NERC-funded student is people's choice
24 September 2007
A student funded by the Natural Environment Research Council has been voted the "People's Choice" in the final of a national competition to encourage scientists to explore the social and ethical implications of their research.
Sarah Moller, a PhD student in atmospheric chemistry at the University of York, impressed visitors at the BA Festival of Science earlier this month with her comic strip poster on ozone in the lower atmosphere.
Sarah was competing in Perspectives, a national competition for young researchers, organised by Research Councils UK (RCUK). Competitors were shortlisted from applications before the finalists presented their posters and discussed their research with the public during the Festival.
Sarah said, "Perspectives was a great competition to be involved in; I learned a lot about effective communication, and researching the poster has really helped my background knowledge of my subject area. It was great to see what interested the public about my research and to hear their opinions; to get their vote as the people's choice was amazing. The festival itself was a brilliant opportunity to hear about interesting research from lively and often engaging speakers."
The competition, organised and sponsored by RCUK, was designed to give young researchers the opportunity to gain the skills and experience needed to discuss the social implications of their research - something that all scientists are increasingly asked to do. The winner of the People's Choice award, given to the researcher whose poster received the most votes from visiting members of the public, received £350.
Speaking on behalf of RCUK, Professor Alan Thorpe said, "It is hugely important that scientists engage with the public and talk about their research. The Perspectives competition gives young researchers the chance to learn the communications skills that will help them throughout their scientific careers. I would like to congratulate not only Sarah for being voted the people's choice, but everyone who took part for their effort and enthusiasm."
NERC Press Office
Natural Environment Research Council
Polaris House, North Star Avenue
Swindon, SN2 1EU
Tel: 01793 411561
Mob: 07917 557215
1. The winning posters can be downloaded as PDF files. Unless otherwise stated, all documents are less than 1MB:
2. Perspectives was open for applications from February 2007. 35 young scientists were selected to take part and attended workshops in June and July held at the Dana Centre in London.
3. The posters were displayed at the BA Festival of Science at the University of York, 10-14 September. The BA Festival of Science is one of the UK's biggest science festivals. It attracts around 400 of the best scientists and science communicators from home and abroad who reveal the latest developments in research to a general audience.
4. The researchers answered questions from members of the public, researchers and the media at several sessions during the week.
5. The judging panel was made up of prominent scientists and science communicators.
Briefing note: 18/07
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