk and risk factors for obesity and type 2 diabetes, in his research.
  • Physical Sciences: Dr. Matthew Hamer, from the University of Manchester, who has researched various aspects of condensed matter physics.
  • Social Sciences: Dr. Lisa Bardach, who recently attended the University of York and has conducted research in educational psychology with a specific focus on students' and teachers' cognitive and non-cognitive characteristics (e.g., motivation), the role of teachers and teaching quality in promoting students' adaptive development, and teacher selection, recruitment and professional development.

The winner of the Researchers’ Choice Communication Award 2020 is:

  • Dr. Karen Mak, from University College London, who has researched areas including the association between the arts and cultural community engagement and health/wellbeing.

The theme of this year’s award ceremony was international collaboration, which was discussed by an expert panel, including: Prof. Andrew Thompson, Professor of Global Imperial History at the University of Oxford; Prof. Joanne E. Berger-Sweeney, President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience; and Prof. Sir Steve Smith, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter, Professor of International Studies and the UK’s International Education Champion and moderated by Vivienne Parry, OBE. The group of experts highlighted the importance of sharing expertise and enabling collaboration across borders; despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic.

Kumsal Bayazit, CEO of Elsevier, said: “The UK is an innovation powerhouse, thanks to the quality of its research talent who make a critical contribution to addressing some of the biggest challenges facing society and our planet. Elsevier is proud to support young researchers through our UK Early Career Researcher Awards, as well as our data science scholarships in partnership with Fulbright. I congratulate all the winners and hope these awards help empower and encourage these talented researchers to continue their efforts and make a lasting impact to the future of research and innovation.”

“We are pleased to once again partner with Elsevier to celebrate and support talented researchers to advance knowledge and make a positive impact on society,” said Maria Balinska, Executive Director of the US-UK Fulbright Commission. “Through the awards we hope to recognize the significant contribution of early career researchers, as well as the institutions enabling them to progress in their careers.”

Elsevier and the US-UK Fulbright Commission have partnered in hosting the awards since 2011.


Notes to editors
1Source:SMaRteN and Vitae research (2020). Covid-19: Impact on Researchers. (last viewed: November 2020).

The Elsevier Fulbright Early Career Researcher Award aims to reward the talent, knowledge and expertise of early career researchers. Candidates are shortlisted based on their Scopus data and winners are selected by a jury panel consisting of discipline experts.

In 2015, Elsevier introduced a new category, the Researchers’ Choice Communication Award (RCCA), to recognize the importance of outstanding skills in communicating research. This award is based on nominations received by the research community for early career researchers, who have gone above and beyond to communicate the purpose, meaning and impact of their research to the wider public.


About the US-UK Fulbright Commission
The US-UK Fulbright Commission works to advance knowledge, promote civic engagement and develop compassionate leaders through education exchange between the peoples of the US and the UK. It is the only academic awards programme that operates on both sides of the Atlantic, providing grants for postgraduate study, research and teaching. Since 1948, thousands of British and American citizens have participated in our programmes, enriching their educations, developing relationships, advancing their careers and making a difference in their communities, at home and abroad.

Through the US-UK Fulbright Commission’s Summer Institutes, American undergraduates with little or no experience abroad have the opportunity to participate in themed summer schools across the Atlantic, and in partnership with the Sutton Trust, the Commission delivers the Sutton Trust US Programme for high-achieving, low-income UK secondary school students to explore US higher education. As part of the global EducationUSA network, the Fulbright Commission offers UK students free, comprehensive and impartial information about applying to study at accredited universities in the US. www.fulbright.org.uk

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. www.elsevier.com

Media contact
Jonathan Davis
Elsevier Communications, Europe
+31 20 485 2719