NEWS16 December 2020

Young researcher of the year: Tarek Chaudhury and Bessie Pike

Awards Innovations News UK Youth

At the MRS Awards 2020, the Research Live young researcher of the year award jointly went to Tarek Chaudhury and Bessie Pike.

Tarek Chaudhury (pictured right) works as a qualitative researcher and strategist for Discover.ai, and Bessie Pike (pictured left) is a research manager at Walnut Unlimited.

Chaudhury’s career started with a spell working as a radio broadcaster, where he first came into contact with research. There he ran a project asking people for their views on the Metropolitan Police Service’s proposal to remove the recording of ‘stop and account’ checks, presenting the evidence to city hall in London.

This led to a departure from radio to the research sector. Chaudhury joined Flamingo in 2016, working in various research roles before joining Discover.ai in March 2020.

At Flamingo, Chaudhury worked on a project for Universal Music, exploring how the creative industries can better adapt the workplace for people with neurodivergent conditions. The project culminated in a handbook launched by the secretary of state for health and social care.

Since joining Discover.ai, Chaudhury has delivered six research projects. He is a member of the Colour of Research Mentorship Programme, the BAME Leaders Network and BAME in Market Research UK.

Chaudhury said: “I’m deeply appreciative to the MRS for this recognition. I’m very thankful to Discover.ai for the nomination and for being so welcoming to me this year, to everyone past and present at Flamingo that have supported me and the many other individuals, agencies and clients I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside.

“I wish to continue helping new researchers in the same way that others once helped me; showing people how to open doors and giving guidance on how they too can soar through them.”

Pike graduated from Walnut Unlimited’s academy in 2018, and has subsequently established and leads the company’s participatory research programme. Pike has achieved this through delivering a series of workshops and training at Walnut.

Pike has worked extensively with the MS Society, and attended the parliamentary launch for research she led for the charity in 2018. The research was part of MS Society’s campaign #ScrapPIP20m which lobbied the government to change the eligibility criteria of the new disability benefit. The campaign petition received 36,000 signatures.

In 2019, she presented at the first &More Young Researcher’s conference, and was a guest lecturer at the University of Winchester, teaching business students the foundations of market research and highlighting pathways into the profession.

Pike has helped develop ethnographies within Walnut, from trialling the first walking ethnographies to understand people’s emotions around self and place, to using TikTok as a self-expression tool for participants.

Pike said: “I feel humbled to have the opportunity to be an ambassador for the next generation of young researchers, and will continue to pioneer inclusive and empowering research through participatory approaches.

“It is so important to have role models which show young researchers they too can have an impact within the research world – however big or small. After all, it is the next generation of young researchers who will be shaping the future of research.”

The full list of MRS Awards 2020 winners can be found here. 

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