Many congratulations to all winners of the Recognising Excellence Awards in the School of Biological Sciences!

The School of Biological Sciences presented the first Recognising Excellence Awards to members of the School at an event on 11 December 2014.

The awards were made by the Head of School, Prof David Gray, to individuals who had excelled in Public Engagement or Knowledge Exchange & Commercialisation over the past year.  Members from across the School were invited to nominate colleagues in three categories:  PhD student, Principal Investigator and Research, Technical or Administrative Staff Member.  The Excellence with Impact team received many fantastic nominations and had some tough decisions to make.  All the nominees are characterised by their enthusiasm and passion, their willingness to give up their own time and their support for others. 

Many congratulations to all!

Some of the winners L to R:  Clare Blackburn, Bethany Harker, Francisca Mutapi, Balazs Szoor and Harsh Vaidya

Recognising Excellence in SBS Award Winners - PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

Clare Blackburn - Professor of Tissue Stem Cell Biology, Institute of Stem Cell Research

Clare has pioneered the development of a high impact outreach and PE programme in the area of stem cell research and regenerative medicine – includes a highly successful, high profile multilingual public information website ( which is now established as Europe’s leading stem cell info hub.  She has also developed resources for educators and for direct Public Engagement, and fostered a strong interest in use of film as a tool for Public Engagement in science.

Mike Dye - Teaching Laboratory Technician based in Ashworth Labs

In his post in the Biology Teaching Organisation Mike works extensively with the Ashworth Natural History Collection – his knowledge of the 27,000 specimens that make up the collection is ‘second to none’ .  He has been ivolved in numerous Public Engagement events that use this Collection and his enthusiasm has been crucial to the ‘Bugs and Bones Project’ run by Edinburgh Infectious Diseases where specimens from the collection travel to primary schools and festivals across Edinburgh and Lothians.

Bethany Harker - PhD student, Institute of Cell Biology

Beth has been active in numerous Public Engagement activities since she joined the University, including planning and organising events and helping to recruit and train others in Public Engagement roles.  She also makes glass artwork depicting various cell biology scenes which are used for outreach events and also gifted to seminar speakers.

Recognising Excellence in SBS Award Winners - KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE & COMMERCIALISATION

Francisca Mutapi - Senior Lecturer, Institute of Immunology and Infection Research

Francisca has shown how fundamental research can inform policy and have major impacts on human health.  Her research into schistosome immuno-epidemiology has has led to implementation of global health advances and established a robust evidence base for safety and efficacy of the drug Praziquantel against Schistosomiasis in pre-school aged children.  She has also taken an active role in intervention programmes including significant interaction with stakeholders such as World Health Organisation and Ministries of Health.

Balazs Szoor - Postdoc, Institute of Immunology and Infection Research

From October 2013 to October 2014 Balazs took part in a BBSRC-funded to to promote knowledge exchange activities within Edinburgh Infectious Diseases.  In his role as a Technology Scout, Balasz gave the project much more of his time than was expected and has helped to enormously enhance the knowledge exchange landscape within the School.

Harsh Vaidya - PhD Student, Institute of Stem Cell Research

In launching the ‘Edinburgh Innovation Forum’ Harsh has shown leadership in establishing a network of support for PhD students/early career researchers who want to interact with industry and gain commercial experience.


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