Three academics at UCL have been awarded prestigious 2021 Philip Leverhulme Prizes for their internationally recognised work in neuroscience, politics, and earthquake mechanics.
Dr Tobias Hauser (UCL Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging), Dr Inken von Borzyskowski (UCL Political Science), and Dr Nicolas Brantut (UCL Earth Sciences) have each been awarded a prize worth £100,000. Each year the Leverhulme Trust gives out 30 such prizes to exceptional researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future careers are exceptionally promising.
Chosen from over 400 nominations, the Trust offered five prizes in each of the following subject areas, which change every year: Classics; Earth Sciences; Physics; Politics and International Relations; Psychology; and Visual and Performing Arts.
Dr Hauser was awarded a prize in Psychology for his work on experimental psychology and decision neuroscience. He intends to use the award to fund a novel research project investigating what causes spontaneous brain fluctuations. He will develop new methods and approaches to record neurotransmitters inside the brain, and thereby probe their impact on behaviour.
Dr von Borzyskowski was awarded a prize in Politics and International Relations for her work on domestic politics of international relations, specifically international organisations. Her research falls into three areas: international democracy assistance; the causes and consequences of election violence; and state exit from international organizations. Her Leverhulme project will examine the US domestic politics of participating in and funding of international organisations, and its consequences for international cooperation.
Dr Brantut was awarded a prize in Earth Sciences for his work on the physics of rocks and how rock deformation processes drive large scale geological phenomena. He seeks to understand how faults form from intact rocks, and how they slip prior to, during and after earthquakes. He develops experimental approaches to study the physics of rocks and faults under the elevated pressure and temperature conditions of the Earth’s lithosphere.