2021 Award Winners

The annual Stephen Fry Public Engagement Awards recognised our staff and students, and their work engaging non-academic audiences. Winners and nominees of the Awards are recognised for their crucial role in organising and delivering excellent public engagement, enhancing benefits to society and improving their own skills.

In 2021 the winner/s in each category presented their work at the 2021 Celebrating our Public Engagement event on Wednesday 28 April.

Watch the announcement of the 2021 Stephen Fry Awards below.


Each winner received a trophy and can access up to £1500 of funding to support their future public engagement activities.

Five female and two male researchers hold their 2021 Stephen Fry Awards trophies. From left to right (Laura Jones, Dr Andrea Rodriquez, five members of the Educational Comics team).

On 28 April 2021 the winners of the 2021 Stephen Fry Awards were announced by the Principal and Stephen Fry. In 2021 the awards received the most nominations and applications in their ten-year history. The selection panel were very impressed by the depth and breadth of engagement across the University.

Laura Jones - 2021 Engaged Early Career Researcher of the Year

Laura is research student in the School of Social Sciences who is helping to break down the barriers that women experiencing commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) face in accessing support.

Women experiencing CSE - including those selling or exchanging sex - are understood to have limited social support, and Laura focusses her research on the formal and informal relationships that can help or hinder exiting CSE.

Dr Andrea Rodriguez - 2021 Engaged Researcher of the Year

Andrea Rodriguez, from the University’s School of Dentistry, was named Engaged Researcher of the Year for her work in co-designing a programme to improve oral health among young people experiencing homelessness.

The programme ultimately identified ways of improving how the next generation of dental, health and social care professionals interact with those without a permanent address, and even led to the creation of a knowledge exchange on youth homelessness between Scotland and Brazil.

Educational Comics - 2021 Engagement Project of the Year

The Educational Comics team have created educational comics for partners including charities, creative economies, and the health and education sectors.

The comics tackle misunderstood medical conditions, complex scientific issues, and matters of public interest, increased awareness of issues for a range of audiences. The project has also supported the development of 23 comics artists, as well establishing new community and project partnerships.


2020 Award Winners

Three female researchers smile and each hold their 2020 Stephen Fry Award winners trophies. From Left to Right, Dr Senga Robertson-Albertyn (Engaged Early Career Researcher), Prof Mel Woods (GROW Observatory - Public Engagement Project of the Year) and Dr Amy Rogers (Engaged Researcher of the Year).

Congratulations to Dr Senga Robertson-Albertyn (Engaged Early Career Researcher of the Year), Professor Mel Woods from the GROW Observatory Team (Engagement Project of the Year), and Dr Amy Rogers (Engaged Researcher of the Year) and for their well-deserved awards. They were presented with their awards at Discovery Days 2020.

Senga Robertson-Albertyn - Engaged Early Career Researcher of the Year

Senga’s enthusiasm for public engagement is clear to everyone who meets her. She has won several awards for her work, including both the Microbiology Society’s Engaged Researcher of the Year, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Public Engagement Innovator’s Medal in 2019.

Senga views public engagement as integral to her life sciences research. One of the first projects she developed helped teach children and communities about the bacteria that live in our gut. In this ‘Microbe Motels’ project Senga’s new ways of engaging others were so successful that she and colleagues published the work in a peer-reviewed journal.

Senga is incredibly passionate about sharing her love of science with underserved areas. She feels everyone should have access to science and be nurtured to achieve their goals….or as she puts it “everyone should have the opportunity to be awesome”. Her award-winning work on too many projects to mention, exemplifies this attitude and Senga’s caring approach to her engagement work.

Dr Amy Rogers - Engaged Researcher of the Year

Amy is a clinical research fellow whose interests include evidence-based prescribing in primary care, and policymaking. She is a passionate advocate for public engagement.

This year Amy set up the Public Involvement group that comprises members of the public who review and critique a range of research on medicines. Led by Amy, their most recent area of discussion has been how best to communicate with patients and practices to ensure participant satisfaction and optimal recruitment into clinical trials.

Amy recognises public engagement is a two-way process of mutual benefit to all those involved at a personal, but also a community level. This includes researchers themselves.

