Best Opinion/ Comment Piece
This award is given to an academic who has written a persuasive and engaging piece which helps to shape public opinion or presents a unique analysis of their research.
Dr Will McMorran has been shortlisted for his opinion piece, published in The Independent, about the challenges translating the Marquis de Sade’s infamous novel ‘The 120 Days of Sodom’. Sade’s novel, written in 1785, is still unparalleled in its violence and obscenity and the article describes Dr McMorran and Durham University’s Dr Thomas Wynn’s attempt to create an English version that was just as shocking, and as crude, as the original French.
Caroline Spence has been shortlisted for her opinion piece, published in The Conversation and subsequently republished in IFL Science and other outlets, which discusses the cognitive dissonance in our moral belief that it is wrong to inflict suffering or death on sentient beings and our desire to enjoy a guilt-free sausage sandwich.
Dr Jessica Potter has been shortlisted for her opinion piece, published in The Guardian, which raised awareness about tuberculosis (TB) and lobbied the UK government to commit £1.2 billion pounds to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. TB is the leading cause of death from infectious disease worldwide and developed countries must commit funds to end this, she argues.
Best Published Research Campaign
This award is given to an academic who has worked with the PR team to develop a successful media campaign for a research paper published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Dr Guillem Anglada-Escudé has been shortlisted after he and his team found clear evidence of a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The planet, called Proxima b, has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface and may be the closest possible home for life outside the Solar System.
Dr Stéphanie Kermorgant has been shortlisted for her research which found that cancer cells appear to depend on an unusual survival mechanism to spread around the body.
She looked at how two key molecules communicate and work together to help cancer cells survive once they break away from a tumour – a process known as metastasis. These insights could lead to better therapies that could prevent, and slow, both tumour growth and spread.
Professor David Wald has been shortlisted for his research which showed that inherited heart disease can be successfully detected within families by screening one-to-two year old children at the time of their routine vaccinations. His team estimate that, with effective treatment, the screening strategy could prevent about 600 heart attacks in people under 40 each year in England and Wales if the programme was rolled out by public health agencies.
QMUL Media star
This award is given to an academic who has sustained a high profile media presence in recent years through their research as part of the university.
Professor Lars Chittka’s research is concerned with the organisation of social behaviour, communication, perception, learning, and neurobiology of bees; the ways in which bees pollinate wildflowers and crops; and pollinator conservation. This year he was involved in four major research papers which earned global media coverage from the New York Times, The Washington Post, IFL Science, The Guardian and many more.
Carla Valentine is the technical curator at Barts Pathology Museum, which houses more than 5,000 medical specimens, and her research focuses on the general public’s attitudes to and relationships with human remains. She has written for the Guardian, carried out an autopsy on BBC One, appeared on ITV’s The Alan Titchmarsh Show and been interviewed for Buzzfeed, VICE and many more.
Dr David Hone’s research is about the ecology and behaviour of dinosaurs. In 2016 alone he was interviewed for Dr Who magazine, appeared on Channel 4s Sunday Brunch, featured in a TV documentary in Japan and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live talking about dinosaurs. He has also done interviews for the various podcasts including This Week in Science, Living on Earth, Why Dino and The Guardian Science Podcast.
Dr Lee Jones’ research is primarily on the politics and international relations of East and Southeast Asia. From January to October 2016 he appeared nearly 40 times in the international media in outlets including Monocle Radio, TeleSUR, The Washington Post, The New Zealand Herald, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Times Higher Education, University World News and The Naked Scientist, Russia Today and many more.