Winners of this year’s President’s Awards for Excellence were announced at an awards ceremony last week.
The President’s Awards for Excellence recognises the achievements of staff based on four award categories: Culture and Community, Education, Research, and Societal Engagement. Among the winners for each specialist area, those who have made exceptional contributions are also awarded with the President’s Medal.
At the event on Thursday, President Hugh Brady said:
“It’s been an impressive year for me getting to know our community, learning about your ambitions for the future, and in particular, hearing that our staff and students chose Imperial explicitly because they want to make the world a better place.
“It is no exaggeration to say that our fantastic staff are generating new knowledge and technologies to make our world healthier, smarter, safer and more prosperous and more sustainable.”
We spoke to some of this year’s medal winners to celebrate their achievements.
Imperial 600 committee: Culture and community
The Imperial 600 committee won the President’s Medal for Excellence in Culture and Community for their work raising awareness and visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) issues across Imperial. As a committee of volunteers, they were praised for their collaboration across all areas of Imperial and for their continual championing of equality diversity and inclusion.
The committee members nominated were: Aneesha Bhumber, Richard Carruthers, Katie Dallison, Josh Hodge, Harry Jenkins, James Kavanagh, Simon Levey, Travis Mager, Rahmeen Rahman and Ji Young Yoon.
The team have represented Imperial as loud and proud ambassadors at UK Black Pride, London Trans+ Pride, London Pride, and Great Exhibition Road Festival. Some of the initiatives highlighted in their nomination include developing the Allies Programme; holding a first Bisexual Visibility Day and launching a cross-campus book club. When organising events and speakers, the team place importance on highlighting how LGBTQ+ issues intersect with racial equality and disability.
In the nomination for this award, Professor Maggie Dallman, Vice-President (International) and Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships), said: “In 2022, I put myself forward as the Executive Sponsor of this network – I know first-hand the level of commitment the committee has in achieving their goals of raising awareness and visibility of LGBTQ+ issues across the College. I recognise the importance of their network for the Imperial community, especially as the broader LGBTQ+ community within universities and across the UK faces challenging times.”
Co-chairs of Imperial 600, Aneesha Bhumber and Simon Levey said: “We are so very happy to receive the medal, it was a huge surprise! The network is a place where LGBTQ+ people can get support, meet others who understand our issues, and raise concerns up to Imperial management. We couldn't run it without our team of incredible and enthusiastic volunteers - but we also rely on allies and supporters to ensure Imperial is a safe, open and welcoming place to work and study.”
Dr Mark Sutton: Teaching Innovation
Dr Mark Sutton, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering, was the recipient of a President's Medal for Excellence in Teaching Innovation.
Mark has been recognised as an inspiring and innovative teacher, pioneering a custom-made application during COVID-19 which allowed students to take part in virtual geology field trips. This work contributed to Imperial being named the University of the Year for Student Experience in 2022 and being awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for COVID-19 response.
Mark’s passion for developing gaming technologies and virtual reality for teaching purposes has led to a grant to transform his virtual field trip software to enable schools to make field trips more inclusive for students who are unable to attend physical field courses.
A student is quoted in his nomination saying: “He is noticeably fiercely passionate about the training of students as critical earth scientists, as opposed to assessment machines.
“He is the go-to staff member for students with academic and wellbeing concerns, a passionate scientific mentor, and a brilliant teacher.”
I’ve always been convinced that teaching at its best should include a large dose of fun Dr Mark Sutton
On receiving the President’s medal, Mark said: “I’m thrilled to see my work recognised by this medal, though of course the success I’ve had has only been possible through collaboration with truly exceptional colleagues. I’ve always been convinced that teaching at its best should include a large dose of fun, and using game-industry technologies to deliver material provides many such opportunities, as well as being an effective medium to communicate concepts and experience. I’m working now on systems to facilitate virtual reality teaching both in my home department of Earth Science and Engineering and across college, and my goal is to help Imperial become a leader in the use of these technologies.”
