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Outstanding impact and research recognised in inaugural Sussex awards

Dr John Drury (Social Psychology) received an Enabling Impact award for his work on risk and crowd safety.

A special award for sustained impact was made to the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU). Prof Michael Davies is pictured with Prof Johan Schot, SPRU's director.

Emerging researcher Dr Louise Newnham with the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Michael Farthing.

Sussex research has improved lives and changed the outside world in areas from lad culture to chemical weapons and sustainable food, as recognised by an inaugural awards ceremony on campus last night (16 June).

The winners of the first Sussex Impact and Research Awards were announced at a celebratory reception in the Jubilee building.

Sussex researchers from across the University joined the Vice-Chancellor and external guests for Tuesday evening’s event, which followed the first Sussex Impact Day.

The new awards, divided into three categories (Enabling Impact; Achieving Impact; and Emerging Researcher) celebrate the impact of Sussex research and the achievements of early-career researchers.

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Michael Davies, said: “The UK government and other research funders increasingly require universities to demonstrate the impact of their research, and at Sussex a key part of our approach is to recognise, celebrate and invest in outstanding impact.

“This first ever set of University awards for outstanding impact not only recognise our researchers’ achievements but also include a modest financial investment in their work. This demonstrates our institutional commitment to the future of the University as a place of excellence and innovation.”

Each winning entry received a certificate and £1,000 paid into a research support account.

To read more about the impact of Sussex research, see the Research and Knowledge Exchange web pages.

Enabling Impact

This award celebrates engagement and activity likely to lead to impact of reach and significance.

Nominations, based on established or ongoing research, demonstrated involvement with non-academic partners or the public, covering a wide breadth of research and impact activities, from improving the efficiencies of gasoline engines to uncovering Sussex’s rich modernist history.

The awards were presented by Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of the Charleston Trust, on behalf of a panel of external research users and beneficiaries.

Mr Burtenshaw said: “We at Charleston are very aware of the contributions the University makes to the artistic, literary and cultural life of its region.

“I have now also gained a fuller appreciation of the impact Sussex has in scientific discovery, improved health outcomes, new technologies, environmental sustainability, and so many other fields.”

The four winners were:

  • Dr John Drury (Social Psychology), with Dr Holly Carter and collaborators: ‘From Risk to Crowd Safety Through Psychology’
  • Dr Caitríona McLeish (SPRU), with Dr James Revill (SPRU): ‘Chemical and Biological Weapons: History, Use and Governance’
  • Dr Benedict Burbridge (Art History): ‘Revelations: Experiments in Photography’
  • Dr Rachael Durrant (SPRU): ‘Towards Sustainable Food’

A special commendation was also made to Professor Andrea Cornwall (Anthropology and International Development) for her work as Director of the Pathways of Women’s Empowerment consortium.

Achieving Impact

The diverse entries for this category ranged from the social cost of carbon to children’s reading comprehension and the conservation of wild bees.

The awards were presented by Richard Robinson, Director of the Brighton Science Festival, on behalf of the judging panel.

Mr Robinson said “All the applications were magnificent” and extended his “warmest congratulations”, and he urged Sussex researchers to get involved with the Science Festival and to continue their excellent work.

The four winners were:

A special award for sustained impact was also made to the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), as a whole, recognising their long-standing commitment to research impact.

Emerging Researcher

Individuals in the early stages of their research career were invited to describe their role in a project of scale or significance and to demonstrate a strong portfolio of research outputs. Nominations ranged from work on contemporary art photography to risk factors of female infertility.

The awards were presented by Professor Louise Morley (Education), whose own research concerns leadership in higher education.

Professor Morley said: “It is of the utmost importance that we nourish and celebrate our emerging researchers, who bring new insights and energy to their fields – as was on full display in the applications submitted.”

Two awards went to researchers who have distinguished themselves by their exceptional contributions to their research field as a whole:

  • Dr Louise Newnham (Genome Damage and Stability Centre): ‘Age as a Major Risk Factor for Female Infertility and Miscarriage’
  • Dr Alfredo Vargas (Physical Chemistry): ‘Applied Computational Chemistry and New Boron Compounds’

A special commendation was also made to Dr Mark Walters (Law) for his work on responses to hate crime.

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By: Alison Field
Last updated: Wednesday, 17 June 2015

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