University of Exeter Academics Lead the Way as Scientific Section Presidents for British Science Festival

University of Exeter Academics Lead the Way as Scientific Section Presidents for British Science Festival

(IN BRIEF) The British Science Association (BSA) has announced the selection of three experts from the University of Exeter as Scientific Section Presidents for the 2023 British Science Festival. Professor Tim Lenton will serve as the Geology President, focusing on Tipping Points in the climate system. Professor Elaine Bignell will lead as the Medical Sciences President, concentrating on antifungal drug resistance and fungal lung disease. Professor Katharine Tyler will be the Sociology and Social Policy President, examining inequalities related to major societal changes. The festival, hosted by the University of Exeter, will feature their research alongside other cutting-edge topics.

(PRESS RELEASE) EXETER, 15-May-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — University of Exeter, a public research university in Exeter, Devon, South West England, United Kingdom, announces that the British Science Association (BSA) has unveiled the distinguished lineup of Scientific Section Presidents for the upcoming 2023 British Science Festival.

Among the esteemed experts chosen for this prestigious role are Professor Tim Lenton, Professor Elaine Bignell, and Professor Katharine Tyler from The University of Exeter. Their selection as Scientific Section Presidents signifies their significant contributions to their respective scientific fields. In their positions, they will play a pivotal role in shaping the British Science Festival program, ensuring that it showcases the forefront of cutting-edge research and innovation from across the UK.

Taking place from September 7th to 10th, the British Science Festival 2023 will be hosted by the University of Exeter, marking a momentous occasion for the institution. Each of the appointed presidents will present their pioneering research during the festival, adding their expertise to the diverse range of talks, installations, and events.

Professor Tim Lenton, Founder of the Global Systems Institute and Chair in Climate Change and Earth System Science at the University of Exeter, will serve as the Scientific Section President for Geology. He will highlight his groundbreaking work on Tipping Points, exploring how certain ecological thresholds can positively impact climate change mitigation. Professor Lenton’s research on identifying tipping elements in the climate system has earned him recognition, including the Times Higher Education Award for Research Project of the Year in 2008.

Talking about the nomination, Professor Lenton said: “It’s an honour to be a part of the British Science Festival and to have the chance to show how science and action can help us get out of the climate crisis.

Professor Elaine Bignell, Professor of Medical Mycology and Co-Director (Research) for the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology at the University of Exeter, has been appointed as the Scientific Section President for Medical Sciences. Her research focuses on combating antifungal drug resistance and understanding fungal lung disease, with the ultimate goal of developing novel diagnostics and antifungal therapies.

Professor Bignell said: “In a world where technology is revolutionising the clinical toolkit, the threat of infectious disease still looms large. Antibiotics that were effective less than twenty years ago have rapidly become less useful and for some life-threatening infections, such as those caused by fungi, the therapeutic options have become very sparse indeed.”

“From safe-guarding patients to managing the impact of climate change on food security, a better understanding of the astonishing agility of microbes will allow us to invent new solutions that reroute challenging microbial trajectories. From Bugs to Drugs is an Exeter-based research project that exploits the natural tendency of fungi to rapidly adapt to stress and identifies chemical cul de sacs that block this process.”

Professor Katharine Tyler, an accomplished scholar in the field of critical race and ethnicity studies, has been nominated as the Scientific Section President for Sociology and Social Policy. Her research examines the impact of major societal changes, such as Brexit and COVID-19, on inequalities experienced by different communities in the UK. Professor Tyler’s work delves into issues of white racial identities, social class, postcolonialism, and Britishness, employing reflexive and multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork methods.

“I am delighted and honoured to be selected as the president for Sociology for the BSA. At this year’s festival, I shall showcase ‘Red, Amber, Green Britain’, an online exhibition of work produced by Helen Snell during her artist residency at the University of Exeter on an ESRC funded project that I led entitled: ‘Inequality, Identity and the Media in Brexit-Covid 19 Britain’ said Professor Tyler.

In the coming months, the British Science Festival 2023 program details, including information on booking free tickets to the Presidential addresses, will be announced, allowing attendees to engage with the cutting-edge research and insights presented by these esteemed Scientific Section Presidents.

To read the full list of Scientific Section Presidents for this year’s British Science Festival, visit:

To find out more about the British Science Festival, visit: or follow @BritishSciFest on Twitter for the latest updates.

Media contact:
Emily Sedgley

SOURCE: University of Exeter


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