Research and knowledge exchange

Sussex Impact and Research Awards 2016

The Sussex Impact and Research Awards 2016 rewarded Sussex researchers for their impact, as well as Early Career Researchers for their outstanding work.

Impact Awards 1The awards reception held on Tuesday 16th June in Jubilee building

The awards were announced at a celebratory reception in the Jubilee Atrium by the former Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) along with two award judges. 

Professor Michael Farthing said: “These awards demonstrate the depth and breadth of engagement between Sussex researchers and society; they show the way to a future where researchers are consistently outward-facing, engaging with those who can both inform and benefit from their research.”

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

Look at the Sussex Impact and Research Awards 2016 Programme [PDF 626.94KB] to view all of the 2016 entries.

The winning entries are detailed below.

Impact Awards

The Sussex Impact Awards 2016 recognised the effects and benefits of Sussex research beyond the academy between January 2014 and May 2016.

Awards were made in each of three categories of impact (commercial and economic; policy and practice; and public engagement).

Commercial and economic

Research and innovation can generate technologies, models and practices that have direct economic and commercial benefits.  This award celebrates such advances, whether they have helped to grow a single business or influenced the functioning of the national or global economy. 

Professor Tony Moore (Life Sciences) ‘Protecting global food security'

Tony Moore Impact AwardsProfessor Tony Moore accepts his award

Protecting Global Food Security

Co-Applicants: Dr Luke Young, Dr Mary Albury, and Mr Benjamin May (Life Sciences)

Fungicides play a key role in crop disease control but increasing resistance to fungal pathogens threatens their effectiveness. Moore’s research provides a breakthrough solution to prevent fungicide resistance and increase crop yield.  A suite of compounds (AOX fungicides) has been developed which prevents the development of cereal fungal resistance towards conventional fungicides, decreases the need for repeated application, reduces environmental damage and increases crop yield.

For further information about this research, visit the Moore Lab web page.

Professor Louise Serpell (Life Sciences) ‘Changing the way we investigate neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease’

Louise Serpell Impact Awards 2Professor Louise Serpell accepts her award

Louise Serpell Impact Awards 1Changing the way we investigate neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease

Principal Applicant: Professor Louise Serpell (Life Sciences)

Alzheimer’s causes distress to sufferers and their families and is increasing in frequency. A protein called Amyloid-beta (Aβ) plays a central role in the disease progression and has been implicated in causing neurodegeneration. Recent work in the Serpell lab has invented a tool that will enable highly controlled experiments to explore the toxic action of Aβ.

For further information about this research, watch this video or visit the Serpell Lab web page.


A special commendation went to Dr Diego Martinez Plasencia, (Engineering and Informatics) for ‘A playful advertising campaign engaging sight, touch and smell within seconds’.

Public engagement 

This award recognises the many different ways in which Sussex is reaching out and working with different organisations, groups, communities, and the general public, to ensure that our research is helping to tackle the challenges faced by the world in which we live.

Professor Gail Davey (BSMS) ‘Podoconiosis research: transforming patients’ lives’

Gail Davey Impact Awards 2Professor Gail Davey accepts her award

Gail Davey Impact Awards 1Podoconiosis research: transforming patients’ lives.

Co-Applicants: Professor Melanie Newport (Wellcome Trust Brighton; Sussex Centre for Global Health Research, Brighton and Sussex Medical School); and Mr Michael Edmonds, Development and Alumni Relations Office, University of Sussex.

The Podoconiosis Research Hub disseminates world-class research on this neglected tropical condition.  Since January 2014, 270 health workers in Cameroon, Uganda and Ethiopia have received training on patient care; and at least 35,000 people have been educated on the causes and treatment of the condition.  The Research Hub has also secured funding to support implementation projects in Ethiopia and produced an animated video.

Watch this video to find out more about the Podoconiosis research.

Nicolette Fox (SPRU) ‘Take 7 – sharing solar stories for greater engagement and impact’

Take 7 – sharing solar stories for greater engagement and impact

Principal Applicant: Nicolette Fox (Business, Management and Economics (SPRU))

The study, Take 7, explores what happens when seven families, with pre-payment meters, are given solar panels. The research led to information leaflets being produced with three councils for hundreds of social housing tenants with solar. It was also turned into a YouTube film for a public fuel poverty event. Additionally, the research has been used by a water company, council and national consumer organisation to help shape a project on engaging households around high water use.

Watch the Take 7 film here.

