Institute for Policy and Engagement

This award recognises an individual or team for a successful public engagement activity or initiative where public groups have benefitted from engagement with University of Nottingham research. Public engagement activity can range from outreach activities, to patient involvement, citizen science and collaborative research projects.



Winner: Professor Maiken Umbach

Professor Maiken Umbach is a professor of Modern History who combines cutting-edge historical work with interventions that make a difference in reality. She is nominated for two public engagement initiatives. The first is an AHRC-Funded project ‘Photography as Political Practice in National Socialism’ and associated follow-on projects, which included collaborations with curators and creative practitioners to develop new ways of visualizing the difficult history that is the Holocaust to foreground the experience and dignity of victims. Activities within the project include a film produced with the BBC to expose differences between the gaze of perpetrators and victims; and an exhibition with the National Holocaust Centre and Museum to sensitize audiences to the problem of perpetrator phtography, using a mixed reality experience.The second initiative is the use of two co-produced free MOOCs which ran from 2015 - 2020, as part of a collaboration with the British Library to empower learners on understanding the relationship between the personal and the political in the forming of ideologies. This engagement enabled the British Library to use new digital media strategically, and conveyed to citizens a sense of their own agency in the making of ideologies. Please follow this link to see their work 'Through Whose Eyes'.

Shortlisted: Dr Heike Bartel and Dr Sonali Shah

  • Dr Heike Bartel is an Associate Professor of German Studies at the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies. She is nominated for her interdisciplinary research on patient-centred narratives of eating disorders (EDs) in men and boys in literature and other media, which has transformed understanding of this complex illness and challenged existing stereotypes. Her AHRC and Wellcome funded 'Hungry for Words' brought together international humanities, scholars, medical experts, charities, carers and experts by experience to unlock new socio-cultural, medical, physchological, gendered, artistic and liteary perspectives of EDs in males. She won the 2021 Times Higher Education Award for Research Project of the Year (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences). Some of their work is below:
  • Dr Sonali Shah is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Rehabilitation and Ageing Research, School of Medicine, where she leads an NIHR project called Living Healthily with CP. She is nominated for using exciting approaches including theatre and life histories, she engages stakeholders with her work to bring an awareness of disability and social change to non-academic and young audiences, and provide a platform for disabled people to have a voice in the development of practices and policies which impact their lives. Some exerpts of her work are below:


Winner: Dr Helen McCabe and the Survivor Voices, Stories and Images team (Rights Lab), for their work empowering survivors of human trafficking to share their stories with the world.


Professor Christopher Gibbins, Dr Ir. Fang Yenn Teo and Yih Yoong Lip (Faculty of Science and Engineering, UNM) for their engagement with highlight communities to discover sustainable solutions for water-related issues at upper Trusan River, Sarawak

Dr Heike Bartel (School of Cultures, Language and Area Studies), for her work on eating disorders in men and boys




Winner: Professor Rory Cormac (School of Politics and International Relations), for their work on engaging the public with his research on Secret Intelligence and Covert Action through television and radio.


Professor Matt Brookes and the Quantum Sensing the Brain team (School of Physics), for their interactive and immersive exhibit showcasing research on human brain imaging

Professor Ellen Townsend and Professor Joanne Hort (School of Psychology), for their work on Cafe Connect, a plce to interact and engage with the public to generate new ideas for future research


World-class research at the University of Nottingham

University Park

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5151