Deborah Cohen MBE

Deborah Cohen MBE (MSc Liberal Studies in Science 1979) – BBC Radio Science Editor

As the BBC’s radio science editor, Deborah Cohen is responsible for communicating science – in all its forms – to a wider audience and maintaining the organisation’s editorial standards in its science output. It is a role that undoubtedly shapes national discussions about science and its latest advances.

Following her graduation from The University of Manchester in 1979 with an MSc in Liberal Studies in Science, Deborah joined the BBC as a researcher in the science department. She spent the next decade producing content for Radio 3 and Radio 4 that covered a range of subjects in science, technology and medicine.

She became science editor for the BBC’s domestic radio output in 1990, and ten years later took on editorial responsibility for the science unit of BBC World Service.

During her professional life, Deborah has covered huge stories, including the appearance of AIDS and the development of drugs to keep the disease at bay, BSE, stem cell research, genetically modified crops, climate change, and cosmology. While she says that scientists have got better at communicating, she acknowledges that they still have to work hard to get across the ideas. Her years of experience ensure the BBC continues to excel in doing exactly that.

Deborah has been a judge of the Rhone Poulenc Book Prize and a member of the COPUS committee, which awards grants for the public understanding of science. She has also been a judge on schemes that reward translating scientific and medical ideas into lay terms, such as the Royal Society Science Book Prize and the Society for Chemical Industry’s essay competition.

She was made an MBE for services to broadcasting and science in 2009.

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