Institute for Policy and Engagement
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Rising Star Award: Policy Impact

This award is presented to a member of staff in the early stages of an academic or research-only career who has worked with politicians, civil servants or any other type of policymakers or influencers with the aim of influencing public policy with their research findings. 



Dr Linjun Xie, Assistant Professor - Department of Architecture and Built Environment, UNNC

She is nominated for influencing research work with international bodies, including British Academy, IPBES and European Committee, on exploring and promoting innovative and integrated nature-based urban solutions for addressing the interlinked biodiversity, climate and societal challenges, to inform policy development and practice actions globally. Most recently, Dr. Xie’s research on mainstreaming nature-based solutions for urban climate and biodiversity governance was promoted on the website of the European Commission DG Environment, providing insights for policy-makers, practitioners, and scientific researchers. After the report published, Dr. Xie was invited to present the main findings in a seminar with the policy officers from the European Commission DG Research and Innovation. More on her work here:



Dr Emma McClaughlin, Researcher - School of English, Faculty of Arts

She is nominated for her work on using discourse analysis to identify patients’ healthcare communication concerns and needs and to influence recommendations for changes in healthcare communication practice in England. Her work and partnership with Thrive led to the production of an in-press white paper, and launched a national communication campaign: efforts which work towards closing the country’s gender health gap. The Menstrual Health Discourses project investigated the key differences in how UK-based Generation-Zers, Millennials, and health and lifestyle brands communicate about menstrual health. Emma’s work incites positive and crucial healthcare communication strategies and policy impact in an environment rife with communication crises and gender health outcome inequalities. More on her work below:

Dr Sadia Jamil, Assistant Professor - School of International Communications, UNNC

She is nominated for her research in five key areas focused on Pakistan: (i) Digital Technology and News Media; (ii) Human Rights and Safety of Journalists; (iii) Digital Divide; (iv) Artificial Intelligence and its implications for journalism, (v) Sustainable Development. Her research, specifically in the areas of digital divide, safety of journalists and conflict sensitive reporting, has invoked national and news media industry’s level policy reforms. In 2021, she facilitated UNESCO and Public Media Alliance’s project for developing the ethical code for conflict sensitive reporting in South Asian countries, to support their role in fostering societal peace and cohesion in conflict-ridden countries of South Asia including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan Sri Lanka and Bhutan. This project has helped to introduce policy reforms related to safety of journalists and has invoked news media organizations to adopt ethical code of conduct officially in their organizational policies in South Asian countries. More on her work:



Winner: Dr Philippa Tomczak

Dr Philippa Tomczak is a Principal Research Fellow at the Faculty of Social Sciences. She is nominated for influencing work with policy makers and practice leaders on the complicated issue of deaths in prisons, facilitating an entirely original programme of research through a sustained relationship with the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman in England and Wales. Through webinars on her work, she has engaged over 300 stakeholders from prison policy and practice nationally and internationally. One of such engagements has led to the enhancement of prison death investigations through introducing extra PPO checks with the Prison Reform Trust charity. She is currently working on translating her research into practical recommendations for the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, UK Parliament, the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody, the Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody; the Justice Committee, the Human Rights Committee and the Northern Irish Ombudsman. Find out more of her work by clicking this link.

Shortlisted: Dr Christina Siettou and Dr Sharmilia Sumsurooah

  • Dr Christina Siettou is an Associate Professor in Agricutural Economiucs in the School of Biosciences. She is nominated for her policy impact work on dog microchipping legislation. Her research paper in the Preventive Veterinary Medicine journal grabbed the attention of DEFRA, who engaged her to review the effectiveness of dog microchipping legislation, which has informed the government's Post-implementation Review (PIR) and future direction on both dog and cat microchipping. You can find more on her work by following this link.
  • Dr Sharmila Sumsurooah is a Senior Research Fellow at the Faculty of Engineering. She is nominated for leading the Solutions for Aircraft Electrification Leadership (SAEL), which has brought together over 100 internationally leading experts to deliver a platform where people from industry and academia can collaborate on international coperation and policy development towards net zero aviation. She drove international policy engagement for the SAEL initiative during COP26, and has engaged with senior industry leaders and standardisation bodies such as the Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE), who set the rules for standards in Aviation. To see more about the SAEL Initiative, please follow this link.


Winner: Dr Lorna Treanor (NUBS), for their work to support the development of an inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem

Special Commendation

  • Dr Xuan Feng (NUBS China), for their work supporting local policy makers in Ningbo on talent acquisition, development and retention


  • Dr Ben Barton (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNM), for their work to build policy makers' understandings of China's Belt-and-Road Initiative


Winner: Dr Katarina Schwarz (the Rights Lab), for their work on on antislavery policy both in the UK and globally 


  • Dr Sarah Cassidy (School of Psychology), for their work on how policy can tackle suicide among people with autism
  • Dr Chloe Holloway (School of Law), for their work to improve the support of autistic individuals in police custody



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