Dr Nicola Stanley-Wall, a Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology at the Division of Molecular Microbiology, College of Life Sciences, has been announced as the winner of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Beltane Innovator’s Prize for Public Engagement 2012.
Through these prestigious prizes the RSE and Edinburgh Beltane aim to recognise and promote excellence in public engagement with research and foster a culture in which researchers consider good communication an integral part of their work.
In addition to her own research programme at the University’s College of Life Sciences, Dr Stanley-Wall has developed an innovative approach to public engagement. She co-ordinates the hugely popular ‘Magnificent Microbes’ event at Dundee Science Festival, regularly gives talks to pupils at schools throughout the Dundee area, and helps organise RSE Science Masterclasses at the University.
Dr Stanley-Wall said she was delighted to receive the award and talked about the importance of public engagement for scientists.
“I am very proud and honoured to be awarded the RSE Beltane Innovator Prize for Public Engagement,” she said. “Organising outreach activities is a very enjoyable part of my work.
“I am always excited to see the creativity my colleagues have when designing fun activities to explain their work and additionally gain a lot of satisfaction when the visitors and school children clearly benefit from the time and effort that has been exerted.”
In 2011, the RSE and Edinburgh Beltane launched the RSE Beltane Prizes for Public Engagement with the aim of recognising and rewarding the advancement of high quality public engagement with research. The Innovator’s Prize is awarded to a recognised emerging talent, who shows promise as an innovator in the field of public engagement.
Professor Mary Bownes, Vice Principal of the University of Edinburgh and Chair of the selection committee, said “The task of choosing the winners was once again extremely difficult. The candidates were of extremely high calibre and we could have easily given out several awards. We are delighted with the selection of Dr Stanley-Wall, whose innovative engagement activities in Molecular Microbiology exhibit potential for future developments.”
The prizes, designed and crafted by Edinburgh-based artist Karen Akester, will be presented to the winners at an upcoming public event, details of which will be announced on the RSE website soon.