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Bangor University Research Excellence Awards 2016

Bangor University is to highlight and celebrate the high standard of research at the University in a new Research Excellence Awards event to be held for the first time this December, and has just announced the Awards Shortlists.

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

Six new Awards will be presented to individuals and research teams or specific research projects. The Awards will celebrate individual achievements of academic staff at different career points, including Rising Stars, a Doctoral Student and a Lifetime Achievement Award, while two Awards for outstanding project or programmes within the Sciences and in the Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences and an International project Award will be presented.

Three academics are shortlisted to receive the University’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  These academics have made an outstanding contribution to science, impact and Bangor University over a sustained period of time. They are Professor Judy Hutchings OBE (School of Psychology), who has researched and introduced programmes which improve lifetime outcomes for young children and has influenced policy in Wales; Prof John Witcombe, (School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography) who has worked to improve food security for millions of small-scale farmers in Asia and Prof John Simpson, (School of Ocean Sciences) whose work during his career can be said to underpin the modern subject of physical oceanography.

Science projects up for Awards include a project which has led to a new understanding of bird flight, (led by Dr Charles Bishop, School of Biological Sciences); a project to understand how muddy material moves along our shoreline, which is improving our models of how sea level rise will affect our coastline, (led by Dr Jaco Baas, School of Ocean Sciences); and a new development, which has broken through the limits of microscope magnification (led by Dr James Wang, School of Electronic Engineering).

In the running for an Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Award are a project which has improved training of elite athletes, (Prof Lew Hardy, School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences); a project which has changed the way that the digital industry and regulators view emotional data capture in the light of Data Protection and personal data (Dr Andy McStay, School of Creative Studies & Media); and a project which has reviewed and celebrated how Wales has been viewed by European travellers during a period of 260 years (led by Prof Carol Tully, School of Modern Languages & Cultures).

International research projects shortlisted for an Award include a European research project, led by Bangor University (Prof Peter Golyshin, School of Biological Sciences), to search extreme marine environments to find new microbes which could be used in biotechnology, and a ‘toolbox’ of resources which is being used in all Jamaican primary schools to improve outcomes for Jamaican children, (led by Dr Helen Henningham, School of Psychology)and a project which has proven the multiple benefits of safeguarding tropical reef systems (led by Prof John Turner, School of Ocean Sciences).

Six academics who are in the early stages of their careers and who are showing promise to become future leaders in their field, are in the running to receive the Rising Star Award. They are

Aled Llion Jones, School of Welsh, who has an international profile  for his scholarship combining philosophy, literary theory and medieval Welsh literature; Kami Koldewyn, School of Psychology,  who has a burgeoning reputation  within the world of social neuroscience; James McDonald, School of Biological Sciences, influential member in the field of microbial ecology both nationally and internationally; Yvonne McDermott Rees, School of Law,  has conducted innovative research  in the field of international criminal law and human rights and has been cited by the Appeal Chamber of the International Criminal Court; Dr Andrew Smith, School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography, for his high capacity to lead research initiatives, win funding and produce high-impact publications in the field of forestry and Dr Gareth Williams,  School of Ocean Sciences, who is rapidly developing  an international reputation for his work on coral reef ecology

Professor Jo Rycroft- Malone, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Bangor University said:

“These Awards provide a fantastic opportunity for us to recognise and value success within the University, to showcase examples of research excellence and to highlight the achievements and talents we have within the University. The Awards will not only reward those who are successful but also inspire others.”

Five Doctoral students have also been nominated for an Award for the outstanding quality of their work. They are: Sayma Akhter, School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography, for her work on  potential uses of the wild mango, an under used fruit which could provide income for rural populations; Emily Holmes, School of Healthcare Sciences for her work on  understanding  medication- taking behaviour; Fritz Kleinschroth, School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography, for his work on the impact of logging roads in tropical rainforests; Sebastian Rosier, School of Ocean Sciences, whose work has opened a new field of research and a new method of evaluating  how much soil is picked up by a moving Antarctic ice-stream; Claire Szostek, School of Ocean Sciencesfor her work with English Channel fishermen to understand sustainable levels of fishing in the scallop fishery there; Thomas Wilkinson’s PhD at the School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences has led to changes in the way that people with rheumatoid arthritis are assessed locally, and  it is anticipated that these changes will be adopted elsewhere.

The winners will be announced at an Awards dinner in Pontio on 5th December 2016.

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

Publication date: 26 October 2016