2018 Winners

Prize winners

Dr Heidi Burdett, Impact Award

Dr Heidi Burdett, from the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society scooped the Impact award for her work over the last ten years in areas of climate change and its effect on coral reefs. For the last ten years Heidi has been actively involved in engaging the public with her scientific research into photosynthesis, climate change and biochemical cycling.

In 2018, Heidi received the Charles Lyell Award for Environmental Sciences from the British Science Association and gave the Award Lecture 'Resilient Reefs'  at the British Science Festival in September. Throughout the Year of the Sea she was involved in a range of engagement events such as the Edinburgh International Science Festival, the Brightest Watts week, the British Science Festival, Doors Open Day at the Lyell Centre, and Northern Ireland Science Festival.

Dr Robert Collins, Partnership Award

Dr Robert Collins from The School of Engineering and Physical Sciences took the Partnership award for his MacroPhoton project which engaged school pupils. Robert designed and built the MacroPhoton demonstrator, in partnership with the Quantum Communications Hub’s 'Quantum City' initiative.

By partnering with the Quantum Communications Hub, Robert and his team joined the Quantum City Public Engagement Initiative allowing them to showcase the MacroPhoton at a variety of large scale events throughout the year. More than 7,000 people engaged with the team at events such as the Cheltenham Science Festival, Glasgow Science Festival, New Scientist Live, and the Festival of Physics. 

Lindsay St Mary, Pioneer Award

Lindsey St Mary, PhD student in The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society Lindsey was joint winner in the Pioneer category, impressing the judges with a strong application which showed clearly her passion for public engagement, as well as a willingness to develop it as an intrinsic part of her research.

Lindsay believes that public engagement is an opportunity to change people’s perceptions of science and is the best way to show future scientists that science and research is extremely diverse and multidisciplinary. Throughout her PhD, she strived to share her passion for research, and demonstrate the fact that scientists are real people, beyond stereotypes. 

Mark Wilkinson, Pioneer Award

Dr Mark Wilkinson from The School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences also won the Pioneer Award for his development of a successful outreach initiative - The Maths of Social Media – inspiring school children to understand maths and its relevance in modern society. Mark's campaign strives to demonstrate the relevance and power of maths in modern society; giving students a meaningful reason that they can understand to continue studying maths.

The International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT), Year of the Sea Award

ICIT, based on our Orkney Campus, works at the cutting edge of research and teaching in marine science and renewable energy development. The centre received this special award for public engagement, recognising the wide range of activities they developed to share their research with their communities. 

Throughout the themed year they planned and delivered a series of special events to mark the work that ICIT, and Heriot-Watt more generally, do in terms of ocean research and the emerging ‘Blue Economy’. The award also recognises ICIT’s collaborative work with local fishers in the development of a science-based fisheries improvement plan, thereby helping to secure both financial and ecological sustainability for the fishing industry in Orkney.