University wins awards for public engagement

The University of Aberdeen has won two national awards for its efforts in bringing research to the general public.

The annual ARMA awards, organised by the Association of Research Managers and Administrators, celebrate the best support and creativity for research programmes across the UK.

The Aberdeen-led EXPLORATHON (European Researchers’ Night, Scotland) project, in collaboration with the universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde, St Andrews and the Edinburgh Beltane Public Engagement Network, picked up the Outstanding Collaboration award.

In addition, the University’s Public Engagement team scooped the Public Engagement and Advocacy award for its strategy to support academic-led public engagement.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said: “Our support teams and academics have worked together exceptionally well to raise our public engagement and I am delighted this has been recognised with these ARMA awards.

“The University of Aberdeen is committed to sharing our world-leading research and its impact, helping to raise awareness and stimulate public engagement with global challenges, while inspiring the next generation to engage with big issues.”

ARMA is the UK’s professional body for research management and administration professionals in the UK. In addition to supporting its members’ professional development through training, it is involved in advocacy and policy making around research strategy and its annual conference attracts over 500 UK and international delegates.

The winners were announced at the ARMA conference in Birmingham on June 7.

The EXPLORATHON project, supported by the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme, has brought 800 researchers together with 17,000 schools and public over the past two years.  Meanwhile, the University’s wider public engagement effort continues to develop following our RCUK Catalyst award of 2012 which positioned Aberdeen as one of eight centres of excellence for public engagement across the UK.

Dr Kenneth Skeldon, Head of Public Engagement said: “I am delighted that the EXPLORATHON project and our wider public engagement with research strategy have been recognised in the 2016 ARMA awards. We were up against stiff competition from across the UK, and our success reflects the way in which our skills across research, training, outreach and engagement is ensuring that Aberdeen is at the forefront of the public engagement agenda.”

A spokesperson for ARMA said: “Congratulations to all of the 2016 Awards winners and highly commended finalists. ARMA is thrilled to celebrate success and innovation in research management and administration, highlighting the good work that is going on in the sector.”