She has shown initiative and leadership in setting up and running a range of projects and groups and continues to recruit and enthuse both colleagues and members of the public in the exciting world of research at the University of Dundee. She finds this part of her job rewarding, having fun whilst achieving her goal of empowering the general public to effect positive change within research.

GROW Observatory team

The GROW Observatory helps citizens and communities who are increasingly concerned about the environment and climate change but often do not know how best to tackle issues and make change. The team has engaged thousands of volunteers across Europe to profile the continent’s soil moisture, a key indicator in extreme climate events, such as droughts, floods and forest fires. This work embraces communities living with increasingly extreme environmental issues to work together to on key environmental challenges.

Over the past 2 years the team have published an award-winning toolkit ‘Citizen Sensing, a Toolkit’ for communities and organisations. It includes step by step guidelines, tools and stories of change, to help enthuse citizens to monitor their environment.

The tools developed by the team are gaining widespread use and a number of community impacts have been recorded. Just one example being that farmers in the Canary Islands realised that they were over irrigating their crops, and have reduced the use of water for irrigation by between 30 - 50%. It is clear that the team behind GROW has done so much to engage others and support them to change their lives and environment.


Commendations in 2020

Commendations were awarded in all categories in the 2020 Stephen Fry Awards. The work described in these applications excelled at engaging audiences with the University's research.

Engaged Early Career Researcher of the Year

  • Dr Paul O'Mahoney
  • Micol Zuppello

Engaged Researcher of the Year

  • Dr Lucina Hackman
  • Dr Susan Mains

Project of the Year

  • Educational Comics - Dr Golnar Nabizadeh, Professor Divya Jindal-Snape, Professor Chris Murray and colleagues
  • Mentally Healthy Tayside - Caroline Brown, Jacqui Eccles and colleagues

Selection Panel in 2020

Panel members represent the University, our cultural partners and our local community.

Avon Bartlett - Community Representative;

Jackie Malcolm - School of Art and Design, University of Dundee;

Prof John Rowan - University Executive, University of Dundee;

Jennifer Smith - Abertay University;

Leanne Wallace (Chair) - External Relations, University of Dundee.


2019 Winners of the Stephen Fry Awards

Three Professors stand in a lecture theatre holding their certificates as the 2019 Stephen Fry Award winners for Excellence in Public Engagement. (Left to right) Prof Niamh Nic Daeid, Prof Annie Anderson and Prof Bob Steele.

Congratulations to Professor Niamh Nic Daeid (Engaged Researcher of the Year) and Professors Annie Anderson and Bob Steele (Engagement Project of the Year) for their well-deserved awards. They were presented with their awards by the Principal at Discovery Days 2019.

2019 Commendations

Commendations were awarded in both categories in the 2019 Stephen Fry Awards. The work described in these applications excelled at engaging audiences with the University's research.

Project of the Year

  • Argumentation technology and the BBC - Prof Chris Reed and colleagues
  • Dundee Parkinson's Research Group - Dr Esther Sammler and colleagues

Engaged Researcher of the Year

  • Dr Husam alWaer
  • Dr Rolf Black
  • Dr Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel


2018 Winners of the Stephen Fry Awards

The 2018 Public Engagement Project of the Year was won by Hands of X. This collaboration designs made-to-order prosthetic hands in a range of materials and colours according to the wearers’ preference. The team included Dr Graham Pullin, Dr Andrew Cook and Eddie Small from the University, as well as colleagues from partnering organisations.

Dr Daniel Cook, of the University’s English department, has been named Engaged Researcher of the Year. The award recognises the role he has played in bringing the works of Mary Shelley, H.G.Wells and Jonathan Swift to life for new audiences in Dundee as part of the national Being Human Festival.

Professor Sir Pete Downes (Left), Principal and Vice-Chancellor, presents the 2018 Stephen Fry Engagement Project of the Year award to Hands of X team members Andrew Cook (centre) and Dr Graham Pullin (right).

Stephen Fry, who served two terms as Rector of the University, congratulated the winners in an audio recording that was played when they received their awards.

‌Hands of X explores radical material choices in prosthetic hands. The project is anchored by two important values. Firstly, that any activity relating to disabled people must involve them as participants, on equal terms. And secondly that it should challenge simplistic and polarised ideas around prosthetics. The prototype hands designed by the team are on display in the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum in New York until September 2018, with a touring exhibition planned to follow.

