Press release

2023 Stephen Fry Awards

Published on 11 January 2023

Stephen Fry has lavished praise on University of Dundee staff and students for their success in involving the public in academic research projects.

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The former University Rector was speaking as the winners of the 2023 Stephen Fry Awards for Excellence in Public Engagement were announced. The annual awards celebrate the people and projects that engage with wider audiences, and the benefits they bring to society. The winners will receive their awards at the University’s annual Discovery Days event at the Dalhousie Building on Friday 13 January.

The 2023 Public Engagement Project of the Year was won by ‘Home Fae Home’, led by Linsey McIntosh and Gary Kennedy, both from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. The project saw them work with the Hot Chocolate Trust charity to reimagine spaces for young people with experience of trauma.

Ellie Harrison, also from DJCAD, has been named Engaged Researcher of the Year in recognition of ‘Bus Regulation: The Musical’, a project that influenced changes in transport policy.

Psychology PhD student Vicky Armstrong won the inaugural Early Career Researcher of the Year award for her work in early-years art therapy including ‘Art at the Start’.

Stephen Fry, the comedian, actor, writer, broadcaster and activist who served two terms as Rector, congratulated the winners in a video message that will be played when they receive their awards.

“I still can’t quite believe my name is attached to these prestigious and important awards,” he said. “It always gives me pleasure to announce the winners, tinged with sadness that I can’t be there with you, which I would love to be.

“At Dundee, we have set ourselves some big challenges – and I say we because I still think of it as my university as those two periods, those tenancies as Rector, meant the world to me.

“This year the University received the highest number of applications in the history of the awards and the panel were really impressed by the high quality of all those nominations. I can’t tell you how proud I am of the University for its outreach to the local community and its deep sense of needing to contribute to what the world really needs, which is a fairer and more equitable playing field for all people.”

Professor Iain Gillespie, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said, “Public engagement is a key element of our strategy to transform lives through the creation, sharing and application of knowledge. Involving the public in research brings many benefits for all and is of increasing importance to universities and other public bodies.

“On behalf of the whole University community, I would like to congratulate the winners of the 2023 Stephen Fry Awards and commend all those who are continually enhancing our public engagement efforts by listening to and learning with individuals, communities and organisations.”


Grant Hill

Senior Public Affairs Officer

+44 (0)1382 384768