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23rd September 2013

Scientists win at UK awards

A clean sweep for Manchester researchers at Biology awards
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Two researchers from the University of Manchester have won a prestigious award for their work in biology.

Developmental Biology PhD student Rebecca Williams and Dr Sheena Cruickshank won prizes in the Society of Biology Science Communication Awards, which focus on work that informs and engages the public in Biology.

Applicants for the awards could undertake a range of possible projects, from writing articles to public exhibitions.  The projects had to fulfil the criteria of conveying science to non-academics in an engaging manner.

Williams – a demonstrator at the Manchester Museum and a Widening Participation Fellow at the University –  won the New Researcher prize.  She is the founder of Fastbleep Biology, an organisation that arranges biology workshops for schools around Manchester.

“I feel absolutely honoured to be given this award for science communication. I love science, and I find that talking to young people and the public about the work that scientists do here at the University of Manchester is incredibly rewarding,” she said.

Dr Cruickshank, a Faculty of Life Sciences Lecturer, was awarded the Established Researcher Prize.  She is one of the developers of ‘ Worm Wagon’, an interactive program which merges art and activities to promote awareness of global health matters.

The program also targets groups of migrant women from India and Africa and enables them to understand the adverse effects of parasitic worms in their countries of origin.

“I am incredibly honoured to win this award. It acknowledges the work done by the whole Manchester Immunology Group who carry out world-leading research and work tirelessly at so many events to help highlight the significance of worm infections and neglected tropical disease in the world,” she said.

Chief Executive of the Society of Biology, Dr Mark Downs commented, “it is essential that scientists share their research with members of the public so that we can all explore the ethical implications of our advances in knowledge.”

“I am pleased to see the entrants to our Science Communication Awards sharing their research in such engaging ways. They are also helping to inspire our next generation of scientists!”

Winners will be presented with their prizes at the Society’s Annual Award Ceremony on Thursday 17th October during Biology Week 2013.

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