Two male academics face the camera as one presents a trophy to the other. Prof Sir Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor presents the 2018 Stephen Fry Award for Engaged Researcher of the Year to Dr Daniel Cook (right).

Dr Cook has helped established Dundee as a successful model of creative and critical interaction with the Humanities. His work led to Dundee becoming Scotland’s first hub for Being Human in 2016 and 2017. This was largely achieved as a result of Dr Cook’s eagerness to forge partnerships across different disciplines and with external partners to bring fresh perspectives to the study of literature.

2018 Commendations

Commendations were awarded in both categories in the 2018 Stephen Fry Awards. The work described in these applications excelled at engaging audiences with the University's research.

Project of the Year

  • Ardler Inventors project - Dr Nick Taylor and colleagues
  • Argumentation technology and the BBC - Prof Chris Reed and colleagues
  • Atopic Art - Prof Sara Brown and colleagues
  • Centenary of Growth and Form - Matthew Jarron and colleagues
  • Smoke Alarms - Prof Niamh Nic Daeid and colleagues

Engaged Researcher of the Year

  • Prof Sara Brown
  • Prof Calum Colvin
  • Prof Nicola Stanley-Wall

Selection Panel in 2018

Members of the 2018 Stephen Fry Awards selection panel are leaders in local cultural, learning and engagement organisations.

Prof Jan Clarkson - School of Dentistry, University of Dundee;

Billy Gartley - Head of Cultural Services, Leisure and Culture Dundee;

Chloe Goodall - Children's University Manager - Dundee and Fife;

Rebecca Erskine - Exhibition and Community Engagement Manager, Dundee Science Centre

Prof John Rowan - University of Dundee;

Dr Jon Urch (Chair) - External Relations, University of Dundee.


2017 Stephen Fry Awards

Winners of the Public Engagement Project of the Year - Growing Up On the Streets

Prof Sir Pete Downes awards the 2017 Stephen Fry Awards for Public Engagement Project of the Year to Prof Lorraine van Blerk and Janine Hunter from the Growing Up on the Streets projectGrowing up on the Streets a participatory research project that seeks to improve the lives of vulnerable and marginalised street children and youth. The team worked with hundreds of street children and youth in three African cities, Accra, Bukavu and Harare. The research at the heart of the project aims to understand youth’s capabilities on the street in their daily lives, to improve policies and practices that transform the lives of street children. Led by Prof Lorraine van Blerk, the team members are Dr Wayne Shand, Janine Hunter and three project managers in Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe.

A key success has been the engagement of street children and youth in the consultation for the United Nations General Comment on Children in Street Situations. Supported by the project street children and youth shared their own findings from the research with confidence, in order that the General Comment would be founded on their experiences and needs. This new UN law will have a profound impact on how street children are perceived and treated worldwide.

Projects commended for their work. Being Human led by Dr Daniel Cook and Outer Space, Inner Space a collaboration between Computing, the School of Life Sciences and the Mills Observatory.

Engaged Researcher of the Year - Prof Jennifer Woof, School of Life Sciences

A female professor, Prof Jenny Woof, delivers a presentation describing her award-winning Public Engagement work at the front of a lecture theatreJenny’s outstanding work with schools and the public have inspired new audiences and raised awareness of immunology, her area of expertise. Her leadership and boundless energy helps to share the latest scientific studies from her own research and the research of others at the University. The selection panel were impressed by the planning and development processes that Jenny uses to continuously improve and enhance the University’s science engagement activities.

Jenny is breaking new ground in public engagement; by developing activities, effectively evaluating, and sharing her methods and successes widely.

Commended for their commitment to public engagement: Valerie Bentivegna, Dr David Foley and Prof Murdo Macdonald.


Selection Panel in 2017

Dr Jon Urch, Public Engagement Co-ordinator, University of Dundee - Chair

Prof Newman, former Vice-Principal (Research, Knowledge Exchange and Wider Impact), University of Dundee

Jennifer Smith, Outreach and Public Engagement Network Co-ordinator, Abertay University

Michael Marra, Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science and Deputy Director Design in Action

2016 - Great War Dundee project - Winners of the Stephen Fry Award

The Great War Dundee project was awarded the 2016 Stephen Fry Award at Discovery Day 2016. Dr Billy Kenefick and Dr Derek Patrick co-founded the Great War Dundee project and, alongside partner groups, are coordinating the city-wide approach to commemorate the conflict. Their research has led to startling discoveries about Dundee’s contribution to the war effort as well as a greater understanding of the conflict’s impact and legacy in the city.

