19th Oct 2020

Connecting Science Public Engagement Prizes 2020

The annual Connecting Science Public Engagement Prizes recognise outstanding efforts in engaging public or school audiences with Wellcome Genome Campus’ science, research and innovation.

This year was the first time since its creation in 2017 that the event was held online, allowing friends, family, and anyone else interested to attend and participate in congratulating the winners. The award ceremony was hosted in true Oscars style by science comedian and physicist, Helen Arney – dress changes and all – and featured notable figures from the Wellcome Genome Campus presenting the different categories.

The winners, and their work, were then introduced by animated whiteboard animations, and we joined them by video link as they opened the hand-illustrated certificate they had been sent by post.  In short, the event was just as fun as it would have been in person!

Watch the full ceremony on catch-up

2020 prize categories and winners

Commitment to Public Engagement

The Commitment to Public Engagement Prize celebrates staff or students who have demonstrated significant and long-standing commitment to public engagement.

Joint winners: Nicole Wheeler and Maria Duque Correa, Wellcome Sanger Institute

Public Engagement Innovator

The Public Engagement Innovator prize recognises individual members of staff or students who have demonstrated outstanding proactivity or creativity in public engagement.

Winner: Ioanna Kalvari, EMBL-EBI

Public Engagement Advocacy

The Public Engagement Advocacy prize recognises members of staff or students who have enabled positive change in public engagement through leadership, guidance, practical measures or emotional support.

Winner: Rob Finn, EMBL-EBI

Public Engagement Prize for Technical Staff – Sponsored by the Technician Commitment

The Public Engagement Prize for Technical staff celebrates staff across the entire Campus who have undertaken or supported high quality public engagement as part of their work at the Wellcome Genome Campus.

Joint winners: Valerie Vancollie and Sophie Pritchard, Wellcome Sanger Institute

Collaboration in Public Engagement

Recognises a group of individuals who have worked particularly well together to embed public engagement into their work.

Winner: The Golden Eagle Project
This has been a collaboration of Campus members from both Wellcome Sanger Institute and EMBL-EBI: Carmen Lidia Diaz Soria, Matt Kleanthous, Michal Szpak, Valerie Vancollie, Faye Rodgers, Melanie Robinson, Stefanie Pryke, Sara Widaa, James Baker, Jamie Brannigan.

For more details on each winner and their public engagement work, please visit the Public Engagement team’s website.

2020 Prize judges

  • Helen Featherstone – Head of Public Engagement, University of Bath
  • Catherine Gater – Equality and Diversity Programme Manager, Wellcome Sanger Institute
  • Annabel Grieve – International Engagement Relationships Manager, Wellcome Trust
  • Gerard Kleywegt – Head of Molecular and Cellular Structure, EMBL-EBI
  • Shadrack Mkansi – Science Awareness Platforms Manager at South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA)
  • Kelly Vere – Programme Director, Technician Commitment and Director of Technical Skills & Strategy, University of Nottingham
  • Steven Zemke – Head of Faculty Planning, Wellcome Sanger Institute

Thank you to the judges whose difficult task it was to assess the entries; to those who nominated colleagues; to everyone who attended the ceremony; and of course to all the dedicated members of staff from the Wellcome Genome Campus who are so passionate about reaching out to public audiences and connecting with them through science.