Heriot-Watt professor recognised for "Driving Global Impact"



The results of the first Nature Research Awards for Driving Global Impact have been announced, and a Heriot-Watt academic has been named as a runner-up.

Professor Alan Gow, of the University's Department of Psychology, was one of ten people to be shortlisted earlier in the year.

The top three recipients have just been announced, with Professor Gow being named as one of two runners-up.

Nature Research, part of Springer Nature, in partnership with Tencent, established the awards to celebrate "researchers whose work has made, or has the potential to make, a positive impact on society." The awards for 2019 focussed on brain sciences, recognising “researchers who are revolutionising our understanding of the brain and translating this understanding into real-world impact."

Professor Gow's research in The Ageing Lab focusses on the lifestyles and behaviours that promote brain health in old age. The team explore real-world activities as potential interventions for brain health, with the results of a three-year project to be released next year.

Much of the team's work is in partnership with third sector organisations, which Professor Gow acknowledged on hearing the news: "Over the years, I've been lucky to not only be supported by and work alongside many excellent researchers at all levels, but to also develop truly collaborative projects with our colleagues at Age Scotland and Age UK. They are the people who really drive the impact of the work we do, shaping how those messages get to the public and policymakers."

Professor Gow's outreach work has varied from sessions with local groups about lifestyle and brain health, to appearances at the Fringe, and contributing to information shared by partners such as Age UK's Staying Sharp webpages. His work was recently included in a report on "Transforming the Future of Ageing," currently being considered by the EU Group of Chief Scientific Advisors in terms of relevant policy recommendations.

Applications for the Nature Research Awards were assessed by an expert judging panel from Nature Research and independent experts to create the shortlist. The criteria for assessment included the scientific achievements of the candidates in the field of brain research, their research programme and its potential for scientific and societal impact, and their planned communications and outreach around the research programme to maximise impact on society.

You can read more about Professor Gow's research through his Ageing Lab here.

Details of all the final winners can be viewed on the Nature website.