Dr Billy Kenefick, Dr Derek Patrick and their colleagues Caroline Brown from Matthew Jarron from Museum and Archive Services, worked tirelessly to share the research results to a wide audience across Scotland.

Listen to Stephen Fry introduced the award-winners with his witty and thoughtful address. You can also watch the Great War Dundee's presentation after receiving the award.

2015 - Two winners of the Stephen Fry Award

In 2015 the University of Dundee decided to bestow two Stephen Fry Award for Excellence in Public Engagement with Research. The winners were the Five Million Questions project, which brought leading politicians to account in front of large audiences in Scotland and across the World though a huge media presence. And FIRST (Fatality Investigation and Review Studies), a project that organises multi-agency case reviews of child deaths and takes measures to reduce future incidents.

2014 - Neuroscientist and bee researcher wins Stephen Fry Award

The University of Dundee's Stephen Fry Award for Excellence in Public Engagement with Research 2014 has been won by a neuroscientist who has significantly enhanced Stood in front of a red wall a male academic holds his Stephen Fry 2014 trophy he received from a second male academic
our knowledge of the threats faced by the world's bee populations.

Dr Christopher Connolly, a Reader in the the School of Medicine, has received his award during the University's annual Discovery Days event. The accolade recognises his role in working with external stakeholders during the course of his research as well as the enthusiasm he has displayed in disseminating the results to the public.

Chris investigates the chemistry behind nerve activity and the ability of the brain to adapt to our different physical and social environments. This has led to work exploring how alterations in nerve cells can relate to chronic neurological conditions, in both humans and insects. His recent research has focussed on bees and other pollinators that make an estimated contribution of 216 billion dollars to worldwide economies every year. They are essential for the production of much of the World's food.

Stephen Fry sent his own personal message to Chris,

“Many, many congratulations to all those whose work came under consideration for the 2014 Stephen Fry Award.

I am particularly delighted that Christopher Connolly’s work is, firstly on an urgent subject that affects the entire food chain. Indeed there are articles in several a papers on the subject as I write this today. But secondly that he is the kind of scientist prepared to go out and discuss his findings, able to explain the qualities of proper scientific research that underpin his work and connect with all interested parties. This is the kind of work that advances human outcomes in the real world,

Many, many congratulations, Chris. Dundee is very proud if you. Jute, Jam, HONEY and Journalism...

Signed S Fry”

2013 - The In Memoriam team are winners of the 2nd Annual Stephen Fry Award

The University’s Stephen Fry Award for Excellence in Public Engagement 2013 was won by the team behind an anthology celebrating people who donate their bodies to science.‌‌Two male academics stand proudly together with the one on the right holding the 2013 Stephen Fry Award trophy

‘In Memoriam’ celebrates the “silent teachers” whose remarkable gesture helps to train the next generation of doctors, scientists, dentists and surgeons. The book features work from renowned artists and writers, who collaborated with staff and students at the University to create the publication.

The project was driven by Calum Colvin, Eddie Small, Anna Day and Kirsty Gunn. The team received the award, named after the former University Rector who retains strong links with Dundee, during the annual Discovery Day event on Friday 11th January.

The project drew on the research and expertise of Professor Sue Black and her team at the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID). They are creating new mortuary facilities to accommodate Thiel embalming and are set to become the first University in the UK to exclusively adopt this method.

2012 - Two winners of the first Stephen Fry Award

On Friday 13th January 2012 the University of Dundee was delighted to announce the winners of the first Stephen Fry Award ‌ for Excellence in Public Engagement with Research.

This annual award recognises the work of our outstanding communicators in improving understanding of the research and practice of the University to a wider audience. The winners received a trophy and £1500 prize money to use towards their future communication activities.

The Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification were awarded the 2012 Stephen Fry Award for Excellence in Public Engagement with Research.

Prof. Charles McKean, from Humanities was awarded an Honorary Stephen Fry Award for his life time achievements in engaging the public with his research in Scottish architectural history.

Dr Karen Petrie from Computing was also awarded a certificate in recognition of her highly commended public engagement work.