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21 November 2005
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Birkbeck wins a 2005 Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education

Birkbeck, University of London has won one of this year's 21 Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education. The Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at the College has won the prize for its project Neuropsychological work with the very young: understanding brain function and cognitive development. The study of the relationship between the mind and the brain has become one of the most exciting areas of scientific inquiry. Birkbeck's brain research centre investigates the neural basis of human mental abilities (such as the perception of faces and objects, attention, memory, and language) with a specific emphasis on the early development of these abilities during infancy and childhood. The centre's research is socially, educationally, and clinically relevant as it includes the study of dysfunctional brain states resulting from developmental disorders (such as autism) or brain injury.

The Birkbeck team is led by Professors Martin Eimer, Mark Johnson, and Dr Denis Mareschal, but also includes a number of other leading scientists including Fred Dick, Michael Thomas, Gergely Csibra, and Jennifer Aydelott. The Master of Birkbeck, Professor David Latchman, commented: "This prize-winning project is a reflection of the College's commitment to research of international excellence, as well as being extremely important in the fields of science, medicine, and social and educational development. I congratulate the team on this well-deserved recognition of their outstanding work."

Research excellence is reflected by the centre's highly successful record in obtaining external research funding, the numerous prizes and awards won by members of the centre, and by the many publications in prestigious scientific journals. In addition, the centre has led in joint initiatives aimed at developing new research methods to investigate the infant brain. Members of the centre are also continuously active in research-led teaching, and in initiatives promoting the public understanding of psychology and neuroscience.

Members of the award winning team
Part of the award-winning team (from left to right): Professor Martin Eimer, Professor Mark Johnson, Leslie Tucker, Dr Denis Mareschal

The centre is unique in that it brings together research groups that share common goals while combining different methodological approaches and investigative techniques, which enable sharing of expertise across all levels of staff. This cross-fertilisation ensures good practice in one domain is transferred to other domains, maximising the potential impact of the research. The Centre also has numerous long-standing collaborations across the world with research institutes and hospitals devoted to the study and treatment of brain function and dysfunctions in children and adults.

Members of the Centre and their research teams will move to a new, jointly used, purpose-built research building in 2006, which will greatly facilitate ongoing collaborative research projects, thereby further strengthening the Centre's leading status in the field of cognitive and developmental neuroscience. 

The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education sit alongside the Queen's Awards for Industry in the nation's honours system. The Prizes were first awarded in 1994 and originated as a result of the commemorations for the 40th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne.

Last modified: 18/11/2005

 
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