The British Science Association (BSA) has today, Thursday 21 December, announced its Honorary Fellowships for 2023. The accolade is awarded to Professor Jason Arday, Professor of Sociology of Education at the University of Cambridge, and Dr Jess Wade, Lecturer and Research Fellow in the Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College London.

Each year, staff, trustees, stakeholders and supporters of the BSA are invited to nominate individuals for an Honorary Fellowship. The Fellowship recognises people who have made a significant contribution to advancing the vision of the BSA – a future where science is more relevant, representative and connected to society.  

Hannah Russell, Chief Executive of the BSA, said:

“We are so pleased that Jason and Jess have accepted Honorary Fellowships of the BSA. They have both done pioneering work to support and champion equality, diversity and inclusion in science and society. What they also have in common is that they have both made a significant impact while in their twenties and thirties.

“We believe that it is important to reward and acknowledge the contributions made by future leaders, as well as people who are long-established in their careers. Jason and Jess have both achieved so much in advancing conversations about structural racism and sexism in science and society, and we are looking forward to working with them both for many years into the future, to advance our shared goal of creating a science community that represents all of society.”

Aged 37, Jason Arday became one of the youngest people ever appointed to a full Professorship at the University of Cambridge. Prior to working in the Faculty of Education at Cambridge, he was previously Professor of Sociology of Education at the University of Glasgow in the School of Education, College of Social Sciences.

Jason was diagnosed, at the age of three with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Global Development Delay which meant he was unable to speak until he was 11, or to read or write until he was 18. His work focuses on the areas of race and higher education, intersectionality and education, mental health and education, neurodiversity and cultural studies.

He is a Trustee of the Runnymede Trust, the UK’s leading Race Equality Thinktank and the British Sociological Association. Jason sits on the NHS Race and Health Observatory Academic Reference Group and the ITV Cultural Advisory Council. In Nov 2023, he was named the 4th most influential person with a disability in the UK on the Shaw Trust Disability Powerlist 100.  He will guest edit BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme on 30 December 2023.

Dr Jess Wade is an Imperial College Research Fellow investigating spin selective charge transport through chiral systems in the Department of Materials.

Her research considers new materials for optoelectronic devices, with a focus on chiral organic semiconductors. She currently works in SPIN-Lab at Imperial and previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Fuchter and Campbell groups at Imperial College London.

Outside of the lab, Jess is involved with several science communication and outreach initiatives. She is committed to improving diversity in science, both online and offline, and since the start of 2018 has written the Wikipedia biographies of women and people of colour scientists every single day. She has contributed more than 2,000 entries to date.

Prof. Jason Arday said

“I am truly humbled and honoured; this Fellowship means a hell of a lot, and truly caps what has been a pretty surreal year for me. Thank you so much to the staff and Trustees of the BSA for acknowledging my work and efforts I am immensely grateful to you all. I’m looking forward to continuing to support the work of the BSA as it strives to break down structural barriers that limit so many people’s inclusion in STEM. I would like to dedicate this Fellowship to all the amazing people doing such exceptional and impactful work to advance greater diversity and equality in STEM, Education and beyond".

Dr Jess Wade said

“I’m absolutely delighted to accept this Fellowship. I have been a loyal supporter of the British Science Association since early in my career and this is a huge honour. I’m really looking forward to working with the BSA team to support forthcoming events such as British Science Week’s 30th anniversary next March.”

The BSA has been awarding Honorary Fellowships since 2001. View the full list of current Fellows.