Brilliant Club

Hackney Half 2023

01 Jun 2023

On 21st May, we were lucky to have three avid runners raise funds for The Brilliant Club at the Hackney Half marathon, including two of our fantastic PhD tutors! We caught up with them to find out their story and why they were up for the challenge to support less advantaged students access and succeed at the most competitive universities.

Shivoh Chirayil Nandakumar

I am a PhD researcher in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence at National Robotarium, focusing on

making robots safer using AI. I have taught the Scholars Programme at Forrester High School and Tynecastle High School in Edinburgh, Scotland, wherein I enjoyed observing the children’s mindset shifting from unrealistic movie robots to them becoming great experts on the fundamentals of robotics and discussing future possibilities in using robots for positively impacting society.

I am fundraising for The Brilliant Club because I believe that education is a fundamental human right, and The Brilliant Club raises awareness about the importance of quality education to as many children as possible, allowing the pupils to dream a bit bigger and expand the possibilities for them, their family and society in general. The Half marathon at Hackney was fantastic, with both sides of the track filled with an excited and supportive crowd. I enjoyed the overall experience and will consider doing it again though my legs might disagree!

Anna Wood

I am in the final phase of my PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, which is based on research I carried out on new forms of social protection and welfare in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. I am currently on a Scholars Programme placement at Morley Memorial Primary School in Cambridge, where I teach an anthropology course to year five pupils called ‘How to Make a Museum.’

I wanted to fundraise for The Brilliant Club as I have really enjoyed and valued the training and work I have done with them so far. Having had a privileged education right the way through, from school to PhD, it has felt rewarding and important to give something back. I enjoyed the Hackney Half, though perhaps didn’t manage to do quite as much training as planned, which made it more tiring than it could have been!



The money raised by our Hackney Half runners will make a difference in helping less advantaged young people to access the most competitive universities in the UK and to succeed when they get there.

If you’re interested in taking on a challenge and supporting The Brilliant Club, please get in touch with our Fundraising and Events Coordinator Joel at
Are you a postgraduate like Shivoh and Anna? Want to share your research with a non-specialist audience or just want to help students realise their full potential? Become a Brilliant Club tutor with us! Find out more about the paid role and how you can get involved here.