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Previous Winners


Ben Nicholson and Frederike Gerstner


Mat Allen

Mat started communicating science during his PhD at Cardiff Univeristy and has since developed various VR and AR platforms to communicate science. His Josh Award project uses tactile and interactive activities, designed to be suitable for use by people with visual impairments, to describe astrophysics. As a winner of the award, Mat will act Manchester Science Festival Communicator in residence, have the opportunity to attend the BIG event in Winchester and receive support to deliver his activities during Manchester Science Festival.

Manchester Science Festival said: “We’re really excited to be working with Mat this year to support the delivery of his Astrophysics project as part of Manchester Science Festival 2018.  Mat’s application demonstrated how passionate he was about reaching a new audience and we’re proud that we can offer a platform for early career science communicators to develop projects they might not otherwise be able to realise.”

Mat said: “I am so grateful to have won the Josh Award. I’m honored to have been recognised alongside the work that Joshua and the previous winners have done in inspiring people into science. I am excited to be able to create and demonstrate activities at the Manchester Science Festival 2018, which will help teach and inspire visually impaired people about astronomy and space. I hope to showcase how incredible astronomy is to everyone.”


Jon Chase, Science Rapper

In 2017, Science Rapper Jon Chase won the Josh Award. Jon Chase is a BBC Bitesize science presenter and has produced science raps for the BBC, Channel 4 learning and NASA amongst others.  He is also an author having recently co-written a book about the Science of Star Wars as well as the soon to be released Science of Harry Potter. 

His event, Hip Hop Science Stop Weekender, brought street and urban science to life with visitors getting hands-on with graffiti walls and turntables. He put on special performances for families, featuring a selection of his own raps and showcased science raps from around the globe. Visitors also learned how they could use everyday objects and waste materials such as straws, paper and string to do simple science experiments at home.

You can book Jon Chase here


Katie Steckles, “Mathematician/Enthusiast”, Manchester

Mathematician Dr Katie Steckles won the 2016 Josh Award and was the Science Communicator in Residence at Manchester Science Festival 2016.

Steckles turned the museum into a giant hand-made, crowd-sourced image during the Festival. Her winning application had Festival visitors helping to colour thousands of individual ‘pixels’ that would make up a picture in one of the museum’s windows representing how digital devices such as computers, tablets, and phones display images.

The project also looked at the mathematics behind how devices store images as a series of numbers that create the different colours on screen. There was also a close-up look at the pixels in your own phone’s screen and a photo booth that transforms you into an Excel spreadsheet of colour values.

What do you do?
I'm a mathematician who gives talks and workshops on maths topics at UK schools and science festivals. I also make YouTube videos, write blogs and do comedy sets - anything as long as it's communicating maths!

What project did you design and deliver?
I was the organiser of the MegaPixel project in 2016 - demonstrating how TV and phone screens display images using red, green and blue light by colouring in and assembling a giant photograph, with help from museum visitors and teams of participants all over the UK (and the world). We assembled a team of volunteers and worked on the image throughout the week of the science festival, having a stall in the museum entrance every day and thousands of visitors, and finishing by frantically assembling the final image on the Sunday night!

What was the best thing about winning the Josh Award?
It was great to have recognition from the community that I'm doing good work, and it was also great to be part of the Manchester Science Festival in such an important way. The project was a great way to get lots of people involved and learn something new, and it was good to have something impressive to show at the end. I'm hoping it'll inspire me to keep producing innovative maths communication projects and events in future!


Andy Miah, Chair in Science Communication, University of Salford

In 2015, Andy Miah brought a drone expo to the Museum of Science and Industry. The Revolution Manchester gallery at the museum was taken over as a fly zone for drones. People had a go at flying a drone to see how they actually fly and found out more about what drones can be used for.

Sarah Bearchell, Science Presenter, Sarah’s Adventures in Science
What do you do?
I work with children and families - in nurseries, Children's Centres, primary schools, community groups. I often work with special needs pupils, and use super-sensory experiments to engage all kinds of learners. I do workshops, shows and science clubs. I also write for Aquila Children's Magazine and, since winning the Josh Award, have written teacher resources for BBC Learning "Terrific Scientific" and The Royal Society of Chemistry.

What project did you deliver?
The Josh Award enabled me to optimise my equipment and develop "The Cloud Factory" so that I can use dry ice to for a super-sensory workshop for pupils with special needs. It also paid for me to have a fabulous Cloud Machine made by Richard Ellam. It means that every child, no matter what their ability, can make a cloud in safety; which often leads to squeals of delight! As part of the award I did two days of shows in a large special needs school in Swinton.

What has been the best thing about winning?
The most amazing thing happened in a Cloud Factory session. I was working with a group of 6 or 7 year-olds, of whom one little boy was walking with a frame. We made our first cloud amongst great excitement and when I made the second cloud I invited the children to come and explore it on the floor. They all came forward with enormous enthusiasm, including the little boy who left his frame to crawl over to the cloud. When I lifted the box to show how the bubbles were moving, the boy held on to me and pulled himself up into a standing position. He was absolutely fascinated by what was happening. When I turned to show the other children, the little boy stepped forward to follow the box. He was walking unsupported and his teachers were utterly amazed. His scientific curiosity had driven him to walk and I am really proud that I had the privilege to be there when he did.

Aravind Vijayaraghavan

Graphene research, University of Manchester


Award under review, no Award offered this year.

Matt Parker

Standup Maths and Festival of the Spoken Nerd

Steve Cross

Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow and Science ShowOff

David Price

Science Presenter, Science Made Simple

What do you do?
Manager for Science Made Simple (North) for 10 years; National and international Science communication trainer (with a specialism in science busking); National and international Science Presenter (with a specialism in science busking)

What project did you design and deliver?
Designed and delivered (in and around Manchester); the "Learn To Love Science" busking set as a testbed for street theatre shows dedicated to STEM

What was the best thing about winning the Josh Award?
To win a national award in the memory of that amazing science communicator and my very dear friend and colleague Josh Phillips. It was so lovely to gain recognition from my peers for my work in popularising science busking as a means of communicating science to diverse audiences and communities.

Karen Bultitude

Senior Lecturer in Science Communication, UCL

Chris Smith

Cambridge University and The Naked Scientists
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