University staff and students recognised for public engagement with research

University staff and students recognised for public engagement with research

Staff and students from across the University have been recognised for their significant efforts in engaging members of the public with research at a recent awards ceremony.

The ceremony was held on the final day of the May Festival (Sunday, May 12), marking the first year of the University’s new Principals Prize for Public Engagement with Research.

Vice Principal for Research and Knowledge Exchange, Professor Claire Wallace, presented the awards.

Among those who received awards were Dr Jane Reid and Dr Ewan Campbell, both of the School of Biological Sciences, who won the senior and early career top prizes.

Dr Jeff Oliver, lecturer in Archeology, and Sonia Watson, postgraduate researcher in neuroscience, collected the awards for outstanding achievement in the senior and early career categories. 

University Principal Professor Sir Ian Diamond said: “The public engagement being championed at the University is second to none and is driven by the expertise and enthusiasm of our staff and students. I am extremely pleased we have been able to recognise a selection of staff and students from what was an extremely high calibre set of entries to the competition. I offer my warm congratulations to everyone in this year’s competition.”

A special award recognizing the public engagement work of the University’s Medi-CAL unit was presented to John McDonald of the University’s Medi-CAL unit.  The award has been made in memory of Dr Neil Hamilton who passed away in November of last year. Dr Hamilton led Medi-CAL across a range of innovative IT and technology projects aimed at enriching the teaching and learning environment for staff and students. Dr Hamilton was also passionate about extending the work of Medi-CAL beyond the lab and classroom including most recently the showcasing of 3-D visualization systems with public and local schools.

Professor Diamond added: “I am delighted we have been able to recognise the public engagement work championed by John and the wider Medi-CAL team while at the same time celebrating Neil who made such an impact on so many areas.”

The Principal’s Prize competition complements other initiatives put into place by the institution’s Public Engagement with Research Unit to support our academic community including enabling funds and an annual suite of opportunities for staff and students to actively get involved.

Dr Ken Skeldon, Head of the Public Engagement with Research Unit added: “The competition attracted a set of extremely strong applications. The judges, who spanned the sciences, arts and humanities, faced a difficult challenge in deciding this year’s shortlist. The process has reflected how fortunate we are at Aberdeen to have an academic community that regard public engagement as core to their activity – something that will be key to our competitiveness moving forward.”

The 2013 public engagement prize competition is supported by the University of Aberdeen and a Research Councils UK Catalyst Award. More details of the work of the Public Engagement with Research Unit can be found at