Bangor University rewards staff for achieving Research Excellence

Prof Carol Tully
Prof Carol Tully
Prof John Simpson
Prof John Simpson
Prof Peter Golyshin
Prof Peter Golyshin
Dr Claire Szostek
Dr Claire Szostek
Dr Charles Bishop
Dr Charles Bishop
Dr James MacDonald
Dr James MacDonald
 
 

A new Research Excellence Awards event has just been held at Bangor University to celebrate the high standard of research at the University.

The inaugural Awards shone a spotlight on some of the University’s outstanding research teams and individuals.

The Awards were devised to celebrate the individual achievements of academic staff at different career points, including rising stars, a Doctoral student and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Awards celebrating an outstanding project or programmes within the Sciences and the Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences and for an International project were also presented.

Professor John G Hughes, Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University said:

“Research is an integral part of our teaching and a passion of our staff. Our research is having a major impact on people’s lives, both locally and globally. These Awards are a fantastic opportunity for us to recognise and highlight the world-leading research that we have here.”

The University’s first Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Professor John Simpson of the School of Ocean Sciences. Professor Simpson’s career at Bangor University spans over half a century. His work during his career has consistently progressed the field of physical oceanography and can be said to underpin the modern study of the subject and has helped establish Bangor University as a global leader in marine turbulence.

Prof Simpson said: “I feel very proud on receiving this award, not just for myself, but for all those colleagues and students who have worked with me over the years to raise our game and put the Bangor School of Ocean Sciences high in the world league of Oceanography Centres.”

Professor Simpson’s achievements have been recognised by numerous Awards, including the naming of a physical quantity, in this case, relating to a key control on the transport of freshwater through estuaries and into the ocean, officially named the ‘Simpson number’ in his honour.

The inaugural Research Excellence in Science Award was presented to Dr Charles Bishop of the School of Biological Sciences. Dr Bishop has led international research groups researching exactly how birds manage amazing flights through thin air or over vast oceans. Dr Bishop’s research has focussed on bar-headed geese, whose migration pattern takes them across the Himalayas, and on the great frigatebird, which stays aloft for weeks at a time by using air currents above the Indian Ocean.

Dr Bishop said: “I am delighted that our work on how different environmental conditions can affect bird flight and migration has been acknowledged with this award for research excellence from Bangor University. I would like to thank all those people who have contributed over the years, both at home and abroad, and look forward to participating in future research discoveries.”

Professor Carol Tully, of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures accepted the inaugural Research Excellence in the Arts & Humanities Award for European Travellers to Wales 1750-2010. The Arts & Humanities Research Council funded interdisciplinary project reviewed previously unstudied accounts to redefine perceptions of Wales, and was complemented by a travelling art exhibition, showing how Wales has been viewed by European travellers during the 260 year period.

Professor Carol Tully said: “I am delighted that the European Travellers to Wales project has been recognised in this way. It has been a great example of collaborative research in the Arts and Humanities and is set to deliver real economic and cultural impact. A team effort from the very beginning, it has been a great experience to work with colleagues in both the academic and cultural communities across Wales and beyond.”

The International Research Excellence Award went to Professor Peter Golyshin, School of Biological Sciences for a European research project which he led, to search extreme marine environments to find new microbes which could be used in biotechnology. This successful project paved the way to another major EU funded project, currently under way.

Prof Peter Golyshin, the coordinator of the EU Research Framework 7-funded Project ‘MAMBA’ explained further: “Our interdisciplinary project has brought together leading research groups in extremophile microbiology, biochemistry, biocatalysis and drug research from six European countries and Canada. It has unveiled new mechanisms of functioning of microorganisms at the thermodynamic limits to life and generated a plethora of resources for bioprospecting for new enzymes and bioactive compounds that can be explored by academia and industry for applications in pharma, food, feed and agriculture”.

Dr James McDonald of the School of Biological Sciences was awarded the Rising Star Award. This Award celebrates an academic in the early stages of his or her career, who is showing promise to become future leader in their field. James McDonald enjoys an emerging reputation in the field of microbial ecology both nationally and internationally.  

Dr McDonald said: “I am delighted to receive the Rising Star Award and would like to thank my research team, colleagues and collaborators, for making Bangor University such a supportive and collegiate environment where early stage researchers can thrive.”

The Doctoral student research Excellence Award was presented to Dr Claire Szostek, School of the School of Ocean Sciences for her work with English Channel fishermen to understand sustainable levels of fishing in the scallop fishery there. Claire spent a considerable time meeting fishermen and on board commercial scallop fishing vessels. Among other outputs, her work has resulted in the first ever quantitative map of the distribution of inshore scallop fishing efforts across the English Channel.

Dr Szostek said: “I feel extremely proud to receive this award and very privileged to have had the opportunity to take on this project, which has provided a hugely diverse range of challenges and opportunities. The successes and novel research outputs that we have achieved are a testament to the positive relationships we have developed, and maintain, with the UK fishing industry. Many fishermen provided time, expertise and funding to enable the gathering of high quality scientific data. I thank my brilliant supervisor Professor Michel Kaiser for his vision, expertise and continual advice and support throughout. Bangor University has world-leading research departments and I am proud to have completed my PhD at the School of Ocean Sciences.”

Professor Jo Rycroft-Malone, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research & Impact said:

“The finalists at this inaugural event are testimony that research at Bangor University is vibrant and thriving. It’s a delight to reward and value our very best researchers and to inspire others.”

Following the inaugural Research Excellence Awards, these new Awards will be held on alternate years with the University’s Impact & Innovation Awards. 

Publication date: 6 December 2016