- Posted by Amy Bell
- On October 28, 2022
Youthful optimism, talent and innovation were very much in evidence at the annual BritishSpanish Society Scholarships Awards ceremony at the Spanish ambassador’s residence on October 26.
Since 2008, the charity, with the support of its membership, and in partnership with its principal supporters, has been supporting knowledge and culture by offering scholarships to more than a hundred cutting-edge postgraduate projects by British and Spanish students.
The unique initiative is a key part of the evolving mission in the United Kingdom and Spain of the BritishSpanish Society, a charity that has been developing and strengthening individual and institutional links between both countries since its foundation in 1916.
The BSS is supporting research in fields as diverse as medicine, urban planning, engineering, linguistics, literature, physics, architecture, marine archaeology and music.
The 15th edition of the BSS’s prestigious flagship programme presented awards to postgraduate students, selected on merit, who are involved in important projects of benefit to UK and British societies. The awards ceremony, where the shortlisted students talked about their projects, provided a fascinating glimpse into the frontiers of contemporary research.
We learned about what could be done to improve the resilience of tall buildings in the face of adverse climate conditions in large urban environment, and separately, how unhealthy bacteria and viruses affecting millions could become better identified and understood.
Other innovative projects included one looking at how Spain and UK could help share best practice in combating the criminalisation and stigma of poverty and homelessness, while a postgraduate in law is looking at the technological innovations in contracts and litigation.
A marine scientist is looking at ways of minimising the damage of pollution and other aspects of climate change on plant life in our oceans , while in the fields of humanities and culture, original projects range from a focus on how enjoyment of classical music might spread from the concert hall to the interactive screen, to research into the priceless contrasting royal collections of Henry V111 and Catherine of Aragon, expected to turn into a seminal published work on the subject.
The Spanish ambassador and Honorary President of the BSS José Pascual Marco, hosting the event, paid tribute to the scholars and to their corporate sponsors and the generous donations made by BSS members and patrons.
He said: “Such investment in young talent and support for education, research and innovation must be a part of corporate culture, a key component of sustainability policy and commitment to the community.”
He told the recipients of the awards that they now belonged to a growing network of BSS alumni that was spreading “the good work of the BritishSpanish Society”.
The head of the BSS scholarship programme – trustee and a former becaria herself – Dr Marina Perez de Arcos thanked volunteers of the charity for their hard work, not least the panel of expert academics who had devoted time and diligence to judging and selecting scholars and projects of high quality.
Another BSS trustee, Roger Golland OBE, who conducted a lively and inspiring question and answer session with the scholars, said: “It was both a privilege and an inspiration to hear how so many brilliant young academics are making a profound difference to the quality of life. The BSS Scholars really are exemplars for the cause of fluid, unimpeded, interchange between our countries.”
BSS chairman Jimmy Burns OBE described the scholarship programme as the ‘beating heart’ of the BSS’s charitable mission.
“The awards ceremony reminds us why our scholarship programme is so important and why our charity is worth supporting. It is an example of team effort by our admin and our volunteers, in the service of others, and also thanks to the generosity of our supporters and members, and I am hugely grateful for those who play their part so magnificently in making it go so well,” he said.
There was very positive feedback from the many guests – among them diplomats, businessmen and women, academics and patrons – who attended the awards ceremony.
As one corporate executive out it: “I thoroughly enjoyed the event and was pleasantly surprised at the wealth of talent displayed by the various scholars selected. All their projects are so important and serious, and will make such an impact on the community both locally and globally. The BSS is a fantastic charity and has the feel of one big happy family.”
Following the awards, guests were treated to a short and brilliant rendition of the Prélude from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 by former BSS becaria and now accomplished international concert performer Laura Peribañez, and then a tapas and wine reception.
2022 BritishSpanish Society scholarship winners:
University of Bristol
PhD in Civil Engineering
Aeroelastic Effects in Tall Buildings and Transmission Lines (supported by Plastic Energy)
Rebeca Nuez Suárez
University of Leeds
PhD in Music
The Classical Music Video: Contextualizing Classical Music within the Music Video Culture through British-Spanish Collaboration (supported by Fundación Cañada Blanch)
Emma Luisa Cahill Marrón
University of Murcia, to undertake research at the Museo del Prado in Madrid and the Royal Collection Trust in the UK
PhD in Art History
Queen Catherine of Aragon: The Portrait Exchanges between the Spanish Monarchy and the Kingdom of England in the Early Renaissance (supported by Santander Universities UK)
Celia Toyos Rodríguez
University of Oxford
PhD in Analytical Chemistry
Examining Wound Microbiome through High-resolution 3D Printing Models (supported by Santander Universities UK)
Isabel García Domínguez
University of Salamanca, to undertake a research stay at the University of Leeds
PhD in Criminology and Law
Comparative Study of Sentencing and Homelessness in England and Spain: The Criminalization of Poverty and Aporophobic Victimization(supported by BBVA)
María Mena Durán
King’s College London
PhD in Law
Moving from Relational to Technological Trust: Legal Challenges around Contract Law, Artificial Intelligence, and Blockchain (supported by Cuatrecasas)
Victor Vázquez Manzanares
University of Málaga, to undertake a research stay at the Marine Scotland Science & Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen
PhD in Molecular Ecophysiology (Advanced Biotechnology)
Combined Impacts of Brownification and Iron Concentration on the Globally relevant Calcifying Phytoplankton Species Emiliania huxleyi (BIPEhux) (supported by the BSS)
More pictures from the awards: