Institute for Policy and Engagement
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Rising Star Award: Public Engagement

This award is presented to a member of staff in the early stages of an academic or research-only career who has engaged the public with their research to generate mutual benefit. Public engagement activity can range from outreach activities, to patient involvement, citizen science and collaborative research projects. 



Rebecca Dewey, Senior Research Fellow - School of Physics and Astronomy

She is nominated for her extensive public engagement activities since her first postdoctoral position, including organising the first two Soapbox Science Nottingham events, online in 2020, and in-person in 2022, the most recent representing a new collaboration between Soapbox Science, the University of Nottingham, and the Speakers’ Corner Trust. She also created Meet a Physicist seminars to enable Girlguides engage with women physicists online in a safeguarded environment. More on her work below:


Daniel Jolley, Assistant Professor - School of Psychology

He is nominated for his extensive portfolio of public engagement activity and his  clear passion for science communication engaging diverse crowds – from young and older populations to policymakers. Daniel's research focuses on the psychology of conspiracy theories - how they develop and what impact they have. In 2022, he led an innovation that brought to life how to define a ‘conspiracy theory’ through an exhibit called The Conspiracy Kitchen. He also curated short video explainers to summarise his newly publicised research on conspiracy theories. He has been on several panels and given a number of notable public talks bringing arts and psychology together. He now regularly incorporates this infographic into his public talks. Audiences are then offered the opportunity to take home postcards of the infographic as a keepsake of the talk. To date, he has 560k reads on The Conversation. More on his work below:

Dr Lauren Eglen, Research Fellow - Rights Lab

She is nominated for her work  with the survivor-led anti-trafficking organisation, Azadi Kenya, to build skills and capacity in photography and storytelling through a series of participatory workshops. She also led the deployment of this method in the UK, working with anti-slavery NGO City Hearts. Lauren has worked with Azadi and City Hearts to disseminate survivors’ artistic work in Kenya and the UK, partnering with established organisations to hold online and in-person exhibitions and host survivors’ stories on the World Reader platform. Over 500 people attended in-person exhibitions at Azadi’s Nairobi Resource Centre, University of Liverpool’s Centre for the Study of International Slavery, and Hull’s annual Freedom Festival. These activities are part of a wider engagement agenda for Lauren, which includes working with Karma Nirvana’s Survivor Advisory Panel on a new definition of Honour Based Abuse (being adopted by the government this year), a presentation of findings to the APPG on HBA, and a public talk in Leicester Cathedral. More on her work below:



Joint winners: Dr Claudio Di Lorito and Dr Lara Bianchi

  • Dr Lara Bianchi is an Assistant Professor of Business and Society at the International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, Nottingham University Business School. She is nominated for developing a public engagement tool entitled Moral Capability Assessment Tool (MCAT) under her recent UoN GCRF-funded Project 2020-2021): I am my dignity: Women’s rights in fragile contexts. The tool puts women’s voice and agency at the centre of meaningful engagement for sustainable development and peace. With this online participatory tool, she has embarked on a broad range of outreach activities and collaborations with non-academic actors, including community-based organisations operating in Pakistan, and the conflict-affected territories of Mindanao and working with marginalised indigenous women in Ata Manobo and Muslim women in Marawi. She has presented to MCAT tookit to over 500 expert stakeholders in different countries. Please click on this link to see more of Lara's work. 

  • Dr Claudio Di Lorito is a Research Fellow at the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences. He is nominated for his commitment to improving representativeness, equality and inclusion in research of members of the public that have been often underserved in research and service provision. These include, among others, the LGBT community, BAME groups and people living with dementia. He has experimented and furthered the practice of a particular type of partient and public involvement (PPI), co-research, where members of the public with lived experience share equal power in all stages of research with the academic team. The real-world experience of co-research has proven extremely successful. He was the co-creator and organiser of a successful photo exhibition at the Institute of Mental Health entitled “Dementia: a day in the life” on people with dementia living in rural areas. Please click on this link an award-winning publication by Claudio.


Winner: Dr Ulrike Kuchner (School of Physics and Astronomy), for their work engaging the public with astronomy in creative ways, both locally and internationally

Special commendation

  • Dr Ben Pilgim (School of Chemistry), for their work engaging diverse audiences with chemistry research


  • Dr Bavani Ramayah (Faculty of Science and Engineering, UNM), for their work to raise awareness of the challenges faced by visually impaired people




Dr Sarah Cassidy (School of Psychology), for their work with autistic people and their allies to prevent suicide among people with autism


  • Dr Vengadeshvaran Sarma (Nottingham University Business School, UNM), nomatined for their work to engage wider audiences on educational inequality in Sri Lanka
  • Dr Alison Tidy (School of Biosciences), nominated for engaging children with sciences through her picture book, "Off to work with Mummy the Plant Scientist"

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