The DPAG Prize for Public Engagement with Research (PER) recognises and rewards excellence in public engagement activities delivered by staff and students across DPAG. The aim of the prize is to encourage people to participate and share their experiences of public engagement in future. The department's inaugural prize is supported by University of Oxford’s PER Culture Change Fund.
Winners of the staff category, Dr Katherine Brimblecombe, and student category, Anna Kordala, were presented with a certificate and £150 gift voucher by the Head of Department, Professor David Paterson, in recognition of their PER work.
Anna Kordala was awarded the Student prize for Public Engagement with Research for her ongoing work to improve access to information for families affected by Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Anna has volunteered with the SMA Foundation in Poland since 2019, providing lay descriptions through webpages, and blog posts, and providing an opportunity for families to ask questions about the disease and new therapies during webinars, online events, and presentations.
Anna said: “I am very happy to see that public engagement is gaining wider recognition amongst academics. Especially in the era of social media and misinformation, science communication is extremely important. In my experience, the public IS interested, we just have to work on being more approachable and understandable as a research community. My involvement with the rare disease community has made me a better person and a better researcher. Thank you DPAG for recognizing my work in this space."
Dr Katherine Brimblecombe was awarded the Staff Prize for Public Engagement with Research for her targeted work to provide accessible information to people with Parkinson’s, and their families, through lay interpretation of manuscripts, alongside a blog which supports 2-way communication. In addition, Katherine is commended for delivering a school visit for Science Week, and for sharing her experiences with the DPAG community.
Katherine said: “I am very grateful to the department for recognising my efforts to make my research more accessible to the communities we are trying to serve. I’m sure many other members of the department contribute to this important aspect of academia, and I look forward to hearing more about their experiences”
The review panel felt that Dr Andia Redpath and DPhil student Jéssica Luiz should also be commended and each received a certificate recognising their achievement.
Jéssica Luiz is highly commended for her work with the Outreach and Public Engagement Working Group, particularly for the ‘Listen to your heart’ activity which she developed specifically for the 'Science in the Park’ public engagement event in July 2022.
Jéssica said: “I am thrilled to have been highly commended for the DPAG Prize for PER! Conveying information about our research in a concise and accessible manner for a wide range of audiences is a crucial part of being an academic. It is very rewarding to be contributing to spread the word about the amazing science we do in this department.”
Dr Andia Redpath is highly commended for her sustained commitment to public engagement with research. Andia has interacted with the public in a variety of ways, over a number of years, to communicate our science to people of all ages. In addition, she supports and encourages colleagues to participate in public engagement.
Andia, who was nominated by a colleague, said: “I'm overjoyed to receive this award following a nomination, demonstrating how my work in PER over the last year was valued by not only the public that I engaged with, but also by my colleagues."
The review panel agreed that all applicants and nominees for this inaugural round of the DPAG Public Engagement with Research Prize are clearly extremely motivated communicators of their science. Those that submitted nominations for the prize are thanked for taking the time to endorse and raise the profile of the fantastic public engagement work being delivered by their colleagues in the department.
If you work or study in DPAG and have an interest in Public Engagement, you are welcome to join the Outreach and Public Engagement Working Group (OPEWG) where you can collaborate with like-minded colleagues to deliver a range of activities to diverse audiences. If you are outside of DPAG and are interested in our Public Engagement Work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.