2023 Winners

two academics and a magician

Back in person for the first time since 2019, the PRIME Awards returned to the Edinburgh Campus in 2023 as part of a sunny week of celebrations.

The Principal's Research Impact and Engagement Awards recognise outstanding achievement, innovation and creativity in impact and public engagement with research; celebrating activities with the potential to create economic, social, environmental and cultural impact from research, and engage broad publics, new stakeholders and underserved audiences.

This year’s awards celebrated 4 categories; Inspire, Innovate, Involve and Influence, with the further details of the Shortlisted applications available.

Inspire Award

The Inspire Award recognises a research project or team that has demonstrated and can evidence inspirational impact on society, from inspiring the next generation, to engaging defined communities in research. 

The winner of this award was the Plastic Hunt in North Vietnam project, led by Dr Inna Yaneva-Toraman and her team from the Lyell Centre. The project brought together diverse stakeholders, combining citizen science with playful learning, workshops and local knowledge to drive change in local communities.

The Let’s Do Engineering project, led by Dr Helen Bridle and Prof Thusha Rajendran was highly commended in the Inspire category, with their project that tackles stereotypes in engineering through play-based learning for 3-7 year olds.  

Involve Award

The involve award recognises a research project and/or team that has actively involved defined publics or patients in the development and delivery of research, to ensure that the research priorities and innovations are societally relevant. The winner of the award was the Scottish Vessel Project, led by Dr Lauren McWhinnie and Emily Hague. The project involved local communities, industry and conservation groups in data collection and raising awareness of the challenges faced in local environments.

In the Involve category there were also two highly commended teams, showing the high quality of all nominations received. The first highly commended team was the CircularChem Centre, a multi partner programme led at Heriot-Watt by Prof Bing Xu and team. The team worked collaboratively across industry and academia to drive strategic and policy change in industries.

The second highly commended team was the Fair Food Hub, led by Dr Ingrid Kelling. The team created the trusted hub for participative processes and multi-stakeholder communication; an interdisciplinary, scientific and collaborative project which challenges system inequity and injustice in food value chains.

Influence Award

The Influence Award recognises teams that have had a demonstrable impact and can evidence local or global impact on policy and/or through the media, creating links between academia, impacted communities, civil society and policymakers. 

The winner in this category was the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight led by Prof Phil Greening and Dr Janey Andrews. The panel were impressed with the strong partnership with businesses showing mutual benefit and sustainability, as well as the strong team approach and value placed on relationship building.

The highly commended team was JustiSigns 2 and Silent Harm, led by Prof. Jemina Napier. The multi partner projects with Police Scotland tackles the problem of domestic abuse of deaf women, who are 2-3 times more likely to experience domestic abuse than hearing women.

Innovate Award

The Innovate Award recognises a research project/team who have realised and can evidence the commercial potential and economic impact of their research, local or globally, either through working with industrial partners or spinning out a company.

The winner in this category was the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre (MDMC), led by Prof Duncan Hand and Prof. Marc Desmulliez. The MDMC was formed to support small and medium sized companies across Scotland who are developing medical device product and has achieved huge commercial successes in a very short period.

The highly commended in the innovation category was The Scottish Botanical Library project, led by Dr Annie Hill and Matthew Pauley. This team have driven forward a range of industry led research projects for students, a 4* impact case study in REF, and a host of new, exciting products. 

Prof. Steve McLaughlin (Deputy Principal for Research and Impact)

‘We aren’t always great at pausing to recognise how far we have come, and what we have achieved, with our research and enterprise endeavours. It was wonderful to celebrate all the teams who strive to make a difference, on society, on the economy, and on the environment. ‘

Lauren and Jemina with award
Winner of the Involve Award, Dr Lauren McWhinnie, with Prof. Jemina Napier
Winners of the Involve Award
Winner of the Inspire Award, Dr Inna Yaneva-Toraman and her team from the Lyell Centre
Janey and Marc with award
Dr Janey Andrews receiving the Influence award from Prof Marc Desmulliez, for the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight
MDMC team with trophy
Winner of the Innovate Award, the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre team, with Prof. Gill Murray