Oxford Brookes Biologist wins national Science Communication Award

Thursday, 06 October 2016

Dr Louise Hughes

Bio-Imaging Unit Researcher Dr Louise Hughes MRSB from Oxford Brookes University has been awarded a national Science Communication Award from the Royal Society of Biology.

Held annually, the Royal Society of Biology's Science Communication Awards are intended to celebrate science engagement work carried out by research scientists in order to inform and inspire the public.

The competition was open to bioscience researchers from UK universities and institutes. The Awards celebrate researchers in two categories with cash prizes; Established Researcher Prize (£1,500) and New Researcher Prize (£750).

Communicating our science and research, whether it is to peers, supervisors, students, schools or the general public, is a fundamental part of what and who we are as scientists.

Dr Louise Hughes, Bio-Imaging Unit Researcher and Microscopist, Oxford Brookes University

Dr Louise Hughes, a researcher and microscopist at Oxford Brookes, was awarded The Established Researcher Prize.

As curator of Zoom: Worlds through the microscope, an exhibition on display last year in the University's Glass Tank, which focused on using microscopes to view objects invisible to the naked eye, Louise has often brought science and art together in an effort to stimulate public interest in the biosciences.

Louise said: "I feel overwhelmed, humbled and enormously enthused by winning the Royal Society of Biology Science Communication Award.

“Communicating our science and research, whether it is to peers, supervisors, students, schools or the general public, is a fundamental part of what and who we are as scientists.”

Judge Dr Steve Cross, Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow said: "Louise was a great example of thinking outside of everyday ways of doing engagement, and of going to meet new and underserved public audiences where they live, rather than expecting people to come to you."

The New Researcher Prize was awarded to PhD student Hephzi Tagoe, from University College London, whose research focuses on skin biology in the Institute of Child Health.

Dr Steve Cross continued: “The overall standard of the entries this year was higher than ever. It is great to see so many biologists taking their work out and engaging with public audiences about it. Both our winners impressed by reaching audiences who don't normally get to meet biologists face-to-face, and by using their creativity and drive to make fantastic engagement happen.”

The awards will be presented at the  Royal Society of Biology's Annual Award Ceremony on Thursday 13 October during Biology Week 2016. Biology Week is an annual celebration of the biosciences organised by the Society. This year it takes place from 8-16 October 2016.

The Society wishes to thank the Wellcome Trust for their support of the awards, and also this year’s judges: Dr Steve Cross, Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow; Dr Liz Granger, Young Scientist Centre manager at UCLan; Farrah Nazir, national programmes adviser at the Wellcome Trust; and Rosie Waldron, engagement manager at the British Science Association.

Dr Louise Hughes recently did a great interview with online magazine The Free Think Tank, touching on a wide range of topics from mouse articular cartilage to her favourite books! You can read it on their website.