Society awards outstanding science communicators
Kate McAllister from the University of Cambridge and Dr Nicola Hemmings from the University of Sheffield have been named as the winners of the Society of Biology's Science Communication Awards 2014.
The Society's annual awards are intended to reward outreach work carried out by scientists to inform, enthuse and engage the public.
The competition was open to bioscience researchers from UK universities and institutes in two categories; New Researcher Prize (£750) and Established Researcher Prize (£1500).
Dr Steve Cross, head of public engagement at UCL and chair of the judging panel said, "It has been a real pleasure to read the nominations for the Society of Biology's Science Communication Awards this year. So many biologists are doing great work to get their research and knowledge out there, all over the world."
The New Researcher Prize was awarded to neuroscience PhD student, Kate McAllister, from the University of Cambridge.
Kate designed, coordinated and taught a weekend neurology course for a lay audience aged 21-90. She has visited schools to debate brain-enhancing drugs and has consulted with BFI on communicating neuroscience through cinema. She appears regularly on the 'Naked Scientists' podcast and has collaborated with them in creating the Smarter UK schools project.
Kate said, "The science communication projects I have been involved in over the last few years have broadened my knowledge of biology and been some of the most rewarding and engaging aspects of my career so far."
Dr Steve Cross said, "Kate has been fantastic at pro-actively creating a really varied range of communication activities, and adapting and improving them to reach different people. We were really impressed by the audience focus of her work, and the fascinating research she shares with people outside science."
The Established Researcher Prize was awarded to post-doctoral research associate Dr Nicola Hemmings from the University of Sheffield.
Nicola created a three-tiered programme to teach children as young as five about fertility. She has engaged thousands of local school children by developing hands-on activities on fossils to solar-panels and mentoring undergraduates to deliver them in conjunction with regular lectures. She has also developed workshops to help adult audiences understand how studying sperm can help save endangered species.
Nicola said, "I'm delighted and honoured to receive this award. It is wonderful to gain recognition for something I love doing! I hope my work inspires other scientists to engage the public with their research too."
Dr Steve Cross said, "We were really impressed by the process that Nicola uses to engage with communities outside academia. She is utterly committed to learning, improving and refining her work, to help people connect with both her research and what it is to be a scientist."
The Society wishes to thank Wellcome Trust for their support of these Awards and the judges, Dr Steve Cross, Dr Liz Granger, Lisa Jamieson and Farrah Nazir.