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Nature Research Award for Driving Global Impact for Tom Baden

Tom Baden's work into the neuroscience of vision has earned him the inaugural Nature Research Award for Driving Global Impact. Tom Baden, vision scientist and professor of neuroscience at the University of Sussex, UK, is the first winner of this award which recognises early career researchers whose work has made, or has the potential to make, a positive impact on society.

We are delighted to announce that Tom has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Nature Research Award for Driving Global Impact, in collaboration with Tencent. The award recognizes a combination of our work in vision neuroscience over the years as well as our engagement with promoting open source hardware for building low-cost lab equipment, in particular through our NGO TReND in Africa.
- University of Sussex, UK -

As part of the award, Tom Baden gave a number of interviews and a popular-science presentation at Tencent’s 2019 WE-Summit in Bejing (a TED-like event) combining some of his neuroscience and open hardware work. To date, the summit has been viewed ~20 million times, mostly across China.

Baden's research on zebrafish and mice showed that eyes have vastly greater computational powers than people previously thought, rather than being faithful recorders of the real world. The judges of the award, run in partnership with Chinese technology company Tencent, said Baden's research could have a significant impact on both diagnostic and therapeutic ophthalmology research. In addition to his research, Baden tells Julie Gould about his interest in open hardware and 3D printing and its potential to make well equipped labs more affordable for developing countries. Baden is also cofounder of Teaching and Research in Neuroscience for Development (TReND) in Africa. This nonprofit, which launched in 2010, runs research courses in sub-Saharan Africa and helps to place scientists who’d like to teach there into the region’s universities. The group also collects unused lab equipment from facilities in the United States and Europe and redistributes it to laboratories across Africa.

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