We are delighted to announce this year’s cohort of Media Fellows. 

Running since 1987, the British Science Association Media Fellowships provide a unique opportunity for practising scientists and clinicians to spend two to six weeks working at the heart of a media organisation in the UK. 

Taking up placements this year are: 

Dr Phil Porter, University of Hertfordshire (sponsored by University of Hertfordshire) 

Phil is a Reader in Geoscience at the University of Hertfordshire. His research focuses on the response of glaciers to environmental change and, as a result, he has led and participated in numerous scientific expeditions to locations ranging from the Arctic to the high peaks of the Himalayas. 

Dr Catrin Rutland, University of Nottingham (sponsored by University of Nottingham) 

Catrin is Associate Professor of Developmental Genetics and Anatomy at The University of Nottingham. She researches cardiac and angiogenesis related disease and development. She undertakes a lot of public outreach and is also a published popular science and science fiction author, blending her love of sharing science and writing. 

Dr Bana Shriky, University of Bradford (sponsored by University of Bradford) 

Bana is an aspiring science communicator who was trained as a pharmacist before obtaining a PhD in process engineering. She is a characterisation specialist at the Centre for Advanced Materials Engineering at the University of Bradford, researching soft matter properties for applications ranging from drug delivery to efficient plastics recycling. 

Dr Lena Ciric, University College London (sponsored by UCL Engineering) 

Lena has studied the microbes present in many environments, from diesel contaminated groundwater to the human mouth. She now holds an Associate Professor post at UCL, studying the microbes living in buildings and designing engineering solutions that reduce the spread of infectious disease and improve environmental health. 

Dr Anna Ploszajski, University College London (sponsored by UCL Engineering) 

Anna is an award-winning materials scientist, engineer and communicator. By day, she is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Making, researching 4D printing and metamaterials. By night, she communicates materials science on stage, radio, TV and on the page. 

Dr Giulia Barbareschi, University College London (sponsored by UCL Engineering) 

Giulia is a post-doctoral Disability & Assistive Technology researcher at the UCL Interaction Centre. Her research focuses on how to develop better assistive technologies by involving users more in their creation, and how to increase access to assistive technologies for people with disabilities living in low to middle income countries. 

Dr Michelle Fernandes, University of Southampton (sponsored by University of Southampton) 

As a scientist and a paediatrician, Michelle’s research focuses on early child development. She has developed new tools to measure child development, which have been used in 13 countries to monitor skills in healthy children, as well as those affected by malnutrition and illnesses such as Zika and Chikungunya. 

Dr Natalie Masento, University of Reading (sponsored by Nutrition Society)  

Natalie is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University of Reading. Natalie works as an interdisciplinary researcher, applying a psychology perspective to food, nutrition and health. Her research involves creating exciting methods such as games and interactive books to communicate and inspire people about healthy eating and lifestyle. 

Joshua Kent, University of Cambridge (sponsored by University of Cambridge School for Clinical Medicine) 

Josh is a Research Assistant at Cancer Research UK – Cambridge Institute, where he analyses various types of samples looking for drugs and biomarkers involved in cancer treatment. When not in the lab, he spends his time baking, reading and sailing. 

Dr Martin Mangler, University of East Anglia (Sponsored by University of East Anglia) 

Martin is a Lecturer in Volcanology at the University of East Anglia and Scientific Associate at the Natural History Museum London. He received his PhD from Imperial College for his work on Popocatepetl Volcano (Mexico). His research interests are the driving forces behind volcanic eruptions and volcanic risk communication. 

Dr Aditi Kar, Royal Holloway University of London (sponsored by Royal Holloway) 

Aditi is a research mathematician working in geometric group theory, a field that exploits the symbiosis of geometry and algebra to study symmetry in the world around us. Aditi is based at Royal Holloway University of London. When not engaged in mathematical thoughts, Aditi likes to sing opera or go for long walks in the country with her Labrador. 

Dr Duncan Mascarenhas, Edinburgh Napier University (sponsored by Edinburgh Napier University) 

Duncan is an Associate Professor of Sport Psychology & Coaching. He is a Chartered Psychologist with 20 years of experience working with elite sports officials, providing psychological support to the Rugby Football Union Elite Referee UnitHis research has focused on developing decision making under pressure and game management in match officials. Duncan is a former video producer and uses his expertise in video production and editing to develop online learning materials for coaches & sports officials. 

Michael Pascoe, Cardiff University (Sponsored by Society of Applied Microbiology) 

Mike is based at Cardiff University where he researches new ways to kill microbes and prevent infections. He loves public engagement and has helped develop several outreach projects for young people in South Wales. He’s looking forward to learning how the media can improve the impact of scientific research. 

A 2017 Fellow talks about her experience at the Media Fellowship 30th anniversary party in the House of Commons

The Fellowships help to bridge the communication gap between journalists and scientists, address the misunderstanding and mistrust between them and, in the long-term, aims to improve the quality and quantity of science and engineering stories in the press. 

This year, Media Fellows are undertaking placements at a range of well-known media organisations, such as Sky News, The Guardianthe BBC and The Daily Mail. 

After their placement, the Fellows will be heading to the University of Warwick to report at the British Science Festival as part of the press team. This gives them with an opportunity to put their new-found skills to the test and allows them a chance to work alongside professional journalists from a large variety of outlets in our dedicated press centre. 

In the future, we hope our Fellows will go back to their institutions and share and disseminate what they have learnt to their colleagues and peers. 

Find out more about our Media Fellowships.