Dr Maxie Roessler: Outstanding Early Career Researcher
Dr Maxie Roessler, Reader in EPR Spectroscopy in the Department of Chemistry, won the President’s Medal for Outstanding Early Career Researcher.
Maxie is an international leader in her field of research, Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. Since starting at Imperial in 2019, she has been the driving force behind the Centre for Pulse EPR (PEPR), a flagship Imperial research facility with unique capabilities. Maxie secured £2.3 million of funding to build this new facility and has established herself as Director, growing her team from four to 13. The success of PEPR has been attributed to Maxie’s ability to understand and address the challenges of working across multiple disciplines – the physical, chemical and biological sciences.
In her nomination, Maxie was praised for her innovative and collaborative approach to her research: “Maxie has quickly established herself as an innovator and world class scientist in this field. She is developing exciting new techniques that will have long-term impact. Key to Maxie’s success has been her ability to bridge to research fields beyond EPR and solve important problems in biology and catalysis. To achieve this Maxie has had to excel as an original thinker, an educator and communicator.”
“My research exploits unpaired electrons to understand a wide range of different processes.” Maxie said. “Although I have a particular passion for redox-based reactions, such as important enzymatic reactions in respiration or photosynthesis and electrocatalysis, I am interested in everything that involves unpaired electrons. Studying these requires some rather specialist equipment and I was lucky to have a lot of support not just from my department but from colleagues across Imperial College to build up the Centre for Pulse EPR spectroscopy (PEPR).
“I am of course honoured to receive this medal. It clearly is not just an award for me but also to my past and present research group members. It is truly a privilege to come to work every day and to be surrounded by such talented and motivated people, and I look forward to new adventures with electron spins with them and with my collaborators. In the future, I hope to grow the unique aspects of PEPR, namely the capabilities we have to study very low spins numbers, as well as EPR spectroelectrochemistry. I am also passionate to continue to make EPR more accessible to non-EPR experts.”
Dr Lindsay Dewa: Societal engagement
Dr Lindsay Dewa, Advanced Research Fellow in the School of Public Health and the Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI), was awarded the President’s Medal for Excellence in Societal Engagement for her innovative approach to engaging young people in her research and the revolutionary way she engaged the public with science.
Her nomination focused on the success of Nexus, a short film drama Lindsay co-produced with young people with lived experiences of COVID-19, and some with mental health difficulties. The film focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on young people’s mental health, eating-related coping strategies, and the power of social connection.
The diverse group of young people involved in the project all played an equal part in the decisions of the project, with Lindsay giving them creative licence and making them key decision makers.
Due to the success of the project Lindsay was able to promote her research across media outlets including the BBC, on social media, and at in person events. She secured funding to screen Nexus at events in London, Manchester, Middlesbrough and Birmingham during Eating Disorders Awareness Week, gaining interest in her research from the public, charities and clinicians.
“Nexus in particular has been hugely successful, with over 3,000 views on YouTube, archived by the British Film Institute and most recently it has won Best Film in the EVCOM film and communication awards in the Health and Wellbeing category!” Lindsay said.
In her nomination she was credited for advocating for he young team she worked with, something that was really important to her: “For me, the fact that young people were involved and shared decisions with myself, clinicians and film director throughout every film stage was the biggest achievement. Of course co-production can be challenging at times, and can be time consuming, but it’s completely worth it.
“I am stunned to be awarded the President’s Medal for Societal Engagement. There were so many amazing awardees, and it reminded me again why I love working at Imperial so much! But I’m so happy for my work to be recognised specifically for how I work – in partnership with people with lived experience all the way through projects, and how film can be used to disseminate research rather than traditional academic papers.
“I’m hoping this award can shine a light on the importance of co-production and how other people can implement it in their own work. The President’s Medal would never have been possible without the truly fantastic young people, clinicians, researchers and film producers that I have worked with in the last few years.”
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © Imperial College London.
Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © Imperial College London.
Leave a comment
Your comment may be published, displaying your name as you provide it, unless you request otherwise. Your contact details will never be published.