The British Science Association (BSA) today announces that its incoming President for 2021/22 is space scientist and science communicator, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

Maggie will take over the Presidency from Professor the Lord Ara Darzi of Denham and will give her Presidential Address at the British Science Festival, hosted by Anglia Ruskin University Chelmsford, on Thursday 9 September.

Maggie is a space scientist, science communicator and presenter of the BBC’s The Sky at Night. She is a past recipient of the BSA’s Award Lecture for Engineering, Technology & Industry (2008) and she will be the BSA’s first Black President.

At her Presidential Address at the Festival, Maggie will give a short talk on her ambitions for the future of space travel, before sitting down for a fireside chat. The interview format was used by the BSA for the first time last year when Lord Darzi’s Address was broadcast over YouTube in September 2020, and it offers a chance for audiences to hear a more intimate, first-hand exploration of the President’s career, background, interests and experiences, as well as their views on current issues for science and society.

Maggie Aderin-Pocock said: “It is a real honour to be taking up the mantle of President of the British Science Association. I’m a huge supporter of the BSA’s ambition of making science a part of everyone’s everyday lives. I truly believe there is an inner scientist in everyone, whatever their background, and science engagement plays an important role in making it accessible to all.”

Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association, said: “We are delighted to welcome Maggie as our incoming President. She has done so much to engage new audiences, young and old – on screen, in print and through live events. Her infectious enthusiasm and gift for communicating space science in a way that translates to everyone make her an authentic and relatable ambassador.”

The fireside chat will not only cover Maggie’s background and her interest in space travel, it will also address her role as one of the commissioners on the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) and its subsequent Report published earlier this year.

Katherine Mathieson said: “The BSA’s current mission is to transform the diversity and inclusivity of science, and based on the evidence we have gathered over the last four years – including the lived experiences of our staff and the community audiences we work with – we strongly believe that structural barriers exist within the STEM sector and beyond. We want to be an organisation that helps tackle social inequalities, including racism. As we have already publicly stated, our staff, our EDI Advisory Group, and Council were disappointed by the CRED Report.

“However, we feel it is important for the BSA to facilitate conversations – especially at the British Science Festival, which has at various points over its 190-year history, been a place for dialogue and debate – rather than shut down discussion on difficult topics. 

“Maggie has overcome many challenges in her own education and career journey – having a neurodiversity and being one of very few Black women in space science and engineering – and we look forward to working with her this coming year to address the broader issues of equality, diversity and inclusion in science.”

Maggie Aderin-Pocock added: “Racism is too important an issue not to be talked about and dealt with publicly; we cannot hide from it and must take it on – despite these often being uncomfortable conversations. I am very supportive of the BSA’s mission to transform the diversity and inclusivity of science and hope that together we can continue to drive forward conversations about, and action on, this important topic.”

Maggie Aderin-Pocock’s Presidential Address will take place on Thursday 9 September, from 19.30 – 20.30, at the Civic Theatre in Chelmsford City Centre.

For more information on the British Science Festival and to browse the full programme of events, visit: