BBC Head of Science Returns to The University of Manchester


The Head of Science at the BBC has been awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award from the Faculty of Life Sciences. The former University of Manchester graduate received the accolade at the graduation ceremony.

Andrew Cohen graduated from Manchester in 1994 with a BSc in Physiology and Pharmacology. Remembering his time at the university he says: “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.”

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

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 Professor Brian Cox. The latter went on to become Sunday Times number one bestseller and secured a Galaxy Book Prize nomination.

Andrew’s work with his fellow Manchester alumnus, Professor Brian Cox, has brought him into regular contact with the university and in particular the Faculty of Life Sciences.

Andrew says: “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. We’re delighted that Andrew will be an Honorary Lecturer from September providing our students with a vital insight into the world of science communication.”

Andrew will receive his Outstanding Alumnus Award during the Faculty of Life Science Graduation ceremony on Friday July 13th.

Notes for editors

Outstanding Alumni Awards are presented each year by The University of Manchester Alumni Association to former students who have achieved distinction in their field or have brought honour to the University through their outstanding achievements.

A photo of Andrew is available from the press office.

For more information contact:

Morwenna Grills
Media Relations Officer
Faculty of Life Sciences
University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 275 2111
Mobile: 07920 087466
Email: Morwenna.Grills@manchester.ac.uk