Rising academic star honoured by BBC

An international animal rights expert from the University of Sheffield is being tipped to be a future media star by BBC Radio 3 after being named as a ‘New Generation Thinker’.

Dr Alasdair Cochrane from the University’s Department of Politics is one of ten academics from across the UK to be named ‘New Generation Thinkers 2014’, a partnership between BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), to find the brightest minds who have the potential to turn their ground-breaking research ideas into fascinating broadcast programmes. Dr Alasdair Cochrane from the University of Sheffield

Considered as the academic broadcasters of the future, Dr Cochrane and the nine other researchers will spend the next 12 months working with BBC Radio 3 presenters and producers to develop his research and ideas into broadcasts.

Dr Cochrane will make his debut appearance on Radio 3’s arts and ideas programme, Free Thinking, which starts on Tuesday 10 June 2014 and will be invited to make regular contributions to the network throughout the year.

Dr Cochrane is a world-leading expert on animal rights. His research takes a distinctively political approach to the question of what is owed to animals, moving beyond debates about what we as individuals might owe to non-human animals, to ask what is owed to them as a matter of justice.

Dr Cochrane’s focus is on how political practices, institutions, structures and norms affect the lives of animals and how they might be transformed for the benefit of humans and non-humans alike.

In response to being given the award Dr Cochrane said: “This award is recognition of the increasing importance that is being given to the question of what is owed to animals. I look forward to making programmes that challenge easy assumptions about the exclusion of animals from political affairs and which stimulate creative proposals about how we might work towards a more ‘beastly politics’.”

The New Generation Thinkers scheme received hundreds of applications from academics who are at the start of their careers and are passionate about communicating their research to a wider audience.

Following a six-month selection process, the winners were chosen from a group of 60 finalists, who attended a series of day-long workshops at the BBC’s bases in Salford and London. The 10 winners were chosen by a judging panel consisting of producers from Radio 3, BBC Arts, and academics from the ARHC.

Matthew Dodd, Head of Speech programming at BBC Radio 3, said: “Selecting this year’s New Generation Thinkers has been a stimulating experience. The huge range of dynamic researchers who aspire to bring their work to a broadcast audience made the choice of our final ten a very tough series of decisions.

“Nurturing new talent across the arts is a key part of Radio 3 and Hay Festival is a fitting place to announce this year's participants.

“We’re confident that the New Generation Thinkers 2014 will introduce listeners to charismatic new voices and compelling stories from contemporary research."

The 10 winners will deliver talks at BBC Radio 3’s annual Free Thinking Festival of Ideas at Sage, Gateshead in November 2014. The academics will also have an opportunity to develop their ideas for television, making short films for BBC Arts Online (bbc.co.uk/arts).

Additional informaton

The University of Sheffield

With almost 25,000 of the brightest students from around 120 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

In 2011 it was named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards and in the last decade has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline and Siemens, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Sean Barton
Media Relations Assistant
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9852