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Celebrating and recognising the achievements of the University's research staff

21 Sep 2020

To celebrate and recognise the achievement of the University’s research staff, the Research Staff Strategy Group has introduced a new University awards scheme

Two people

We are delighted to announce the inaugural winners for the Research Staff Excellence Awards 2020. 

The awards invited nominations to recognise and celebrate the achievements of research staff. Applications were considered a panel comprising of Faculty Academic Leads for Research Staff and Researcher Development, chaired by Associate Vice President for Research. 

This year’s winners are:

Research Staff of the Year 

Dr Annette Allen, Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health

Dr Allen secured a Henry Dale Fellowship, had multiple research papers accepted for publication including one in Nature Communications and has received invitations to speak at prestigious international conferences.

Dr Danielle Alderson, Faculty of Humanities

Dr Alderson has had two lead author papers in internationally leading journals in two different fields. International interest in her work is growing as evidenced by a standing room only presentation at the 2019 European Geoscience Union General Assembly. Danielle has also secured UKRI funding for her work on radiocarbon dating of floodplain greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Ashok Keerthi, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Dr Keerthi has been an active researcher in Manchester since 2016 and is currently a Ramsay Memorial and Presidential Fellow. Ashok’s outstanding research publications include four Nature papers and one Science paper. His breakthrough papers are having a major impact on the field of nanonfluidics as evidenced by three of his publications being in the top 1% cited papers in the academic field of Chemistry.

Best Outstanding Output

Dr Joan Chang, Dr Richa Garva and Dr Adam Pickard, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

They published a seminal research paper in Nature Cell Biology on their ground breaking discovery of the circadian clock control of collagen secretion, which was picked up by over 25 news outlets. It connects two fields of research, circadian biology and collagen homeostasis, which have largely been separated so far.

Dr Frances Houghton, Faculty of Humanities

Dr Houghton’s publication of The Veterans’ Tale takes an interdisciplinary approach, making a significant contribution to the field of the cultural history of war, military history and gender. The book won the Army History Society’s Templar Prize for a first book in 2019 and has been shortlisted for the highly prestigious Royal Historical Society Whitfield Prize in 2020. 

Dr Mike Buckley, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Dr Buckley’s crucial contribution to this work consists of the application of his unique expertise in species identification using a method of collagen fingerprinting (ZooMS). His Nature paper Age estimates for hominin fossils and the onset of the Upper Palaeolithic at Denisova Cave signified a landmark moment in the evolutionary history of hominids be identified through ZooMS and was cited 53 times in the first 18 months of publication. 

Best Outstanding Contribution to Research Impact

Dr Kelly Burgoyne, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Dr Burgoyne lead the development of evidence based online advice sessions to support parents of children which Down syndrome during the pandemic. The impact was significant with each session vastly oversubscribed and to increase accessibility the sessions were made available on YouTube.

Dr Ajmal Hussain, Faculty of Humanities

Dr Hussain’s work on EU funded DARE project and his engagement with Muslim and White young men in contribution to brings cutting edge research in the field of counter extremism into academic, policy and practice circles. 

Dr Chris Overton, Dr Lorenzo Pellis and Dr Helena Stage, Faculty of Science and Engineering

These researchers made significant contribution to the national scientific response to COVID-19. Research impact has been achieved in a number of ways including commissioned studies from SAGE and its subgroups through to engagement with the Public Health England modelling cell and direct work with wider government. Their data and forecasting work on the doubling rate at the early stages of the panedemic had a significant impact on the change in the speed with which the the lockdown was introduced. 

University-wide Award of Best Outstanding Contribution to the Research Environment

Dr Michael Avery, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Dr Avery developed the PDRA forum in Materials from a largely social forum into a broader forum of support with conferences, lunchtime seminars and support for grant applications. This approach is being replicated across other departments. His engagement with the Faculty ensures the researcher’s voice is heard within the Faculty and the University. During lockdown Dr Avery has continued to create a supportive research environment through the organisation of online meetings and forums for all PDRAs across the Faculty.

The University really values the work of our researchers and is delighted to share the details of their accomplishments. Their significant contribution to the research excellence of the Faculties and University is greatly appreciated.