Public Engagement

Impact Awards

This year we were overwhelmed by the number of high-quality applications we received for the Impact categories of the Engagement and Impact Awards. A total of 17 projects were shortlisted for the awards and you can read more about each and find out who won below. 

Alliance Award

This award is for the best co-production of impact with stakeholders outside of academia, be that with individuals, communities or institutes

Winner: People's Palace Projects during COVID-19

People's Palace Projects team from Queen Mary University of London; Takumã Kuikuro from Kuikuro Indigenous Association of the Upper Xingu; and Simon McBurney, Complicite, Amazon Hopes Collective. 

Led by Paul Heritage, People’s Palace Projects' ongoing collaboration with the Kuikuro Indigenous Association of the Upper Xingu (Brazil) on cultural exchange and equitable social development for indigenous communities recently raised urgently needed funds to provide infrastructure, food and vital medical support to the Kuikuro people affected by COVID-19.

Shortlisted: Revealing historic non-commemoration of Indian and African people by the Commonwealth War GravesCommission

Michèle Barrett from Queen Mary University of London

Using research on historic discrimination of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) against Africans and Indians, this project supported the development of the 2019 TV documentary 'Unremembered' (Channel4). This triggered a CWGC report acknowledging discrimination which has since received parliamentary attention.

Shortlisted: Public health interventions for stunting - The SHINE trial

Andrew Prendergast from Queen Mary University of London

Using research into child malnutition, a team of cross-disciplinary experts were brought together to engage with policymakers and local communities. This has had a profound impact on the health of mothers and children in Zimbabwe and the future direction of global health.

Local Champion Award

This award celebrates the best local impact generated at Queen Mary. Not all impact is far-reaching and grand. Impact on a small scale can be just as important, and sometimes even more so.

Winner: PPE for the NHS during COVID-19

Shakeel Shahdad, Ahmed Din, Ildar Farkhatdinov, Kaspar Altohefer, Joshua Brown, Bukeikhan Omarali, Kok-Huen Ho, John Connelly, Oscar Pundel from Queen Mary University of London; and Hristina Cvetanovska from Barts Health NHS Trust

A cross-disciplinary team came together to lead on optimisation and manufacturing of personal protective equipment for the NHS during COVID-19. Over 20,000 items of PPE were distributed to enable the functioning of the dental and maternity units of the Royal London Hospital during the first wave of the pandemic.

Shortlisted: Exploring the history of protest in East London

Nadia Valman and Vivi Lachs from Queen Mary University of London

Professor Valman drew on her research on the East End’s long history of migrant culture to lead workshops in seven east London schools, where Year 7 students learned about how immigrants in Victorian Whitechapel protested for better working conditions. The students made banners, composed chants and speeches and took to the streets with their own protest, connecting today’s political activism with the local past.

Shortlisted: COVID-19 testing in London

Belinda Nedjai from Queen Mary University of London

Dr Nedjai led the start up of the Molecular Epidemiology Lab to increase the UK's testing capacity during the pandemic. The lab focused on pillars 1 and 2 of the government's testing strategy: 1) NHS swab testing for those with a critical need and NHS key workers 2) Commercial swab-testing for those with a critical need in the NHS, Social Care and other critical sectors. The lab processed at least 200,000 COVID-19 samples from the general population in London between December 2020 and March 2021.

Pathfinder Award

This award is for the best interdisciplinary route to generating impact. This award celebrates the strength of the collaboration and the unique qualities different academic groups bring to generate impactful research.

Winner: Public health interventions for stunting - The SHINE trial

Andrew Prendergast from Queen Mary University of London

Using research into child malnutition, a team of cross-disciplinary experts were brought together to engage with policymakers and local communities. This has had a profound impact on the health of mothers and children in Zimbabwe and the future direction of global health.

