Oxford alumni win prestigious British Council awards for their professional successes

Two scientists have scooped the top prize in their countries for achievements connected to their studies at Oxford. Dr Maria Roubelakis (Wolfson, 1999) received the Professional Achievement Award for alumni in Greece at a ceremony in Athens on 1 March as part of the Study UK Alumni Awards 2017. Dr Bilge Demirkoz (Balliol, 2004) won the equivalent award for alumni in Turkey at an event in Istanbul on 24 February.

Dr Roubelakis, Assistant Professor of Developmental Biology at the School of Medicine at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, studied her doctorate in Molecular Medicine at Oxford. She said: 'My studies as a DPhil student at the University of Oxford, where I worked in a state-of-the-art laboratory within an exceptionally friendly environment for foreign students, played a key role in my professional and scientific development. This award is yet another incentive for me to keep the high standards of the scientific training that I got in the UK and to further establish and develop myself in the field of science. I would like to thank my supervisor Professor Suzanne Watt.'

Dr Bilge Demirkoz, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, completed her DPhil in Particle Physics at Oxford. She said:  'It is a true honor to receive such an award. At Oxford I worked on the Semi-Conductor Tracker of the ATLAS experiment at CERN. I used the experience and wisdom I gained during my DPhil studies. I am now leading the METU-DBL (Defocusing Beam Line) project in Turkey to perform radiation tests on electronics and materials intended for space and high radiation environments such as the Hi-Lumi LHC (Large Hadron Collider). I thank my advisor Professor Tony Weidberg for his guidance during my studies.'

The Professional Achievement Award recognises alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership and achievements in their professional industry, and who can demonstrate the highest level of integrity and character in their professional career.

The Study UK Alumni Awards, created by the British Council and UK universities, recognise the outstanding achievements of alumni who are now using their UK higher education experience to bring benefits to their communities, professions and countries.

Alumni living in a number of countries, including Greece and Turkey, were eligible to apply or be nominated for the awards if they completed their higher education in the UK within the last 15 years.  There are three awards given in each country: Professional Achievement Award, Entrepreneurial Award, and Social Impact Award.

In 2015 Ruthe Farmer, who studied an MBA at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, won the Social Impact Award for alumni living in the US for her work encouraging women and girls to embrace technology.

Listen to the Alumni Voices podcast interview with Ruthe Farmer