University staff and students recognised for public engagement with research

University staff and students recognised for public engagement with research

A group of five staff and students from across the University has been recognised for their efforts in engaging wider society with their research.

The prizes were presented by University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, in front of a capacity audience with broadcaster Gavin Esler at this year’s May Festival.

Senior staff recognised were Professor of Politics, Michael Keating who took the overall prize and Professor of Ecology, Xavier Lambin who was recognised for his outstanding achievement. 

Early career staff were also recognised with history of art researcher Fern Insh winning top prize followed by Heather Morgan of the Health Services Research Unit taking the runner up award.

This year, a new category inspired by the University’s recently secured Wellcome Trust Institution Strategic Support Fund was introduced, with the prize going to Dr Jennie Macdiarmid from the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.

Speaking of the 2015 prizes, Professor Diamond said: “Public engagement is embedded in our core activity at the University of Aberdeen and driven largely by the creativity and enthusiasm of our staff and students. I am delighted we have been able to recognise a small group from what was an extremely high calibre set of entries to this year’s competition.”

The annual Principal’s Prize competition complements other initiatives put into place by the institution’s Public Engagement with Research Unit to support the university community to benefit from the increasingly important role of public engagement within the research and wider academic environment.  An element of the prizes received by the winners is intended to support their ongoing public engagement ideas or related professional development opportunities.

Dr Kenneth Skeldon, Head of the Public Engagement added: “The 2015 competition attracted a set of extremely strong applications. Our judges, derived from across the UK and spanning fields of science, arts and humanities, faced a difficult challenge. The process has once again highlighted the diverse range of high quality engagement practice undertaken by our staff and students.”

The public engagement with research prize competition is supported by the University of Aberdeen and the Wellcome Trust. More details on the work of the Public Engagement with Research Unit can be found at