The 2016 Heriot-Watt Principal's Public Engagement Prizes have been awarded at the Engage Awards Ceremony and Public Engagement Showcase by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard A. Williams.
The prizes are awarded annually to staff and students across Heriot-Watt who have made that extra effort to engage the public in their research, through innovative and exciting initiatives. Now in their sixth year the prizes have had a lasting impact, with earlier award holders involved in high profile engagement activities.
The winners, selected by an expert panel, each take home an award and £1,000.
This year's Team Prize went to the EnLightenment Team, led by Dr Paul Dalgarno and Prof Rory Duncan of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences and Dr Laura Wicks of the Centre for Academic Leadership and Development. This Wellcome Trust funded project reached over 5,000 people over the past year, sharing the importance of interdisciplinary learning through smartphone microscopes.
The Early Career prize was awarded to Dr Alex Maclaren from the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society. Alex impressed the judges with her work with community engagement partners in socio-economically deprived areas, as well as her leadership in working with undergraduates and industry partners.
The Senior Career prize was awarded to Dr Alan Gow from the School of Life Sciences, who not only engages audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe but also co-chairs 'Research the Headlines', a blog which discusses research and the media to help the public understanding of research. This year Alan was awarded funding from the British Academy to directly engage schoolchildren and the media through his Rewrite the Headlines Campaign, engaging with over 2,100 pupils across Scotland.
This year's People's Choice Award, which was voted for by more than 200 staff and research students across Heriot-Watt, went to Postgraduates of the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering (PoBBBs). PoBBBs have enthusiastically led the way in IB3 public outreach and education with their own innovative and exciting initiatives, informing many at all ages about diabetes, DNA and the link between wellbeing and diet.
Highly commended was Dr Jonathan Morton, School of Engineering Physical Sciences, who received £500 from the Centre for Academic Leadership and Development. Jonathan has consistently delivered high quality engagement activities, has enthused others about the importance of public engagement, and was the STV star of the illumiNations event.
Profiles of this year's winners and applicants will be appearing on the Heriot-Watt Engage Webpages over the next few months, sharing their passion for engaging with impact.