Shortlisted: Tackling agricultural and plastic pollution through policy change

Iwan Jones, John Murphy, James Pretty, Amanda Arnold, Chaz Duerdoth, Adrianna Hawczak, John Blackburn, Kate Spencer, M Resmini from Queen Mary University of London; ADAS; CEH; Rothamsted Research; University of Southampton; Deltares; DEFRA; Welsh Government

Dr Jones leads the River Communities Group, a team of ecologists who collectively work with agronomists, hydrologists, economists, social scientists and modellers to ensure better protection of freshwater ecosystems whilst maintaining a viable and productive agricultural industry, changing agricultural policy in Wales to help farmers deliver greater environmental benefits, creating a tool to identify where soil erosion from agriculture is impacting rivers and informing policy development on microplastics.  

Trailblazer Award

This award recognises the exceptional work in impact generated by Early Career Researchers and PhD students. It can never be too early to get involved with, and even generate, impact.

Winner: Surgery during COVID-19: co-producing patient resources

Mary Venn from Queen Mary University of London

The 'CovidSurg' collaborative investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on surgical patients. Armed with terrifying outcome data for patients with peri-operative COVID-19, they worked with a Patient Advisory Group to share the research with patients globally to ensure they can access the evidence to make informed decisions.

Shortlisted: Youth labor markets in Ethiopia

Simon Franklin from Queen Mary University of London

Simon Franklin’s research on youth labor markets in Ethiopia has shown that skills signaling is a particularly low cost and effective way to get young jobseekers into work. This finding has directly influenced the design of the Government of Ethiopia/World Bank Urban Safety Net and Jobs Project (USNJP), which, as a result, now includes an innovative component of skills certification.

Shortlisted: Hearing loss simulation

Angeliki Mourgela from Queen Mary University of London

This project developed a hearing loss simulation audio effects plugin for use in audio production. This simulation plugin was used in an episode of Casualty, which was well received in the deaf community and will be used again in future episodes.

 

Voyager Award

This award celebrates the impact with the best scope and geographical reach. How far does your impact travel, does it have international reach and significance?

Winner: HPV Screening

Jack Cuzick from Queen Mary University of London

This research has been instrumental in the decision to replace cytological screening for cervical cancer with more effective primary HPV screening. HPV primary screening is now implemented in the UK and Australia, and recommended by the European Commission, the US Preventive Services Task Force and American Cancer Society.

Shortlisted: Facilitating access to medicines

Duncan Matthews from Queen Mary University of London and Olga Gugula from Brunel University

The United Nations High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines adopted the project’s recommendations on how best to address the anti-competitive strategies of pharmaceutical companies and use competition law to address human rights concerns.

Shortlisted: Abortion access pathways in Europe

Sydney Calkin from Queen Mary University of London

In a collaboration with the Abortion Support Network, this research has been used to build a multi-lingual web resource for people across Europe who need practical, accurate, and non-judgmental information about how and where to access safe and legal abortion.

 

Dickinson Award

Named for Bruce Dickinson, this award reflects Bruce's entrepeneurial spirit. Entrepreneurial innovation and impact can sometimes be one and the same. This award celebrates the best impact-generating spinouts at Queen Mary.

Winner: Bela

Andrew McPherson, Giulio Moro, Robert Jack, Astrid Bin and Adan Benito from the Bela team; and Jacob Harrison.

Bela (http://bela.io) is an open-source hardware platform for creating sound and music which offers superior technical performance and easy learnability. Bela launched on Kickstarter in 2016 and spun out into a company which supports a vibrant community of makers, artists and engineers. It is widely used for teaching and the creation of new accessible musical instruments.

Shortlisted: Dragonfly

Hamit Soyel from Queen Mary; the Dragonfly team; and the late Peter McOwan

In a world saturated with visual stimuli at every twist and turn, the market for audience attention has never been more competitive. Dragonfly is the leading innovator within the predictive visual analytics sphere using AI, informed by cutting-edge neuroscience which accurately predicts what consumers see first in any content instance.

Shortlisted: BioMin

Robert Hill and the BioMin team

BioMin Technologies Ltd - Bioactive Glasses for Toothpastes. The commercial development of special degradable glasses that dissolve in the mouth releasing calcium phosphate and fluoride and that form the fluoride analog of tooth mineral. These novel approaches are used in toothpastes to treat tooth pain and to put back lost tooth mineral and prevent tooth decay.