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Provost's Awards for Public Engagement 2017

27th February 2017
Public Engagement

The Provost's Awards for Public Engagement recognise the fantastic work that UCL's staff and students are doing to open up research and teaching at UCL to the wider world. The work of this year’s award winners and all the nominees reflect the breadth and diversity of public engagement activity at UCL. As London’s Global University, UCL staff and students continue to engage with a diverse range of communities and public groups; sparking new connections and confronting diverse challenges, from producing clean fuel technology to improving the future of health research and patient engagement.

Our Public Engagement Unit team said of the awards: “The Awards are a fantastic opportunity to bring engagement champions together, sharing stories and scoping ways to enrich UCL’s work through further collaboration with public, patient and community groups.  The quality of work represented in the nominations was incredibly high, and the panel had to make some very difficult decisions. The winners embody a groundswell of enthusiasm for engagement work at UCL, showing that excellent engagement is at the heart of what UCL does: not only changing the lives of the communities around us, but also changing our research and teaching for the better”.

We will be featuring the work of the winners and nominees across UCL over the coming year in Provost Awards Spotlights and in Guest Blog Spots so watch this space for more news on these fascinating projects.

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony on 22nd February 2017 in a celebration of the work of all the nominees.

Student Award
Rosie Gilbert
Clinical Fellow and PhD research student, Institute of Ophtalmology
Rosie planned and delivered an “Eating for Eye Health” public engagement project, with the aim of raising awareness of research that suggests nutrition may help protect against the progression of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and encouraging older people to cook and eat food that could support eye health, in a local community social environment.

Professional Services Staff Award  
Kailey Nolan
i-sense EPSRC IRC Communications and Administration Officer, London Centre for Nanotechnology
Professional Services Staff Award  
Kailey has gone above and beyond her communications and administration role to create, lead and organise unique engagement concepts and experiences for communities and wider publics. A passionate advocate of public engagement, Kailey has committed much of her spare time to push it to the forefront of the i-sense EPSRC IRC agenda; believing it to be both of great benefit to the public, and also that good research is driven by an understanding of community needs.

Early Career Researcher Award                   
Hema Chaplin,
Research Facilitator, Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
In just two years Hema has transformed the Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology’s patients and public involvement activities to the level that it is now integrated into the fabric of all of their research initiatives. Her innovative approach to public engagement has been community led from the beginning, basing the activities on what young people themselves said they wanted. Partnerships have been created with several secondary schools across North London and beyond to run Young Scientist Days at which students experience a hands-on day of biomedical research undertaking experiments within a working lab.

Established Award         
Joint winner      
Kris Lockyear
Senior Lecturer, Institute of Archaeology
Kris Lockyear, Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, has shown enormous dedication to public engagement throughout his career but it is his contribution to the community programme, ‘Revealing Verulamium: Community Heritage, Geophysics and the Archaeology of a Roman Town’ which really made him stand out to this year’s panel. In collaboration with community partners from the Welwyn Archaeological Society, Kris’ work led to the creation of the Community Archaeology Geophysics Group. Working in partnership with a committed local team, Kris and his collaborators have deepened knowledge of Late Iron Age and Roman sites throughout Hertfordshire.

Joint Winner     
Virginia Mantouvalou,
Reader in Human Rights, UCL Laws
Virginia Mantouvalou, Reader in Human Rights in UCL Laws, is being recognised for her outstanding public engagement work with Kalayaan, a charity which campaigns for the formal recognition of migrant domestic workers in the UK, challenges their mistreatment, and seeks to enforce their human and labour rights.  Virginia has also linked her public engagement work to her postgraduate teaching; her graduate students have produced research reports for Kalayaan on issues such as the nature of domestic workers’ complaints reported to police. The students also engage in case-work activities, supporting Kalayaan employees in their work with individual clients. Her work is an exemplar of how public engagement can be at the heart of research and teaching. It shows how public engagement can benefit both academics and the communities with whom they engage.

Community Award                            
Gemma Hooper
Director, Surrey Docks Farm
Gemma Hooper is the Director of Surrey Docks Farm and has been working in partnership with UCL Engineering since 2013. UCL environmental engineering students worked with Gemma and her team to design and install a small-scale anaerobic digester to help deal with the large amount of manure generated by the farm. The farm has been incredibly supportive of UCL’s continued involvement, collaborating on testing innovative heating methods and working with a variety of ongoing student projects. The biodigester has been used as an engagement tool with local communities, schools and farm visitors. Surrey Docks farm has provided an excellent real-life ‘lab’ for expanding understanding of UCL research and teaching.

Institutional Leadership Award                 
Ian Needleman
Professor, UCL Eastman Dental Institute
Ian is an outstanding champion for public engagement and patient involvement, both at UCL and in wider society. He has worked tirelessly to champion public engagement working to ensure that it is embedded strategically in the UCL Eastman Dental Institute, the UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences, the British Society of Periodontology and more widely into the world of oral health and sport. He has guided engagement funding plans and strategic groups to create multiple opportunities for the public involvement in UCL’s research. His outstanding vision for engagement, his ability to influence complex organisations, and his consistent championing of public engagement makes Ian a truly powerful advocate for public engagement and a more than worthy winner of this award.