University Celebrates 2017 Knowledge Exchange & Public Engagement Awards

Published: 11 December 2017

Outstanding knowledge exchange successes were celebrated at the University’s 2017 Knowledge Exchange & Public Engagement Awards at the Imaging Centre of Excellence on 30th November.

Outstanding knowledge exchange successes were celebrated at the University’s 2017 Knowledge Exchange & Public Engagement Awards at the Imaging Centre of Excellence on 30th November. The awards recognised and rewarded excellence in the exchange of knowledge, expertise and intellectual assets through engagement with industry, the public sector and community partners, celebrating the very best of the University’s influence and impact on the economy and society.

The awards spanned seven categories to reflect the broad range of excellence in engagement across the University. The winners were:

Best Collaboration (Arts)

Ms Anna Scott and Professor Dee Heddon from the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities for their establishment and leadership of the National Internship Programme. Through paid doctoral internship and artist residency opportunities for arts and humanities doctoral researchers, the Programme has provided innovative and rigorous analytical input to key creative industry challenges, delivering tangible outputs for both internship hosts and wider industry. Since 2015, the Programme has enabled 60 doctoral researchers from across Scotland to work in partnership with over 40 external organisations – including BBC Scotland, The Scottish Parliament, RSPB and Glasgow Women’s Library – and has resulted in over £200k investment in arts and culture research in the Scottish economy. 

Image from the 2017 Knowledge Exchange & Public Engagement Awards

Best Collaboration (Business)

Dr Anthony Kelly from the School of Engineering for his long-term research collaborationwith Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global (CSTG), a Scottish based supplier of optoelectronic components. This highly successful collaboration has resulted in the introduction of a range of high-speed laser products for the optical communications markets and significantly increased revenues and market access for CSTG. The project involved the exchange of knowledge, people and skills between UofG and CSTG and was supported by RCUK funding, KTP, pump-priming EPSRC IAA (including academic secondment), PhD studentship support (College industrial scholarship and CDTs) and current H2020 and Innovate UK projects. 

Image from the 2017 Knowledge Exchange & Public Engagement Awards

Best Collaboration Policy and Practice

Professor Hester Parr from the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences for her sustained and extensive knowledge exchange with the Scottish Government and the UK Missing People Charity to shape policy and practice on how Scotland responds to returning missing people. Hester contributed research knowledge and expertise on the geographies of missing people to co-develop The National Missing Persons Framework for Scotland which guided improvements in the handling and responsiveness to the 30,000+ people who are reported as missing in Scotland each year. Furthermore, Hester’s work has helped inform professional practice across the UK and prompted new multi-sector training for over 300 professionals who come into contact with returned missing people.

Image from the 2017 Knowledge Exchange & Public Engagement Awards

Best Community or Public Engagement Initiative

Dr Saeeda Bhatti from the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing for implementation of a series of innovative and ambitious public engagement and science communication events in conjunction with local primary schools in the Gorbals, promoting STEM engagement in areas with traditionally low participation. Saeeda recruited researchers from across MVLS, Physical Sciences and NHS GGC to run a workshop, to produce a magazine – The ‘Adventures in Science’ – and to participate in the Glasgow Explorathon, bringing together individuals from across the community in a concerted effort to provide increased opportunities for these children and young people. 

Giving Back to Glasgow

Ms Helen Martin and the BA Community Development Team from the School of Education for establishing ‘Activate’ – a partnership programme on community development between local communities, local organisations and the University of Glasgow. Activate provides people living in communities facing multiple levels of deprivation with a 50-hour programme of critical engagement with a number of key community development concepts. Partners include housing associations & neighbourhood groups, 3rd Sector organisations, National campaigning organisations, Scottish Prison Service and local & national government. To date, there have been 1200 Activate graduates, each of whom are entitled to an interview to the BA (hons) in Community Development at the University of Glasgow under their widening participation agenda. 

Image from the 2017 Knowledge Exchange & Public Engagement Awards

Entrepreneur of the Year 

Ms Corien Staels, an Adam Smith Business School alumna, for her work founding Staels Design Ltd. Staels Design was formed to meet unmet needs in rehabilitation product design and aims to be the centre of expertise of heating and cooling in the healthcare industry. The company’s first product, ‘wheelAIR®’, seeks to alleviate a number of pain points currently faced by wheelchair users, focused on temperature regulation. wheelAIR® is a battery powered airflow back-rest cushion, designed to be ergonomically supporting, made of high quality innovative materials. wheelAIR® increases your comfort and keeps you cool. 

Image from the 2017 Knowledge Exchange & Public Engagement Awards

Engaged Researcher of the Year

Dr Melanie Jimenez from the School of Engineering for sustained outreach activities and impactful engagement around medical diagnostics. Melanie forged collaborations with colleagues in MVLS to showcase the breadth of interdisciplinarity at Glasgow, reaching over 500 people across numerous events, with 92% gaining a better understanding of biomedical engineering and immunology. Further connections with the Engineering student society, FemEng, led to engagement with over 1,000 students in Rwanda to highlight the importance and challenges of malaria diagnostics, inspiring students to take up careers in STEM. Melanie also initiated Circuits! – a project which connects engineers with teachers to co-produce new materials to teach biomedical engineering in schools.

Image from the 2017 Knowledge Exchange & Public Engagement Awards

'Engagement – Innovation – Impact’ 

The awards ceremony took place as part of the University’s 2017 Knowledge Exchange & Engagement Conference, which brought together over 140 academic and support staff from across the four Colleges of the University. The Conference marked the official launch of the University’s new Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Strategy (2017-2021) ‘Changing the world through Engagement – Innovation – Impact’ which sets out the University’s ambition to create impact for society and the economy through innovative engagement.

The Conference programme provided fresh perspectives and informative sector-wide debate including keynote addresses and a chaired panel discussion session which heard commentary from Kevin Baughan (Deputy Chief Executive of Innovate UK), David Brown (Head of Government and Public Services, PwC), Jenni Chambers (Head of RCUK Public Engagement with Research, RCUK), Siobhan Jordan (Director, Interface) and Olga Kozlova (Director, Converge Challenge). In addition, the conference provided delegates with a varied series of interactive workshops to provide practical advice and support in developing Knowledge Exchange & Engagement projects and ‘Meet the researcher’ stalls to showcase the dissemination of complex research projects through the use of communicable and engaging activities.

Professor Jon Cooper, Vice-Principal of Knowledge Exchange, said, “The Knowledge Exchange & Engagement Conference is a celebration of the rich variety of knowledge exchange that our academic community undertakes with their partners to deliver wider benefits to society and the economy. I was delighted with the calibre of entries to the Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement Awards and would like to congratulate the winners for their outstanding achievements. I look forward to working with the Colleges and our external partners to implement our new strategy and inspire our community to expand our knowledge exchange and innovation endeavours.”

(Article courtesy Dr Elspeth Elliott, External and Internal Development Manager, Research Strategy and Innovation Office)

First published: 11 December 2017