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Two early career academics win coveted Ronald Tress Prize

The prize, which rotates its area of focus each year, this year awarded excellence in science.

Winners of the 2024 Ronald Tress Prize: Panagiotis Charalampopoulos (left) and Eleanor Jennings (right)
Winners of the 2024 Ronald Tress Prize: Panagiotis Charalampopoulos (left) and Eleanor Jennings (right)

Eleanor Jennings, Lecturer in the School of Natural Sciences, and Panagiotis Charalampopoulos, Lecturer in the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, have been awarded Birkbeck’s 2024 Ronald Tress Prize.  

As well as highlighting excellence in research by early career academics, the prize celebrates the legacy of Professor Ronald Tress CBE, a hugely influential economist, who founded the Department of Economics, Mathematics and Statistics and was Master of Birkbeck, from 1968 to 1977. 

Eleanor Jennings 

Since starting at Birkbeck in 2018, Eleanor has developed an outstanding profile for independent research within the field of geological and planetary sciences, exploring processes related to the Earth's mantle and she is now extending her work to study processes occurring on Mars. Her methods involve combining complex laboratory analysis of real samples (including meteorites) with computational modelling of the chemical and physical processes and a model she developed is used extensively in the field and has been cited over 200 times.  

The panel commented: “Eleanor is clearly a rapidly emerging expert in her field and secured the prize on that basis, and in addition to this her collegiate attitude and wider contribution to Birkbeck was notable within her nomination. 

Eleanor Jennings said: “I'm really pleased to have my research recognised with this award of the Tress prize. I have the privilege of being able to research topics that are truly interesting to me, specifically on how the chemistry of tiny minerals and frozen magma hold information about big-picture planet formation and evolution processes. I have worked in several different topics with a variety of brilliant collaborators who have really supported my journey to becoming an independent researcher.” 

Panagiotis Charalampopoulos 

Panagiotis joined the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences in June 2022. Since then, he has published eleven conference papers through major, peer reviewed proceedings alongside two journal articles. Conference papers are a major output type in this fast-moving discipline and these outputs include one in a flagship international venue for theoretical computer science, and two others which won best paper awards. His research focuses on algorithms for approximate pattern matching of strings (sequences of letters) and on planar graphs. Notably, Panagiotis together with his collaborators Tomasz Kociumaka and Philip Wellnitz broke through a barrier which had been standing for more than 20 years in the area of approximate pattern matching. 

The panel remarked: “The amount Panagiotis has managed to achieve in such a short time, and the potential to use his research to solve longstanding problems both in the field and in the real world meant we felt he was a very worthy recipient of the prize. 

Panagiotis Charalampopoulos commented: “I am honoured to have received the Ronald Tress Prize. It is a very welcome recognition of my efforts and gives me extra motivation to pursue my research going forward. 

In winning the Ronald Tress Prize, Eleanor Jennings and Panagiotis Charalampopoulos join a list of academics with equally fascinating and excellent research areas. The most recent award holders have included Dr Grace Halden (Creative Arts, Culture and Communication),Dr Benedetta Crisafulli(Social Sciences), Dr Daniel Yon(STEM), and DrsBenjamin Grey, Imke Henkeland Kojo Koram, who were jointly awarded the Tress Prize for Arts and Humanities. Other former prize winners include Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Birkbeck,Professor Matt Innes, Professor Anthony Baleand Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research,Professor Julian Swann. 

The prize aims to award excellence in Social Sciences in 2025. 

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