UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Department of Imaging Neuroscience Celebrates Annual Public Engagement Awards

23 June 2023

On Friday 16th June 2023, we welcomed external collaborators and staff from across UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology’s Department of Imaging Neuroscience to the 2023 Public Engagement Awards.


Held as an in-person event at 12 Queen Square, the ceremony celebrated outstanding contributions to the Department’s public engagement programme over the past year.

The Public Engagement Team awarded three prizes in recognition of staff members and projects that have upheld the Department’s commitment to excellence in public engagement.

Rising Star Award

charlotte dore
The first prize – the Rising Star Award – was awarded jointly Charlotte Dore and Ivelina Dobreva for their outstanding promise and attitude towards public engagement. Charlotte is a Research Assistant and PhD student who works with Dr Christian Lambert as part of the qMAP-PD project and Ivelina is a research assistant working with Excellence in Public Engagement Dr Rimona Weil.

Ivelina has been recognised for her instrumental role in co-producing information booklets that explore thinking and memory changes, as part of the Patterns of Perception in Parkinson’s Disease project.

Upon winning, Ivelina said: I am really lucky to be part of this project. Seeing how much creativity helped bring people of different backgrounds together in discussing dementia, which can be very difficult topic especially in the Parkinson’s community, has been very inspiring. I believe this project highlights the potential of using arts and creativity in dementia research which we need to explore further. It is also truly wonderful to have Parkinson’s UK embrace the toolkits as part of their official information resources. Thank you to the Public Engagement team for this award – it has been truly a pleasure to work together on this.

Charlotte was chosen for her brilliant commitment across a number of different public engagement projects.

This includes participating in creative workshops and focus groups as part of the Patterns of Perception in Parkinson’s Disease project and co-producing a series of animations with research participants as part of the Understanding MRI team.

Excellence in Public Engagement 

rimona weil
Dr Rimona Weil, a Neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and Neuroscientist at UCL, was awarded the Excellence in Public Engagement Prize. This award recognises a staff member who has played a key role in engagement work.

Taking on a leading role in the Patterns of Perception in Parkinson’s Disease project, Dr Weil worked with artists Anne Marr and Ru O’Connell and Parkinson’s UK to design creative workshops to open up conversations about Parkinson’s dementia. She then worked with these collaborators, healthcare professionals and people living with Parkinson’s to co-develop accessible resources on the topic. Outside of the project, Dr Weil also seeks input from lived experts in the design and planning of her future research projects and leads a support group for people living with Lewy body dementia.

Upon winning, Dr Weil said: Thank you for this award, which I am very excited about. The Patterns of Perception in Parkinson’s project has been so wonderful to work on. I’ve learned a huge amount from the Public Engagement team at WCHN, especially from Jo and Cassie and the rest of the team. With them, we were able to work with people with Parkinson’s and their families, as well as artists, and Parkinson’s UK and deliver creative workshops and focus groups to co-produce toolkits about Parkinson’s dementia. Through this project, I hope that we can make a meaningful impact and open up challenging conversations about dementia in Parkinson’s.

Outstanding Public Engagement Project 

tobias hauser
The third prize – the Outstanding Public Engagement Project Awardwas awarded to the OCD and the Brain project. Working alongside leading charities, OCD action and the International OCD Foundation, the project aims to co-produce online toolkits for young people living with OCD and their parents/guardians to learn more about the brain and OCD.
Representing the team Professor Tobias Hauser  said: "I am thrilled to receive this prize! This project is a huge team effort and a true collaboration between people with lived experience, OCD charities, community gatekeepers, creative facilitators, public engagement professionals and researchers. It was amazing to see how everyone came together to create a resource that will benefit those affected by OCD. Receiving the prize is a great recognition for our efforts and supports this innovative avenue of collaboration beyond the ivory towers of science”  science. “

Special Commendation

steve fleming
Finally, the Public Engagement team awarded a Special Commendation to Prof Steve Fleming for his ongoing contribution and commitment to Public Engagement at the Department. Prof Fleming leads the metacognition group within the department and has been an active supporter of Public Engagement within the department. He has attended music festivals to trial new apps and more recently has co-produced a film script as part of the Dementia Film Project.  
On his recognition Prof Fleming said: "It was a very nice surprise to be given this award - I have thoroughly enjoyed playing a part in a number of projects over the past few years, with a personal highlight being the Dementia Film Project. But really all the credit lies with the Centre's Public Engagement team, who have been brilliant in transforming public engagement within the department and ensuring it's now firmly embedded within imaging neuroscience."

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and nominees!