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University wins European award for public engagement

22 Oct 2012

A team comprising The University of Manchester, Nowgen, Contact Theatre and the Manchester Science Festival has scooped a prize in a European competition for best innovations in University outreach and public engagement.

Natalie Ireland (MSF Director) and Kate Dack (Nowgen Public Programmes Manager )

A creative project called Seeking Perfection has been awarded the ‘Recognition of Distinction’ as part of the ‘EngageU’ programme.

Over 100 projects were submitted from universities across Europe, but this project was selected because of the quality of the collaboration between the four organisations. The creative approaches used made this a distinctive and innovative project.

The Seeking Perfection project explored human enhancement - which provides a rich vein for public engagement, exploring issues such as boosting athletic performance, taking stimulant drugs to improve memory and using plastic surgery.

A team of 15 young people worked with researchers over a six week period to develop a performance about enhancement with creative partners. This was delivered in unusual settings, such as busy shopping centres, to reach local communities who would not typically engage with biomedical science. Seeking Perfection successfully promoted engagement with local communities.

The project team had diverse backgrounds, but they were able to share their strengths to allow everyone to try something new. In this project the young people worked successfully as collaborators with university researchers and also with other professionals in the team.

This project was supported by a People Award from the Wellcome Trust.

For further information about the competition, go to: