The British Science Association has announced that psychologist Professor Dame Uta Frith is to be its next President. Uta will take up the role in September, succeeding current BSA President, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell.

Her year-long term will begin at the British Science Festival 2017, hosted by the Universities of Brighton and Sussex, where she will deliver the annual Presidential Address and host the Festival dinner, on Thursday 7 September.

The British Science Festival steering group has also named three other speakers for this year’s Festival to coincide with the launch reception which took place in Brighton on Thursday 6 April 2017.

Sir Anthony Seldon, the political historian and commentator on British political leadership as well as on education and contemporary Britain, has joined the line-up for this year’s British Science Festival, where he will discuss what he believes will be the fourth revolution in education – Artificial Intelligence.

Dr Giles Yeo, a Cambridge biochemist and TV presenter, and Steve Crabtree, Editor of BBC’s Horizon series, will discuss the topic of Giles latest Horizon episode - clean eating. At the Festival, Giles and Steve will delve into the diet fads from across the ages, as well as the health implications they have had and what we now know about the latest trends.

The launch reception, which was held in Hove Town Hall, was hosted by senior representatives from both universities and the British Science Association, as well as the new High Sheriff of East Sussex, Mrs Maureen Chowen.

Professor Dame Uta Frith, will give her Presidential Address at the British Science Festival on Thursday 7 September. In her Address she will analyse what makes humans inherently social and how we make decisions in groups, highlighting how biases effect choices and how we choose who to trust. Uta will propose that “going with our gut” might be the biggest lie of all.

Professor Michael Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Sussex said: “We have big plans for this year’s Festival and I’m excited that the countdown has now begun. 

“This is the biggest science showcase in the country and it's a tremendous honour to be hosting it in Brighton. It is such an excellent opportunity for us to show off the fantastic research happening here at University of Sussex, and for us to work alongside our partners at the British Science Association and the University of Brighton. I am really looking forward to this September.”

Professor Andrew Lloyd, Dean of the College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences from the University of Brighton, said: “The British Science Festival offers us a fantastic opportunity to shine a spotlight on the wide range of research and innovation taking place here at the two universities in Brighton every day. The emerging programme of events for the Festival is looking very exciting and I am sure that it will offer something to engage, challenge and entertain the thousands of visitors who attend.”

Uta said: "I am delighted to be asked to take up Presidency of the British Science Association for the coming year. It will bring along a host of new opportunities and challenges which I’m looking forward to tackling, particularly in regards to helping the Association place science as a fundamental part of society and culture, as this now more than ever, is of upmost importance.”

Uta is a developmental psychologist working at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London. She specialises in the studies of autism and dyslexia and has become a leading voice in her field, pioneering research into these conditions and authoring a number of books. Uta has also paved the way for women to advance in science, having been a major player in grassroots projects that encourage women into STEM by building their skills, confidence and giving them a platform. She has also featured in the media on many occasions, with her most notable work being the focal point of a number of Horizon documentaries, one of which she presented.

Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association said: “Uta has been a champion for both science and public engagement throughout her career. She is passionate about telling compelling, important stories from the frontline of scientific research. She supports colleagues and collaborators to work with public audiences. She has also worked hard to encourage women and other under-represented groups into science careers, and to tackle unconscious bias. For these reasons, I am delighted that Uta has accepted the prestigious role as President of the British Science Association for the coming year and I look forward to hearing her Address this September at the British Science Festival.”