Vice-Chancellor’s awards showcase University’s societal impact and public engagement

 Airam Hernández and Joyce El-Khoury perform Sardanapalo at Staatskapelle Weimar  Credit: Candy Welz

Twelve students, academics and professional members of staff from across the University of Cambridge have received Vice-Chancellor’s Research Impact and Engagement Awards in areas as diverse as prostate cancer, family law, museum public engagement and police mental health.

Now in their fourth year, the awards were made in four categories: collaboration, early career, established researcher/academic champion and professional service.

Winners in the collaboration category included PhD student Christopher Franck for an initiative creating a global air pollution sensor network driven by citizen science.

The early career researchers included Jessica Miller whose project has changed understandings of mental health and trauma in UK policing, informing a new wellbeing service and leading to discussion in Parliament.

Among those commended as established researchers, Vincent Gnanapragasam developed a new tool to predict an individual’s prognosis following a prostate cancer diagnosis to help make decisions about the value of treatment. In a very different field, David Trippett was recognised for bringing an ‘indecipherable’ opera back to life through international performances, broadcasts and recordings.

In the professional services category Naomi Chapman from the Polar Museum Education team developed maps to enable young and partially sighted people to explore the Arctic and Antarctic by touch.

The announcement was made at a prize ceremony held at the Old Schools yesterday (Monday).

Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, says: “This year’s nominations recognise impressive and inspirational individuals, and strongly reflect our mission to engage the public, tackle real-world problems and improve people’s lives. The award scheme focuses attention on the increasingly important role that institutions such as ours have to play in restoring faith in experts.”

The Vice-Chancellor’s Research Impact and Engagement Awards were established to recognise and reward outstanding achievement, innovation and creativity in devising and implementing ambitious engagement and impact plans that have the potential to create significant economic, social and cultural impact from and engagement with and for research. Each winner receives a £1,000 grant to be used for the development and delivery of engagement/impact activity or relevant training.

One of the winners is  David Trippett (Faculty of Music): An unheard opera by 19th-century composer Franz Liszt languished silently in a manuscript thought fragmentary and illegible. David’s meticulous reconstruction brought Sardanapalo to life, to global acclaim, through international performances, broadcasts and recordings. 

Image:  Airam Hernández and Joyce El-Khoury perform Sardanapalo at Staatskapelle Weimar

Credit: Candy Welz

See the full list of winners and read the full story

Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge


The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

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