Special Commendations went to:

Policy and practice

This award celebrates the diversity of research undertaken at Sussex that influences policy and practice across economics, innovation, education, policing, the environment, health, and beyond.

Dr Mika Peck (Life Sciences) ‘Bringing the brown-headed spider monkey back from the brink of extinction –sustainable local economies to conserve tropical rainforest’

Mika Peck Impact Awards 1Bringing the brown-headed spider monkey back from the brink of extinction - sustainable local economies to conserve tropical rainforest

Principal Applicant: Dr Mika Peck (Life Sciences)

Working to preserve the endangered brown-headed spider monkey in Ecuador, Peck has collaborated with forest communities, NGOs and academics to help establish the ‘Tesoro Escondido Spider Monkey Reserve’, to transform the development path of forest communities through the organic ‘Conservation Chocolate’ Project, and train a new generation of community-based conservationists. 

For more information about this area of research, visit the Peck Lab web page.

Professor Richard Vogler (LPS) ‘Witness rights and freedom from police coercion in Georgia’

Richard Vogler Impact Awards 2Professor Richard Vogler accepts his award

Richard Vogler Impact Awards 1Witness Rights and Freedom from Police Coercion in Georgia

Principal Applicant: Professor Richard Vogler (Law, Politics and Sociology)

Soviet-era police forces were able to arrest anyone who they thought could give evidence about any offence, which led to arbitrary arrest and the systematic torture and intimidation of witnesses.   The successful campaign to end this practice in Georgia involved research undertaken by Richard Vogler which was presented at a high profile Tbilisi conference and in television interviews.

 Find out more about the research here.

Professor Jane Oakhill (Psychology) ‘Promoting reading comprehension in primary school children’

Jane Oakhill Impact Awards 2Professor Jane Oakhill accepts her award

Jane Oakhill Impact Awards 1Promoting Reading Comprehension in Primary School Children

Co-Applicant: Professor Kate Cain (Lancaster University) has contributed substantially to the research

The researchers identified core skills that are causally implicated in comprehension development and difficulties and helped develop recommendations for teaching the skills identified in the revised National Curriculum. Their research fed into professional development for the teaching of reading comprehension in the UK and North America, as well as supporting successful training programmes in the UK and South America. 

Find out more about the research here. This research recieved a finalist award in the 2016 ESRC Celebrating Impact competition.

  • Dr Helga Dittmar (Psychology) for ‘Experimental evidence that exposure to Barbie doll (and other ultra-thin ideals) is harmful to girl’s body image influences new Barbie range and government policy’
  • Professor James Fairhead, School of Global Studies, for ‘Anthropology input transforms Ebola response’. The team working on this project have also recently recieved an ESRC Outstanding International Impact award, see further details here.

Emerging Researcher

This award recognises the achievement of research of the highest calibre from individuals in the early stages of their academic career who have distinguished themselves by their exceptional contributions to their research field as a whole. 

Emerging Researcher

Dr Thor Magnusson (MFM) ‘Teaching the young and the old the art of programming computers through live coding music technologies’

Thor Magnusson Impact Awards 2Dr Thor Magnusson accepts his award

Thor Magnusson Impact Awards 1Teaching the young and the old the art of programming computers through live coding music technologies

Dr Thor Magnusson (Media, Film and Music)

Live coding is a new method of programming computers where the software runs whilst being developed. This has become a bespoke art form with live performances and streaming via online channels. Magnusson has created and disseminated three live coding systems. He regularly performs, and has spent a decade organising international workshops for people of all ages on live coding. 

Watch this video or visit Thor's website to find out more about the research.

Dr Anna Barnett (Engineering and Informatics) ‘Improved spacecraft guidance, navigation and control through the understanding of light’

Anna Barnett Impact AwardsDr Anna Barnett accepts her award

Improved spacecraft guidance, navigation and control through the understanding of light.

Dr Anna M. Barnett (Engineering and Informatics).

To operate correctly, spacecraft use attitude determination systems to measure their orientation (attitude) relative to some other object (often the Sun).  A revolutionary attitude determination system (called MicroADS) has been invented which offers improved measurement accuracy and field-of-view whilst also being considerably smaller and lighter than existing systems.

For more information about this area of research, visit the Semiconductor Materials and Devices Laboratory web page.

A Special Commendation went to Dr Kasia Pisanski (Psychology) for ‘Vocal communication and bioacoustics' (H2020 European Union Project title: ‘Faking it: the production, perception, and function of social voice modulation’).

Contact us

For more information about the Sussex Impact and Research Awards 2016, please contact the Research Quality and Impact Team.


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