There were two categories – a ‘Project’ award to recognise individual projects which aim to inform, consult, or collaborate with a public audience; and an ‘Early Career Researcher’ award to recognise researchers who show a real commitment to public engagmeneti n their work.
The prize was judged by Naomi Gibson, Public Engagement Coordinator for the Medical Sciences Division, and was awarded by centre director Prof John Todd.
Winner: Project Award
DNA Manipulation workshop
Project leads: Justin Whalley and Andrew Brown from the Knight group, with Olga Mielczarek, Alice Allcock, Harindra Amarasinghe, Giuseppe Scozzafava, Julie Osgood, Yuxin Mi, Carla Cohen, Andrew Kwok and Lauren Overend also taking part.
This whole-day workshop introduced secondary school students to identifying and using DNA sequence variants, as part of the Abingdon Science Partnership. So far 54 students from six different schools came together to learn how to work with DNA and small volumes. They carried out a PCR reaction, used restriction enzymes, and ran their own gel electrophoresis. The whole day was interspersed with a talk on genome editing with CRISP-R and several career path talks. In the afternoon the workshop focused on bioinformatics, playing a ‘whisper game’ to show how our researchers can use DNA mutations to work out how diseases spread.
The workshop is becoming a regular part of both the groups, and the schools, calendar.
Winner: Early Career Researcher
Nilufer Rahmioglu, from the Zondervan group.
After establishing the Cyprus Women’s Health Research (COHERE) Initiative study, Nilufer has been doing a range of different types of public engagement activities in Northern Cyprus about this research.
Some of these activities include:
- Public seminars, as well as giving short presentations in work places and with patient groups, to raise awareness on women’s health conditions, in particular endometriosis, and on the study. These seminars were also designed to give women a chance to share their opinions and ask their questions about the study, for Nilufer to understand the everyday problems of women and their take on volunteering for research.
- Nilufer received funding from Civic Space to create short movies to raise awareness on women’s health conditions, and to help recruit for the study. These were on air in local movie theatre screens and TV channels for the past year. You can watch one of them with English subtitles at this link. (to switch on English subtitles, click the cog symbol, then switch on 'captions’)
- Nilufer led the organisation of two 5K city runs inviting people to come together to be active for awareness raising on women’s health and fundraise for the COHERE study in Northern Cyprus each of which attracted ~500 people (7th April 2019: ; 6th May 2018:
- Leads the management of a Facebook (@KISAAInisiyatifi) and Instagram (@cohere_kisaa) page for the study.
Nilufer has also signed up to attend the ‘National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement’ Researcher’s Academy 2019/20, which is a series of two-day workshops spread out over a year, focusing on public engagement training.
Nilufer said, “I find that a researcher who is actively engaged with different segments of the public can look at the big picture more realistically which in turn will help improve our research focus, methodology as well as deliverables”