The IRIS Awards 2023

Celebrating young researchers and the those that inspired them

September 2023

Thursday, 28th September – We celebrated talented and dedicated young researchers and the teachers and partners who inspired them at the IRIS Awards ceremony at the Crick Institute in London.


Dame Kate Bingham, who led the UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce during the Covid pandemic, presented the awards and shared her appreciation for the bright young stars.


The following winners were announced:


Best Research Project


Young researchers from King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys used machine learning algorithms, essentially AI, to classify proton-to-proton collision events as part of our Big Data: ATLAS project. Their creative approach to the research impressed particle physicists from the University of Oxford and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Best Researcher


Selma, from Liverpool Life Sciences UTC, showcased a viable application of DNA origami with her unique research project. Through the development of a DNA nano-dentist robot which creates enamel, she aims to improve dentistry. Through her research, she discovered a passion for nanotechnology research.

Best Research Team


A group of researchers from Derby College explored different governments’ responses to the Covid pandemic and the impact various restrictions had on the number of Covid deaths. The students worked together to complete research as part of their T-levels. Driven by their own research questions, they demonstrated tremendous teamwork and self-motivation.

Outstanding Teacher


Jayne Pierre, a science teacher from Dixons Academy Sixth Form in Bradford, has an infectious passion for research. She has encouraged students who have never done research previously to produce original and imaginative work. Our team has witnessed the impressive impact on her students, including increased confidence and aspirations.

Outstanding Partner


Professor Alan Barr, Professor of Particle Physics at the University of Oxford, and his team at the University and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory developed Big Data: ATLAS. This IRIS project provides a unique opportunity for IRIS students to learn key skills in Python programming to answer important questions in particle physics.


Alan and his team have continued to evolve the project by refining code, refreshing resources and responding to feedback from students and teachers. The outcome for students has been extraordinary, directly influencing their university course choices.

Community Impact


Dr Alex Ball from the Natural History Museum and Dr James Perkins from Queens Elizabeth’s Grammar School were recognised for their continued efforts to facilitate and support the use of a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) in schools across England and Scotland. The impact of their work continues to be far-reaching, expanding to more schools each year. They’ve enabled hundreds of students to embark in original research, including some which have been recognised nationally.


From protons to robots, take a look at the individuals that impressed us in 2023.




IRIS projects support students and teachers, wherever they are on their research journey.