A photograph of Stephen FryThe Stephen Fry Awards for Excellence in Public Engagement with Research recognise the work of our outstanding staff and students in sharing the University's research with a wider audience.

In 2018 we received nominations from our staff and students in two award categories. The recipients receive a personalised trophy and £1500 prize money to use towards their future public engagement activities.

Winners of the 2018 Awards

The 2018 Public Engagement Project of the Year was won by Hands of X, a collaboration that 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 other organisations.

Dr Daniel Cook, of the University’s English department, has been named Engaged Researcher of the Year in recognition 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).The winners received their awards at the University’s annual Discovery Days event at the Dalhousie Building on Friday 12 January.

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

He said, “I couldn’t be more proud to lend my name to this award. I think it so crucial at this time when a great chasm seems to have opened up in our culture and in our society, between what is considered the elitism of those who are in education, who have received education, believe in education and those for whom education is a mark of some sort of snobbery.

“This false distinction is horrific but rather than just protesting against it, blazing with anger against it, the most important thing is to engage with the public and show them that research, truth, empiricism – all the values that a great university like Dundee represents – matter and that they involve everybody. The human race raises its game because of our ability to learn, and believe in learning and truth and in sharing truth with people.”

‌Hands of X explores radical material choices in prosthetic hands, and is anchored by two important values – that any activity relating to disabled people must involve them as participants, on equal terms, and that it should challenge a simplistic and polarised narrative 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.

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.

Information on previous winners of the Stephen Fry Awards can be found here.‌

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

Two Award Categories

To recognise the different approaches to engaging the public with research, the University awards winning applications and commendations in each of the following categories.

• The Public Engagement Project of the Year is awarded to a team of up to six persons who have led a project that has made outstanding contributions to public engagement with research.

• The Engaged Researcher of the Year is awarded to an individual who has shown excellence in engaging the public with the University’s research.

Selection Panel

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.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or comments about the Stephen Fry Awards please contact Dr Jon Urch at revealingresearch@dundee.ac.uk or phone 01382 386669.