The Josh Award

The Josh Award is the UK’s national award in science communication, established to recognise and support up-and-coming talent in science communication. The award provides the opportunity to become the science communicator in residence at the Manchester Science Festival, developing and delivering a new project or event while showcasing best practice in the field of science communication.

The winner receives support to nurture their development in the field and their involvement in the Manchester Science Festival from the Festival team, the University of Salford’s Science Communication cluster, and the BIG STEM Communicators Network.

Josh Award 2018

Manchester Science Festival and the British Interactive Group are proud to announce this year’s winner of the 2018 Josh Award for Science Communication is Matthew Allen. The award was presented at this years BIG event, in Winchester on 18th July, by Museum of Science and industry explainer Hannah Ford.

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.”

Previous winners

2017 – Jon Chase

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.

 2016 – Katie Steckles

Local 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.

 2015 – Andy Miah

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.

Andy Miah is the chair of science communication at the University of Salford.

2014 – Sarah Bearchell

2013 – Aravind Vijayaraghavan

2011 – Matt Parker

2010 – Steve Cross

2009 – David Price

2008 – Karen Bultitude


The Josh Award 2016 press release can be downloaded here.