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Policy Impact and Public Engagement Awards

At the end of last year we announced the winners and shortlisted nominees for our second annual Policy Impact and Public Engagement awards.

Covid-19 meant that the award ceremony was – well – very virtual. No handing over the framed certificate in person, no cheering crowd, and no X Factor style tension as the host pauses for just that little bit too long between opening the envelope and announcing the winner.

However, that didn’t put off people from applying. We had a great field and we were delighted to see an increase in nominations from our campuses in Malaysia and China.

In recognition of the overwhelming challenge that Covid-19 has presented to the world, we added an additional award this year to recognise colleagues whose research has made an outstanding contribution to humanity’s response to the crisis. It was particularly inspiring to read about how Nottingham researchers have stepped up in this exceptional time of need.

It was also really impressive and heartening to see how colleagues from across the three campuses had not let coronavirus restrictions get in the way of impact and engagement work. Indeed, many nominations were great examples of innovation and use of new technologies to get round the fact that it was no longer possible to do things in person.

The quality of the nominations meant that it was tough to create shortlists, let alone pick winners. But, with thanks to last year’s Keystone winner, Lou Rudkin and professors Andrew Mumford and Susan Anderson for helping us judge the awards, that is what we did.

"It was also really impressive and heartening to see how colleagues from across the three campuses had not let coronavirus restrictions get in the way of impact and engagement work."
Stephen Meek, Director of the Institute for Policy and Engagement

Three of the seven awards recognised the work of teams. The Best Policy Impact Initiative award went to the Horizon Unbias team, led by Dr Elvira Perez Vallejos, for their research into keeping young people safe in a digital world which has helped shape policy.

The Survivor Voices, Stories and Images project, led by Dr Helen McCabe, empowers survivors of human trafficking to share their stories with the world and received the Best Public Engagement Initiative award.

The third team recognised received one of the two special awards for Pandemic Response. This was the Nottingham campus’s Pandemic Response Team which, among many other things, developed the in-house coronavirus testing service. This award was shared with Professor Ali Cheshmehzangi, from our China campus, for his work on the city of Ningbo’s resilience plan.

"It was a real pleasure to read them all."
Stephen Meek, Director of the Institute for Policy and Engagement

Another winner from Ningbo was Dr Xuan Feng who received a Judge’s Special Recognition award for her work with Ningbo local government on improving their talent management. Dr Ben Pilgrim also received one of these awards for his activity to engage the public and in particular young people with chemistry.

The Rising Star Awards for Public Engagement and Policy Impact, recognising achievement by those earlier in their careers, went respectively to Dr Ulrike Kirchner and Dr Lorna Treanor. Ulrike combines her expertise as a researcher and as a visual artist to engage the public with astronomy, while Lorna’s work supports the development of a more inclusive environment for entrepreneurs to flourish.

The Keystone Award, which recognises the role colleagues in professional services play, went to Deanne Howson for her dedication and commitment to increasing the profile of and participation in impact and engagement in the Faculty of Engineering.

Finally a mention to Dr Ben Barton, Dr Bavani Ramayah and Professor Chris Gibbons and his team, all from our Malaysia campus. While they didn’t win an award, they all impressed the panel and were shortlisted from very competitive fields.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to make a nomination. It was a real pleasure to read them all. And many congratulations to the shortlisted candidates and to our winners. A testament to the range of activity across all our campuses, and the difference our world class researchers make.

Stephen Meek

Stephen Meek is Director of the University of Nottingham’s Institute for Policy and Engagement.

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