BBC’s ‘pioneering’ head of science honoured with University of Manchester’s alumni award

By Mancunian Matters staff

The University of Manchester is to honour the BBC’s head of science with a special alumni award tomorrow.

Andrew Cohen, who graduated from the university in 1994 with a BSc in Physiology and Pharmacology, will receive the Outstanding Alumni Award from the Faculty of Life Sciences.

After graduating from Manchester Andrew went on to complete an MSc in Science and Communication from Imperial College London before joining the BBC.

Speaking of his time in Manchester, Mr Cohen said: “It was the passion with which the science was taught that really stuck with me during and after my degree. I’ve used a lot of what I learnt in physiology right through my career.

“Dame Nancy Rothwell was one of my lecturers and she made a great impression on me. I’ve enjoyed meeting her again in her role as the President and the Vice-Chancellor of the University and having the opportunity to contribute to the university.”

During his career he’s produced hundreds of hours of network programming, including the award winning shows Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe, and landmark series such as Inside the Human Body and Planet Dinosaur. He has also contributed to long-running stalwarts including Horizon and Tomorrow’s World.

In his current post Andrew manages a large team of executive producers and more than a hundred staff. He’s responsible for supplying content to a global audience, and one way he’s achieved this is by nurturing relationships with the broader scientific community and driving co-production partnerships with the US and China.

Away from television, he has co-authored books based on the Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe series with presenter – and fellow Manchester alumnus – Professor Brian Cox. The latter went on to become Sunday Times number one bestseller and secured a Galaxy Book Prize nomination.

Mr Cohen said: “It’s been really wonderful reconnecting with the university through my work with Professor Cox over the last five years. It’s also a real privilege to be given this award and I feel very honoured.”

Professor Matthew Cobb from the Faculty says: “We chose Andrew as our alumnus of the year because of his pioneering work changing the way science is represented in the UK. We wanted to celebrate his success in communicating science to all and the impact the BBC’s coverage of science has had on British culture.”

Andrew will receive his Outstanding Alumnus Award during the Faculty of Life Science Graduation ceremony.

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