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Over a hundred people attended the Society of Biology Annual Award Ceremony on Thursday 17th October at the King's Fund. The event celebrated the achievements of our members and biology enthusiasts who have engaged with the Society throughout the year.

The evening began with the Animals in Research student essay writing competition. Tim Jameson, Covance, who judged the entries alongside Ian Garrod, The Learning Curve, presented the awards to Carmel Edwards and Emily Robertson for their essays entitled: What ethical issues surround the use of animals in research, and how might these be better addressed? Jan Botthof for his essay entitled: What are the challenges and issues of using animal studies to predict human safety? James Iremonger was unable to attend, but also won for his essay entitled: How can scientists promote greater public understanding and acknowledgement of the link between animal research and medical advances?

Top graduates

The next awards were for top graduates from the Society of Biology accredited degree programmes, presented by accreditation manager Paul Trimmer. These students displayed exceptional academic excellence in their studies. The top graduates were: Sam Menzies, University of Bristol; Alice Pollard, Royal Veterinary College; Robin Willows, University of York (left).

Well done to fellow winners Carla Bradley, University of Liverpool; Florence Gower, University of Birmingham; Philip Riddell, University of Manchester; Haroon Khan, University of Sheffield.

The inaugural Book Awards celebrating outstanding textbooks and general bioscience books were presented by William Marshall, the clinical director of pathology and consultant clinical biochemist at The London Clinic. The shortlist was announced last month and the winners were revealed on the night. The best undergraduate textbook prize went to Physical Biology of the Cell by Rob Phillips, Hernan Garcia, Julie Theriot and Jane Kondev. Published by Garland Science. Shortlisted entries in the postgraduate category were of such a high standard that the judges awarded a Highly Commended mention to Evolutionary Perspectives on Pregnancy by John C Avise, Columbia University Press. The overall winner was Landslide Ecology by Lawrence R Walker and Aaron B Shiels. Cambridge University Press commissioning editor Dominic Lewis collected the award on behalf of the authors.

The final book award for top general biosciences book was awarded to Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen. Publishing director of The Bodley Head, Stuart Williams, collected the award on behalf of David.

The winners of the Society of Biology photography competition were then announced, and, with over 600 entries, the judges had a tough decision to make. This was introduced by Catherine Draycott, head of Wellcome Images and chair of the photography competition judging panel for the past 4 years.

Young Photographer of the year:

  • Highly commended: Squirrel Feast by Rebecca Condruti
  • Runner-up: Genetic Engineering by Gabija Vyšniauskaitė
  • Winner: Jumping Spider Eats Insect by Jack Settle (below)

Jack Settle Jumping Spider Eats Insect

Young Photographer Jack Settle, was especially pleased to receive his award in person, as he was also visiting the UK for the first time alongside his mother, Sonja. After attending the parliamentary reception on Wednesday he had an exciting week planned of tourist attractions, dinner parties and, of course, taking a lot more photos. His home town in Oklahoma, USA, are said to be very proud of Jack being shortlisted, and he was featured in his local newspaper prior to finding out he had won the award.

Photographer of the Year:

  • Highly commended: Dinner Plate by Kristhian Castro Valencia
  • Runner-up: The Fishermen by Debdatta Chakraborty
  • Winner: Hunting Nectar by Putu Sudiarta (below)

Putu Sudiarta Hunting nectar

The final set to be rewarded were for the Science Communication Awards, sponsored by the Wellcome Trust, and presented by Dr Steve Cross, head of public engagement at University College London.

Our New Researcher award winner Rebecca Williams (below centre) is a developmental biology PhD student at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Matrix Research (WTCCMR), Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester. Rebecca spoke about starting Fastbleep Biology, an organisation that runs workshops for local primary and secondary schools and her work as a demonstrator at the Manchester Museum. She also described her previous work as a Widening Participation Fellow at Manchester University, developing workshops for the Manchester Gateway programme: a scheme to encourage students from under-representative backgrounds to consider a university education.

Becky W and Sheena CThe Established Researcher Science Communication Award went to Dr Sheena Cruickshank (right), a lecturer in immunology from the University of Manchester's Faculty of Life Sciences. Sheena brought worms along to demonstrate her successful initiative 'Worm Wagon', which combines art and interactive activities to improve science understanding and raise awareness of global health issues. She also works with 'Inspired Sisters,' a community group of immigrant women from across the world to raise awareness of the causes and impacts of worm infection.


Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to all the judges for all their hard work.

The Society would like to thank the Wellcome Trust for their support of the Science Communication Awards.