The Society of Biology Science Communication Awards reward scientists and researchers for outreach work which educates and engages the public. There are two categories in these annual awards, and this year both winners were from our faculty.
Applicants’ projects can vary widely, from articles and talks, to demonstrations and art displays. Judges look for engaging activities which bring top-quality science to non-academic audiences, encouraging a long-lasting interest in biology.
This year’s New Researcher Award went to developmental biology PHD Student Rebecca Williams. Rebecca established Fastbleep Biology, an organisation that runs workshops in Greater Manchester, while obtaining her PHD. She also worked as a Widening Participation fellow at the University and a demonstrator at Manchester Museum. Ben Johnson, chair of the judging panel, said:
“What struck us about Rebecca’s application was the variety of activities she was involved in and her ability to improve projects based on participant feedback. Rebecca had some great projects and was really committed to ensuring they continued after she finished her PhD.”
Dr Sheena Cruickshank was successful in the other category, receiving the Established Researcher Award for her role as a developer of The Worm Wagon. Combining art and interactive activities, The Worm Wagon brings awareness to global health issues caused by parasitic worms. Working with a variety of audiences, ranging from school children, to immigrant groups, to festival goers at Live from Jodrell Bank, The Worm Wagon informs the public of how these infections can be both transmitted and treated. Dr Steve Cross, another judge on the panel, said:
“Sheena’s application stood out because she’s getting to audiences beyond the places science normally goes, focusing her time and effort to make successful projects that involve her colleagues. We loved the creativity of her communication and the very clear passion for her field of immunology.”
The winners will receive their awards at the Society’s Annual Award Ceremony at the King’s Fund on Thursday 17th October during Biology Week 2013.