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Ronald Tress Prize awarded to exceptional early career academics

Dr Ali Burak Güven, Dr Lara Maister and Dr Florian Steinberger won the Prize in the categories of Social Sciences, Sciences, and Arts and Humanities, respectively.

Birkbeck has awarded the Ronald Tress Prize to an exceptional candidate from the social sciences, the sciences, and the arts and humanities. The Prize celebrates excellence in research by early career academics, as well as the legacy of Professor Ronald Tress CBE, Master of Birkbeck from 1968 to 1977. 



“I started off as a comparative political economist but in recent years my research has steered more towards international political economy and especially international organisations. I submitted three articles for the Ronald Tress Prize which explore different aspects of the rise of new powers in the global economy, from the changing constraints upon development policy to adaptive strategies of established institutions of Western multilateralism such as the IMF and the World Bank. I am off to Washington, DC in Spring on a British Academy grant to conduct fieldwork at the World Bank along those lines. Once that is done I will return to my comparativist roots and complete my long overdue monograph on Turkish neoliberalism.

“I was raised in Turkey, though I spent most of my adult life in Canada where I also completed my PhD, at the University of Toronto. The UK academy is very distinctive and can be challenging for newcomers, but Birkbeck offers a world-class research environment and my colleagues in the Department of Politics have been particularly supportive. They deserve a huge chunk of the credit for this prize.”


“I completed an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences in 2007, followed by a PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge where I investigated episodic memory retrieval in children with autism. In 2011, I began my postdoctoral research career where I developed my current research focus on body representation and embodied social cognition. I joined the Department of Psychological Sciences at Birkbeck as a Lecturer in January 2017, where I am affiliated with the Body Representation Laboratory of Professor Matt Longo.

“I am fascinated with intersubjectivity and body representation, most recently in developing infants as well as adults. My current research is primarily focussed on the distinction and integration of self- and other-representations during social interactions. Another branch of my research focusses on interoception, our sensitivity to physical sensations from inside our bodies. I use a range of behavioural, physiological and neuroscientific measures in my research, including electroencephalography (EEG), cardiac measurement, psychophysics and bodily illusions.

“It is a great honour to win the Ronald Tress Prize, and I am ever grateful for the opportunity to develop my scientific investigations at Birkbeck in such a stimulating research environment.”


“I joined the Philosophy Department at Birkbeck in 2015. Before that, I was Assistant Professor in Logic and Philosophy of Language at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy. Prior to that, I held a Junior Research Fellowship at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where I also received my PhD in 2009. 

"My research of late has focused chiefly on the question as to how formal theories (logic, in particular) tell us something about how we ought to reason, and how a better understanding of these norms sheds light on foundational questions in epistemology and the philosophy of logic. I have published a number of papers on various related topics (including, for interested readers, a survey paper in the Stanford Encyclopaedia) and am currently working on a book. 

"It’s a great honour to be awarded the Ronald Tress Prize. Research and writing can be a solitary activity at times and feedback is often scarce, it is very gratifying therefore for one’s work to be recognized in this way."

There were also several notable runners-up, all strong up-and-coming researchers in the College: Duncan Jackson, Rebecca Whiting, Pedro Gomes, Philip Van Strandmann, Sarah Marks and Sarah Thomas. 

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