School of Life Sciences

Denise McLean receives special commendation from the University of Nottingham Institute for Policy and Engagement

Denise McLeanPic2

Denise McLean receives special commendation from the University of Nottingham Institute for Policy and Engagement.

Denise McLean is Senior Research Technician in the School of Life Sciences and the Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre. Denise was shortlisted for the University of Nottingham 2021 Institute for Policy and Engagement’s Director’s Award and received a special commendation for her advocacy and policy activity on technical careers and her outreach to Black communities and youth work.   

Policy and advocacy of technical careers 

Denise is a strong advocate for the recognition and professional development of technical roles. She has been recognised as the voice of the technician workforce and a Champion of the Technician Commitment. Denise was invited to speak at New Scientist Live 2018, where she advocated for technical careers, and at the first anniversary event of the Technician Commitment

Roles held by Denise demonstrate her passion for creating opportunities and a diverse and sustainable workforce. Denise is Chair of MI TALENT National Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Technician Network. Denise was Chair of the Changemaker Programme. This national initiative, supported by the EPSRC-funded STEMM-Change Inclusion Matters project, funds placements for technical staff from minority groups to other research institutions. It provides opportunities for learning technical skills and best practice in new environments, which has empowering effects for the individual. 

Most recently, Denise was seconded as Chair of ED&I for Midlands Innovation’s Talent Programme. Talent aims to advance the status of technicians and provide opportunities for the 2100 technicians in the Midlands region, underpinned by £3 million from Research England. Denise co-facilitates the Herschel Programme, which supports women advance their technical careers. 188 applicants are enrolled in the 2022 workshops. In other work to advocate for technical careers amongst young women, Denise participated in the UK Government’s #notjustforboys campaign and has authored external articles and speeches on advancing ED&I in science. She is also on the committee of the University’s Women’s Network.  

Denise’s passion for science and her commitment as a STEM ambassador have led her to organise and participate in numerous outreach projects. For example, Denise has worked with Willard Wigan MBE, micro sculptor and creator of the world’s smallest hand-made microart, during Art and Science Expo in Birmingham in 2018. 

Outreach during Covid-19 

Driven by a sense of concern towards her own community and a recent personal loss to Covid-19, Denise is involved in several outreach initiatives. She uses her links to community leaders to engage with the local Black community in support of a study of vaccine hesitancy, “Factors affecting vaccine uptake in the Black Community of Nottingham”, in collaboration with School of Life Sciences’ Dr Wilson, Dr Mbaki and Nottingham CityCare Partnership. Similarly, she engages actively with the local Black community via a WhatsApp BME Health group, which includes health professionals, health advocates and focuses on health issues that are prevalent or carry stigma amongst the BME community. Denise shares her knowledge and trust of the health system, advocating for better personal choices of prevention, diagnosis and treatment amongst this community.  

Finally, Denise is part of a Public Involvement Panel (PIP) informing the research of the “Coronavirus Discourses: linguistic evidence for effective public health messaging” [5] project led by University of Nottingham’s Dr Barnard, which aims to design public health messages with maximum health benefit.  

To see all 2021 Awards from The Institute for Policy and Engagement, go here.  

If you are interested to learn more about Policy and Public Engagement activity in the School of Life Sciences, please contact Africa Couto.

Posted on Tuesday 1st March 2022

School of Life Sciences

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham NG7 2UH

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