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Aberdeen PhD student wins award for essay on maths in biology

8 June 2011

BBSRC congratulates Hannah Grist, a PhD student in the Department of Zoology at the University of Aberdeen, for winning the UK Centre for Bioscience Postgraduate Student Award for an essay she wrote on "The pluses and minuses of maths on my bioscience course".

Hannah Grist

Copyright: Hannah Grist

Hannah's essay is an irreverent yet personal account of her growing, and sometimes grudging, appreciation of the importance of maths to the biosciences and the satisfaction she gains from developing her maths skills.

The postgraduate prize, which was sponsored by BBSRC, aims to raise awareness of students' opinions and experiences of learning in the biosciences amongst the bioscience teaching and learning community. The award gives students the opportunity to gain points for their CV, stand out from the crowd, and win up to £300 for their entry.

Hannah said on receiving her award "I'm really pleased to have won the award and hope that the teaching community and fellow students might enjoy my essay and find it informative. Maths is an intrinsic and beautiful part of biology but is often overly mythologised. Biology needn't be divided into brilliant mathematicians and the rest of us. Maths is a tool like any other, and anyone can learn to use it with the right support and guidance."

Hannah hopes to put some of her prize money towards buying a laptop, so she can run statistical programmes whilst out in the field.

To read Hannah's winning essay visit: www.bioscience.heacademy.ac.uk/funding/essay/award11.aspx

BBSRC has also recently announced the beginning of the development of new web-based training courses to equip bioscientists with essential mathematical, computational and systems biology skills. The courses are being funded via BBSRC's e-Learning for Systems Biology (eLSA) initiative. More information on eLSA can be found here: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/people-skills-training/2011/110511-n-new-grant-quantitative-biology

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