The submissions to the 2023 edition of the Vice-Chancellor's Engage Awards saw a fantastic response from colleagues across the University. There were projects ranging from a collaboration between engineers and puppet theatre company Green Ginger for RATLab, a participatory art project with young people at risk of exploitation, maths engagement using the interactive live-streaming platform Twitch, and engagement with the media on issues around tobacco control policies.
With such a competitive field and exceptionally high-quality examples of public engagement with research, finding just one winner in each of the five categories was difficult for the Judging Panel. We are thrilled to announce that the winners of the 2023 Vice-Chancellor's Engage Awards across five categories are...
Dr Jo Daniels, Department of Psychology
Jo is recognised for her extensive work engaging policymakers with her research on the wellbeing and retention in the emergency medicine workforce. Over the last couple of years, Jo's engagement work has seen her mobilise her research by directly engaging with policymakers locally and nationally and adopting a ‘bottom-up’ approach, working across the media to engage a wider audience with the issue to encourage pressure from the public for policy change.
The Leisure or Livelihoods? team of academic and young people peer researchers in Ghana, Malawi and the UK, nominated by Dr Darragh McGee (Department for Health)
The Leisure or Livelihoods? team worked across the whole of the research cycle to incorporate young people’s voices, knowledge and lived experience as part of their Leisure or Livelihoods? research project investigating the impacts of gambling on individual and community health and wellbeing in Ghana and Malawi. The young people engaged their community in this project which then shaped and guided the direction of the research, from developing and delivering community listening exercises to identifying research priorities and undertaking research dissemination with their peer-led educational workshops in schools.
Professor Jason Hart, Department of Social & Policy Sciences, and co-nominees
Jason and his co-nominees from the University of Bristol, University of Geneva and the Proteknôn Foundation for Innovation and Learning are recognised for their creative engagement work as part of their Challenging Child Neglect: Displaced and Conflict-affected Children in Palestine and Jordan research project. Engaging with theatre makers Seenaryo in Jordon and the Tamer Institute in Gaza, the Sudanese and Somali children and the peer researchers shared their experiences and the findings of the project through a book and two short plays for children and young people.
Dr Christina Horvath, Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies
Christina is recognised for her extensive portfolio of public engagement activities (here she is actually delivering engagement activities in France during the Engage Awards presentation event) and her approach to involving people in her research. The Judges were also particularly impressed by Christina's efforts in fostering a culture of public engagement with research in her department and across her discipline, supporting early career researchers to engage with their work.
Local and Civic Engagement
Dr Ceri Brown and Dr Alison Douthwaite (Department of Education)
Ceri and Alison worked across Bath & North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Somerset with the NEETHood project that trailed and evaluated interventions with education practitioners and policymakers to shape policy and practice around the issue of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET). The toolkit and films they developed have been used widely by policymakers in the three local authorities and used as the basis for training that has been delivered to over 200 educators, service leads and practitioners. Ceri and Alison are recognised for how they worked collaboratively with partners to develop these resources, responding directly to their needs in this area.
Awards aren't for everyone. So, to recognise the achievements of colleagues doing brilliant public engagement work, we hosted the Engage Showcase alongside the Engage Awards presentation event. This year our Showcase was made up of an art-science collaboration with the Institute of Sustainability and artist Stephanie Tudor, the Phonic Crystal - an immersive sound installation, pop-up penguins with Life of an Antarctic Scientist exhibition, posters from a collaboration with communities in Bath and the Bath Affordable Food Network and Images of Research.
We would like to congratulate all the winners of the 2023 Engage Awards for their outstanding public engagement achievements and also take this opportunity to mention that all the shortlisted candidates were worthy of winning, but due to the nature of an award scheme, someone has to win. Congratulations to all the shortlisted candidates for their brilliant work.
Thank you to everyone who applied for the Engage Awards and also for the fantastic work that colleagues contributed to our Public Engagement Showcase. And finally, thank you to the Judging Panel chaired by Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Julie Barnett and included Professor Chris Budd ( Department of Mathematical Sciences, Winner of Leadership category 2021), Professor Vimal Dhokia (Deputy Head of Department, Mechanical Engineering and Director of Knowledge Exchange, Faculty of Engineering & Design), Professor Juani Swart (Director of Knowledge Exchange, School of Management), Isobel Michael (Southside Family Project) and Grace Williams (Public Engagement Manager, University of Plymouth)
Vice-Chancellor's Engage Awards
Established in 2013, the Vice-Chancellor's Engage Awards aims to recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of colleagues who engage people beyond the University with their research. Four categories of the Engage Awards focus on public engagement with research and are open to all Education and Research staff and doctoral students and added in 2021 to reflect the renewed strategic focus for the University, a new fifth award category - Local and Civic Engagement - which is open to staff from all job families and doctoral students.
The Vice-Chancellor's Engage Awards will be back in 2025.
Dean Veall is Deputy Head of Public Engagement at the University of Bath