- 04 October 2021
Two outstanding bioscience researchers have been recognised with this year’s RSB Outreach and Engagement Awards.
The RSB Outreach and Engagement Awards celebrate researchers who communicate their scientific work using innovative methods that engage with their target audiences.
Both winners will present their work and discuss their public engagement experiences at the Outreach and Engagement Awards taking place this Wednesday, as part of Biology Week 2021. The event will be chaired by Dr Steve Cross and include an audience Q&A.
From left to right: Elizabeth and Andreia
The New Researcher Award aims to recognise those making exceptional efforts in outreach and engagement within the first five years after graduation, whilst the Leadership award recognises those who are making a difference in embedding outreach and engagement work at an institutional level.
This year, the winner of the Outreach and Engagement Award for Leadership is Dr Andreia de Almeida, a postdoctoral research associate at Cardiff University.
Andreia established an innovative Science Stitches project through the support of the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund.
Her project allowed audiences to understand her own research on the role of transmembrane channels in cancer development.
She and her team provided tours of university labs, presentations and discussions with scientists, encouraging audiences to then use this knowledge to create garments based on the research.
Andreia was able to adapt the project during the COVID-19 pandemic, by distributing instructions and embroidery kits, to continue to reach various communities.
She is also working on projects to bring science home by providing research microscopes to family groups and helping develop an online game on species conversation.
Andreia said of receiving the award: “I have always been very passionate about outreach and making science and research accessible to everyone.
“Receiving this award is such a great recognition of the work I have been doing. I enjoy reaching out in innovative ways, especially to disadvantaged communities.”
Dr Steve Cross, chair of the award’s judging panel, said of Andreia’s win: “Andreia is an amazing advocate for biology. We really enjoyed reading about the work she has done to help fashion students to engage with the research that her Division carries out.
“Despite her relatively junior position, Andreia is clearly becoming a real leader of engagement with science, and we were really impressed with her willingness to experiment, take risks and learn in pursuit of her goals.”
Hear more from Andreia below:
The winner of the Outreach and Engagement Award for New Researcher is Elizabeth Mills, a PhD student in the school of science and engineering at the University of Dundee.
Elizabeth has been recognised for her array of engagement methods, from hands-on activities to participatory workshops and talks to digital content – all of which illustrate her research on biofouling, and the wider marine ecosystems.
She runs a website and YouTube channel called Marine Mumbles, where people can find out more about marine wildlife.
She has also initialled her own daily scientific art social media challenge, #ROCKPOOLaroid, which encourages the public to post marine artwork online. #ROCKPOOLaroid is taking place throughout Biology Week 2021.
Elizabeth said of receiving the award: “I am so honoured to receive this award and for my public outreach and engagement to be recognised in this way.
“As a marine biologist and engineer, I get to learn a lot of amazing things and I get such joy and excitement thinking of engaging and fun ways to share what I have learnt.
“I hope to be a positive role model for people looking to become scientists and provide people with the knowledge and confidence to ask questions.
“I want to connect people to nature right on their doorstep and show how we can explore the ocean for the price of a pair of wellies because when be connect to nature we become more inclined to protect it.”
Dr Steve Cross said of Elizabeth’s win: “Elizabeth's YouTube work really impressed us. She has really cleverly managed to bend her research into the shape of YouTube's favourite genres, and has gone beyond it to build a community of marine life fans.
“This is only part of what she does, and we loved the work she's done to help loads of Scottish communities to think about their coastal animals.”
Hear more from Elizabeth below:
Dr Andreia de Almeida will receive a prize of £1500, and Elizabeth Mills will receive £750.