One laureate in each of the three Blavatnik Awards categories—Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry—will each receive a prize of US$100,000, and two finalists in each category will each receive US$30,000. The Blavatnik Awards in the UK are the largest unrestricted cash prizes available exclusively to young scientists in the UK.
Professor Timothy Behrens of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences has been named as a Life Sciences Finalist. Professor Behrens investigates the biology of the brain that underlies human behaviour. By combining mathematical models with behavioural experiments and neural recordings, he has uncovered at a cellular level how the brain stores abstract information about relationships between things in the world, and how we use this mental map in decision-making. His discoveries have applications in neural network computing and artificial intelligence, but also on our understanding of cognition and mental health.