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Saiful Islam, Professor of Materials Modelling in the Department of Materials, has been made an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association (BSA) for his work on new materials for lithium and sodium batteries, solid oxide fuel cells and perovskite solar cells in the field of energy.

Professor Saiful Islam

The 2022 BSA honours have been made across three themes that embody ‘the challenges of our time’:

  • Collaboration – for international collaboration, science diplomacy, and/or championing difference, and diverse views;
  • Energy – for progress and innovation in diversification, renewables, clean growth, energy efficiency and the energy crisis; and
  • Environment – for work in biodiversity, food production and food waste, greening urban environments or ocean conservation.

Saiful received his accolade for progress and innovation in Energy, alongside Professor Carole Mundell (the first woman to hold the post of Chief Scientific Adviser at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office) for Collaboration, and Gillian Burke (the biologist and TV presenter) for Environment.

In October, the BSA and UNBOXED conducted a survey asking 1,000 14-to-19-year-olds about their priorities for science, technology and innovation. Collaboration, energy and the environment came out as their top concerns.

'Communicating my work to a wide audience is extremely important'

‘I am delighted and very honoured to become an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association,’ Professor Islam said. ‘In addition to my research, I believe communicating my work to a wide audience is extremely important, and so I’m looking forward to reaching even more people through the Association.’

Saiful grew up in London and obtained his PhD from University College London. Before coming to Oxford, he was Professor of Materials Chemistry at the University of Bath.

He is a regular presenter at science events and international conferences, and gave the 2016 Royal Institution Christmas Lecture for the BBC. Earlier this year, he was awarded the 2022 Royal Society Hughes Medal, and he sits on the Board of Trustees of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

'People who exemplify great work'

Professor Sam Howison, Head of the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division at Oxford, said: ‘It is wonderful to see this recognition of Saiful's talents as an expositor and communicator of science. It is a critically important task to convey to a wider audience the excitement and wonder of scientific discovery, its power to explain the world around us, and its potential to address the great challenges of our times. Saiful and many other colleagues are leading that effort.’

Professor Hazel Assender, Head of the Department of Materials, said: ‘Saiful is producing world-class research of significant practical relevance for today’s challenges, such as in energy storage, and we are both very proud of, and happy for him, as his work is recognised by this honour from the British Science Association.’

Hannah Russell, Chief Executive of the BSA, congratulated all the 2022 Honorary Fellows, recognising the individual contributions each of the Fellows has made in ensuring their efforts make science more accessible and inclusive. She said:

‘Looking to the next generation, we found that 14- to 19-year-olds want the world of science to be focused on two things: developing strong collaborations, which could perhaps be attributed to the successes in creating the COVID-19 vaccine, and tackling the climate emergency.

‘We are therefore proud to platform Professor Mundell, Professor Islam and Gillian Burke, three people who exemplify great work in these areas. We look forward to involving them in our programmes, and learning from one another’, she said.

BSA Honorary Fellows

Previous Honorary Fellows of the BSA have included Sir David Attenborough, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, Dr Helen Sharman, Professor Alice Roberts, Professor Devi Sridhar and Wayne McGregor.

The full list of BSA Honorary Fellows can be found here

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