Newton Prize Chair & Committee

The prizes are awarded by the 2020 Newton Prize Committee which is chaired by Professor Alice P Gast, President of Imperial College London.
The Newton Prize Committee reviews all of the shortlisted applications, along with feedback from the expert peer reviewers, and selects the winners using a consistent scoring system.
The 2020 Newton Prize eligible countries are: Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Turkey and South Africa.

Image of the Newton Prize Committee


Professor Alice P Gast

Professor Alice P Gast is President of Imperial College London. Prior to her appointment at Imperial in September 2014, Professor Gast was the President of Lehigh University (2006 – 2014) and the Vice-President for Research and Associate Provost and Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2001 – 2006). An expert in surface and interfacial phenomena and the behaviour of complex fluids, Professor Gast was a faculty member at Stanford University (1985 – 2001), being promoted to full professor in 1995. She was affiliated with the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory.

Image of Professor Alice Gast, Imperial College London President and Newton Prize Committee Chair

Professor Alice Gast, Imperial College London President and Newton Prize Committee Chair

Professor Gast spent several years of her scientific career overseas, first as a postdoctoral student on a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) fellowship at the École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles in Paris. While serving as professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University, she returned to Paris for a sabbatical as a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow in 1991. In 1999, she was an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow in Munich, Germany.

Professor Gast is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the City and Guilds of London Institute, Académie des Technologies, France, and she is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.  She has been awarded honorary degrees by the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pierre and Marie Curie, and the University of Western Ontario. In 2017 she received an honorary professorship from Tsinghua University.

As well her role at Imperial, Professor Gast is a member of a number of UK and international advisory committees and boards including the League of European Research Universities (LERU); the Academic Research Council for the Singapore Ministry of Education and the Mayor of London’s Brexit Advisory Panel. She was made a United States Science Envoy to the Caucasus and Central Asia in 2010. In 2012, she was appointed to the board of directors of Chevron Corporation. Professor Gast is a member of the World Economic Forum Global University Leaders’ Forum (GULF) and is also a Co-Vice Chair of the Advisory Board for the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR).


“What I love about the Newton Prize, and the Newton Fund, is its emphasis on important cutting edge research that matters, alongside its focus on collaboration and capacity building within the countries. We in the UK seek the very best partners wherever they are, and we don’t let political, cultural, or physical boundaries deter us.

“It is clear that the Newton Prize exemplifies the power of international collaboration. We know from our work that international collaboration produces research with higher impact, papers that are more widely read, and insights and innovation that come from diversity of approach.”

Professor Alice Gast, Imperial College London President and Newton Prize Committee Chair

2020 Committee

Professor Sultan Abu-Orabi, Professor of Chemistry, Yarmouk University, Jordan

Professor Chris Elliott, OBE, Professor of Food Safety and Founder of the Institute of Global Food Security, Queen’s University Belfast

Professor Dame Jane Francis, Director, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge. Chancellor, University of Leeds.

Dr Jonathan Hague, Vice President Science and Technology, Homecare Global R&D, Unilever

Dr Burcu Özsoy, Director, Polar Research Institute,TUBITAK Marmara Research Center, Turkey

Kathy Peach, Head of the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design, Nesta

Professor Elaine Unterhalter, Professor of Education and International Development, University College London

Dr Peter Van Loo, Winton Group Leader, Francis Crick Institute

Professor Salah Obayya, Director of Centre for Photonics and Smart Materials, Zewail City of Science and Technology, Egypt

Contact us

The UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) is contracted to administer the Newton Prize application process by the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Application/other enquiries

Ellie Anghileri
[email protected]


Mark Gardner
Senior Communications Manager
[email protected]