2019 ABTA Doctoral Researcher Awards
On May 11th, a very special event took place at UCL which put an end to the agony of the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre.
Gustave Tuck, though being the centre point for numerous academic activities in the UCL, has been in deep sorrow for years. Not being the chosen event venue for the UK's most distinct junior academic event, the UK Doctoral Researcher Awards, had made Gustav both sad and jealous (of Darwin Lecture Hall, his rival). Finally, after 8 years of separation Gustav came ahead of Darwin for getting the honour of being the host venue in this year's competition. The joy of Gustav Lecture Theatre was beyond words. He welcomed the brightest PhD candidates of the UK with open arms.

The 8th UK Doctoral Researcher Awards ceremony started with finalists presenting their jaw dropping PhD research. The presentations were delivered in three categories: Natural & Life Sciences, Management & Social Sciences and Engineering Sciences. The presentations and the following Q&As demonstrated the incredible level of intellectual power of both the finalists and the audience. As the morning session closed, the passion for intellectual inquiry only became more intense and the discussions continued in the poster hall during the noon break.

In the noon break, both the audiences and the awardees had plenty of opportunities for furthering the research discussions while groups of referees went around the posters to select the best poster in each category.

In the afternoon, the happiest being (among the non-living beings) was, again, the Gustav Lecture Theatre. Tears of joy came out of his eyes when Dr Mark Ainslie took the stage as the key note speaker of the award ceremony. It was a touching moment. The very man who, 8 years ago, had won the 1st place in the 1st DRA competition was once again on the same stage. But this time not as a student but as a faculty member in the Engineering Department of University of Cambridge. Dr Mark Ainslie, after his successful PhD years, embarked on an even more successful career in engineering researching the superconducting materials. In his inspiring talk, he informed the audiences on the state of art advances in the superconducting technology including his world record breaking achievement of confining the highest magnetic field measured in a superconductor. Following this, he shared his own experience of launching an extremely successful research career and advised the young audiences on their soon coming chapters of life should they want to stay in the academia. Dr Ainslie then handed the winners of the Natural & Life Science category their awards.

Afternoon session continued without stopping with Dr Nastaran Ranjbar taking the stage. Dr Ranjbar, the managing editor of the materials/chemistry section of the Springer Nature Applied Sciences (SNAS) journal, informed the audience about the vision of SNAS and the role it is going to take in the dissemination of applied science research. She also talked about the commencement of the new collaboration between ABTA and SNAS for the DRA 2019 with the goal of fostering scientific excellence among junior academics. This collaboration was made possible through the joined efforts of Dr Ranjbar and Dr Fabien Massabuau from the DRA 2019 Scientific Executive Committee. After her speech, Dr Ranjbar handed the winners of Management & Social Sciences category their awards.

In the last phase of the grand ceremony, Dr Bilal Gokpinar, the director of ABTA made important closing remarks highlighting the point that DRA is one of its kind event which brings together the top level junior researchers who come from extremely diverse backgrounds. After giving the Engineering sciences awardees their awards, he informed the audience of the upcoming ABTA events (such as the academic trip, ABTA annual lunch etc.) and encouraged the young researchers to spread the word for the next year's DRA competition.

Winners

Management & Social Sciences
1st Asli Unan – King's College London
When the Policies Get Reserved
2nd Miles Kellerman – University of Oxford
Surveillance Games: The International Political Economy of Combatting Transnational Market Abuse
3rd Nikita Makarchev – University of Cambridge
Justice Re-energized? Meritocratic Governance in China and Russia's State-Owned Enterprises

Engineering Sciences
1st Emily Cross – University of Glasgow
Controlling the Self-Assembly and Properties of Hydrogels
2nd Piyush Mohanty – University of Surrey
Midspan Collapse of Pile Supported Bridges In Case of Earthquake
3rd Suchandirma Das – University of Oxford
Characterizing Irradiation Damage in Tungsten

Natural & Life Sciences
1st Giampaolo Pitruzzello – University of York
Multiparameter Antimicrobial Susceptibility Test Based On Hydrodynamic Trapping of Single E. coli
2nd Guanjie He – University College London
Targeted Designs of Materials for Energy Storage and Conversion
3rd Tochukwu Ozulumba – University of Brighton
Graphene and MXene Nanomaterials For Biomedical Remediation

Honourable Mentions

Management & Social Sciences
Arushi Garg (Finalist) - University of Oxford
Tana Licsandru (Finalist) - University of Manchester
John Kenny - University of Oxford
Natia Sopromadze - University of Warwick
Linda Eggert - University of Oxford
Noura Wahby - University of Cambridge

Engineering Sciences
Fatih Gulec (Finalist) - University of Nottingham
Edris Joonaki (Finalist) - Heriott-Watt University
Heider A.Hussein - University of Bermingham
Ilaria Soriano - Heriott-Watt University
Aditya Chauhan- University of Cambridge
Rahmat Mulyawan - University of Oxford
Andrea Cassinelli - Imperial College London
Luis Montesinos - University of Warwick
Matteo Marchionni - Brunel University London

Natural & Life Sciences
Valeria Quaranta (Finalist) - University of Liverpool
Can Cetin Evirgen (Finalist) - Newcastle University
Laura Wadkin - Newcastle University
James Hindley - Imperial College London
Aminu Bature - Birmingham City University
Michael Edward James Preedy - Queen Mary University
Katerina Hristova - University of Warwick
Pradeep Dheerendra - Newcastle University
Imad Faruque - University of Bristol




Supporter of Doctoral Researcher Awards
Springer Natural Applied Sciences (SNAS) rewarded the finalists with book vouchers (in addition to previously announced ABTA DRA awards)
For questions and comments please e-mail info@abtanet.org.uk