Rising star awards for leading scientists

Two Edinburgh scientists have been recognised as rising stars in their fields after winning prestigious awards.

Image of Professors Sinead Farrington and Steve Brusatte

Professors Steve Brusatte and Sinéad Farrington have been announced as recipients of 2021 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK.

They have secured two of only three Laureates awarded to scientists in the UK.

Each will receive a £76,000 prize.

Global recognition

Now in their fourth year, the awards – the largest cash prize for scientists aged 42 or younger – recognise outstanding achievements in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering and Chemistry.

This year’s awards received 99 nominations from 49 academic and research institutions in the UK. A jury of leading scientists selected the three Laureates and six Finalists.

The prizes, established by the Blavatnik Family Foundation, are independently awarded by the New York Academy of Sciences – one of the oldest scientific societies in the US.

Particle physics

Professor Sinéad Farrington, Chair of Particle Physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy, has been named the Physical Sciences & Engineering Laureate.

Professor Farrington led an international team at CERN that advanced our understanding of the properties of the Higgs boson, the elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics that was discovered in 2012. The particle is named after Peter Higgs, Professor Emeritus at the University, who developed his theory of the particle in the early 1960s.

High energy physics is a collaborative endeavour involving very talented individuals from around the world, working together to build machines on a grand scale, and to analyse the data they generate to help us understand how the universe works at its deepest levels. I am privileged to have been able to contribute to this endeavour and to help provide some pieces of nature’s great puzzle, and I am honoured to receive this award.

Professor Sinéad FarringtonChair of Particle Physics

Palaeontology expert

The Life Sciences Laureate is Professor Steve Brusatte, Chair in Vertebrate Palaeontology in the School of GeoSciences.

A world-renowned palaeontologist and scientific author, Professor Brusatte has pioneered research that aims to improve our understanding of the extinction of dinosaurs and the origins of birds. 

I’m incredibly honoured to receive a Blavatnik Award. It's wonderful to be recognised alongside a fellow Edinburgh scholar, and it's testament to the welcome environment and amazing colleagues and students we have here at the university, whether we study palaeontology or particle physics or anything in between.

Professor Steve BrusatteChair in Vertebrate Palaeontology

Award ceremony

This year’s Laureates and Finalists will be honoured at a ceremony in London on 8 June 2021, should pandemic restrictions allow.

The following day, they will present their research at a free public symposium. To attend, visit:

The UK has always been recognised and admired for its scientific excellence. Each of this year’s Blavatnik Awards honourees is a rising star in their respective fields and it is a great pleasure to give them the global recognition they so richly deserve.

Sir Leonard BlavatnikHead of the Blavatnik Family Foundation and member of the President’s Council of the New York Academy of Sciences

Related links

Blavatnik Awards

School of Physics and Astronomy

School of GeoSciences

New York Academy of Sciences