Due to the number of nominations received in this category and their level of excellence, the review panel decided not to shortlist specific candidates but consider them all for the prize.
School of Biological Sciences
"Dr Helina Marshall, a PDRA jointly appointed at UCD and QUB under the supervision of Professors Fanning and Scott, has a strong involvement in the Microbiology Society, fulfilling various key roles (see details in the section below). These activities occur at national and international levels and reflect her commitment above and beyond of what is expected for the PDRA, while at the same time, Helina has demonstrated outstanding scientific productivity, as evidenced by her publications. Her contributions to science have been recently recognised by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases by including her in the list of the 30 under 30 Outstanding Young Scientists Worldwide for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease, the only QUB PDRA to my knowledge having achieved such a distinction. Further, Helina was awarded a Safefood Food Safety Skills Fund award, and a highly competitive Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND Fellowship in Microbiome Science at APC Microbiome Ireland, which she declined for personal reasons. She demonstrates great enthusiasm and dedication to microbiological science and works tirelessly to bring across the perspectives of junior faculty members, PDRAs and students in science at local, national and international levels. There is no question that Helina enhances QUB 's profile through her outstanding engagement activities, making us proud and making her an ideal candidate to be awarded this prize."
Centre for Public Health
"I am delighted to nominate Dr Julie McMullan for this outstanding engagement award. Julie consistently goes ‘above and beyond’, excelling in communicating complex science in a manner that is readily accessible to a range of stakeholders. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic curtailing several public engagement events, Julie has helped convert several of these into successful events that were delivered remotely. Julie’s patience, persistence, engaging manner, and willingness to turn her hand to whatever needs done is magic for ensuring participants think events run seamlessly!
Julie’s exceptional contributions to recent multidisciplinary engagement activities for rare diseases are having a major impact, including helping to identify priorities for change in Northern Ireland, building better communication networks in Northern Ireland and developing new information literature. Julie effectively liaises with families, voluntary groups, public and government agencies, professional bodies, industry, and our local media advocating for much needed improvements for all individuals living and working with rare disease.
Most recently, Julie’s external engagement, beyond her core research project, has been instrumental in generating policy recommendations, developing guidelines to minimise the impact of this COVID-19 pandemic, and helping highly vulnerable people remain as safe and healthy as possible during these challenging times."
Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine
"Dr Lindsay Broadbent has received praise for her knowledgeable and accessible communication of science, particularly regarding her contribution to COVID-19 coverage. Despite working throughout the pandemic on a COVID-19 research project Lindsay has provided invaluable commentary for the public, often interpreting and explaining the science for a lay audience. She has been featured in local, national and international press coverage and has become a regular contributor on several well-respected radio shows (Radio 4, BBC Ulster Talkback, LBC).
Additionally, Lindsay has worked on several impactful outreach projects including ‘COVID Diaries’ and a collaboration with Game Doctor to make an educational science game for children and teens. Despite a full workload and extensive outreach work Lindsay has garnered a following on Twitter where she is frequently asked scientific questions, which she answers clearly and concisely.
Public feedback for Lindsay’s recent press contributions are overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing the positive impact a female role model could have on the next generation of scientists."
School of Biological Sciences
"I am delighted to nominate my colleague Niamh for the Outstanding Engagement prize to recognise her steadfast passion for science communication and public engagement. Niamh has the exceptional ability to adapt to any audience and has consistently developed creative ways of communicating not only her research, but science in a wider respect. She has created and disseminated activities for children, penned an article for the general public, and organised events which have brought together students and industry to co-create and learn. She has represented her project and school at local events such as Balmoral Shows and NI Science Festival events, as well an international conferences. In 2019, she sat on the organisation and academic committee of the first inaugural, pan-European “WeValueFood” conference wherein she spearheaded a group responsible for the creation and implementation of interactive engagement sessions with delegates. She is also responsible for social media communication of Nutrition Society publications. Niamh understands the importance of engaging the public for science communication, and continues to find ways to do this where others may not. She would be a worthy recipient of this award."
School of Biological Sciences
"Dr William Crowe excelled in promoting his research, through engaging with the media. William is the lead author on a ground-breaking review article published in the prestigious journal Nutrients, in November 2019. The article prompted the publication of 369 news stories, all of which highlighted Queens University Belfast’s prominence in nutrition research. William engaged with many of the media outlets, helping them to interpret the findings from the review article. Furthermore, William conducted 3 radio interviews, 2 of which were live. This was the largest story of 2019 in the Institute of Global Food Security. Following the success of this project, 2 industrial partners agreed to fund further related research. William’s experience of public engagement is not confined to dissemination of research findings, on the 22nd January 2020 William participated in an outreach event at a local secondary school, were over 180 pupils attended to discuss further and higher education. Following the success of this, William was invited back to give a career presentation, however due to covid-19 this talk has been postponed. William is an integral part of the Institute of Global Food Security and hopes to further promote his and other’s research in the media."
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