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Public Engagement

Public Engagement Awards

This year we were overwhelmed by the number of high-quality applications we received for the Public Engagement categories of the Engagement and Impact Awards. 

You can read more about each award category, the projects that were shortlisted, and the winners below. 

Inspire- The Garriott Award

Named for Richard Garriott, this award is for those who have inspired others by finding creative and engaging ways to communicate their research such as activities that reach and enthuse new and/or different audiences

Winner: CHILL Study

James Scales, Rosamund Dove and Helen Wood from Queen Mary University of London; Iva Tsocheva and Jasmine Chavda from University of Bedford

Unable to run their usual school science workshops the CHILL (Childrens Health in Luton and London) Study team created a range of online and remote activities. This programme includes a YouTube video, online games, a citizen science project, Q&A session and remote teaching packs, all designed to engage school communities with the health impacts of air pollution.

Shortlisted: The Garden of Forking Paths

Sebastian Lobbers, Nicole Robson, Louise Bryce, Jianing Zheng, Francesco Soave, Queen Mary University of London

'The Garden of Forking Paths' is an interactive web-exhibition presented at the Ars Electronica festival in 2020 that features works from seven PhD students of the Queen Mary Media & Arts Technology CDT. Over 500 visitors engaged with research-based projects that were developed to be accessible beyond an academic setting.

Involve Award

This award is for activities where the public can contribute their knowledge, expertise or time to research and teaching such as citizen science projects, patient involvement activities, engaged teaching modules and collaborative research projects

Winner: ChessWatch

Kate Heppell, Stuart Grieve and Richard Treves from Queen Mary University of London; Muki Haklay and Yaqian Wu from University College London; Angela Bartlett from King's College London; Allen Beechey from Chiterns Chalk Streams; Paul Jennings from River Chess Association; Helena Soteriou from Thames Water.

'ChessWatch' is a citizen science-based programme monitoring water quality in the River Chess (Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire) combining outreach activities and on-line resources to raise awareness of the threats to this chalk stream. The data from the sensor network will help ensure the public can contribute to evidence-based management plans for the river.'

Shortlisted: Promoting Research in Social Media and Health

Anna De Simoni, Pietro Panzarasa and Chris Griffiths from Queen Mary University of London; Nishanth Sastry from University of Surrey; Amar Dhand from Harvard Medical School; Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research (AUKCAR) Patient and Public Involvement Group

This public engagement activity provided an opportunity to advance public understanding of research on social media and health, and in particular on how patients’ online and offline social networks can enhance illness management. The team ran a public engagement activity with 7 participants between 64 and 81 attending 'singing for breathing' sessions at the Royal London Hospital.

Shortlisted: 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.


Interact Award

This award recognises the partnerships, collaborations and community connections that are essential to public engagement, so seeks to celebrate excellent engagement and the partnerships that make these projects possible.

Winner: Stories from Home

Kathleen McCarthy from Queen Mary University of London, Nurull Islam from Mile End Community Project, Mahera Ruby from Blooming Parenting, Lindsay Knight from Human Stories Films

'Stories from Home' is an intergenerational storytelling project that aims increase cultural awareness, promote heritage language use and social cohesion within the London Bangladeshi community. Together with local families and community partners, they produced a series of short films which capture grandparents’ stories, retold by their grandchildren.

Shortlisted: Who Cares? A History of Emotions in Nursing

Sarah Chaney, Thomas Dixon, Elena Carrera, Emma Sutton, Evelien Lemmens, Dave Saunders and Ollie Brown from Queen Mary University of London; Frances Reed from Royal College of Nursing; Andy Degg from Greenhat Design

The exhibition 'Who Cares? A History of Emotions in Nursing' was launched in January 2020 at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). The centre-piece is a stained-glass window, created collaboratively by the project team and practising nurses, emphasising the impact of the research on nursing today.

Shortlisted: Stage 3 Company

Kalina Tdorova, Kerry Hunt, Ariane Denore, Grace Kirk, Blanka Douglas, Syeda Tasmina Tahia and Xinyue Zhang from Queen Mary University of London

Stage 3 is an activist theatre company that brings students, community members and policy makers together to participate in a fictional citizenship process. Addressing migration, discrimination, belonging and the bureaucracy and power of the UK’s immigration system, the interactive performance produces passionate and effective audience conversations between the generations.


Influence Award

This award is for the activity where public engagement has been used to influence a shift in attitudes or the way things are done: whether this be how people think about a topic and their actions, bring about an organisational change, or influencing policy

Winner: Revealing historic non-commemoration of Indian and African people by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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: The Politics of Vaccine Hesitancy

Jonathan Kennedy from Queen Mary University of London

Using research exploring the link between populism and vaccine hesitancy, this engagement project aims to influence the way that the general public and policymakers think about vaccine hesitancy, promoting the idea that vaccine hesitancy is about distrust of elites and experts rather than a misunderstanding of the evidence.

Shortlisted: Historical Perspectives on Politics

Robert Saunders from Queen Mary University of London

Using research on the history of democracy and of Britain in Europe, this project has sought to inform contemporary public debate on politics through journalism, media commentary, public events and social media. The project has featured on the BBC, Channel 4, Sky News, numerous magazines and papers, and has been quoted in Parliament.


Hawking Award for Developed Understanding of Public Engagement

Named for Lucy Hawking, this award reflects Lucy's qualities of reflexive, cooperative working and her understanding of how to bring together research and engagement. This award is given to an individual or project to acknowledge their critical thinking in the field of public engagement.

Awarded to the Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry 

McOwan Award for Leadership in Public Engagement

Named for Peter McOwan, this award reflects Peter's qualities of inspirational and transformational leadership and his passion for engagement. This award is given to an individual or project to reflect the extensive work they have done in pushing forward the public engagement agenda, and developing those around them.

This year we awarded two individuals the McOwan Award:

Awarded to David Collier and Patient Involvement at the William Harvey Research Institute

"This award is presented for David and team's tireless work in recognising opportunities for public and patient involvement, and the value that patients and people with lived experience can bring to all areas of research and clinical activities.

Their work is founded on an equality of expertise and they have created an environment where PPI activities can thrive, and patients feel comfortable and empowered in the University environment."

Awarded to Aoife Monks


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