Cheering for research and innovation at the Royal Court

Group shot - Cheering for research and innovation at the Royal Court
Pictured top row (left to right): Dr Adam Shore, Clare Hildred, Professor Julie Sheldon, Professor Robin Leatherbarrow Front row (l to r): Dr Will Hurst, Dr Simone Krüger Bridge and Professor Francis McGlone

Hosted by Liverpool Screen School Lecturer and stand-up comedian Dr Tim Miles, the event kicked off with an engaging welcome, which had the audience cheering emphatically as Dr Miles welcomed them to an event “celebrating LJMU research in all its wonderful and creative forms”.

This was followed by an introduction to the Women Professors Network by Chair Professor Caroline Wilkinson who explained the history and role of the group. Professor Robin Leatherbarrow then presented a Research Review of the Year sharing that, as always, we have fantastic highlights but recognised that as we go forward and build up to the REF 2021, we need to build on excellent publications and transfer our knowledge out into the community.

Next, three researchers went head-to-head to win £25,000 funding in this year’s Spotlight Award Dragons’ Den competition. The researchers, Dr Will Hurst, Dr Simone Krüger Bridge and Professor Francis McGlone made it through to the final following a staff vote. They each had just four minutes to pitch their idea and face a cross-examination by a panel of Dragons, who this year were Professor Robin Leatherbarrow, (Pro-Vice Chancellor- Research, Scholarship and Knowledge Transfer), Professor Julie Sheldon (Dean of the Doctoral Academy), Dr Adam Shore (Academic Director of Liverpool Business School) and Clare Hildred (business adviser, non-executive director and leadership coach).

Will went first, making an impassioned case for developing a virtual reality proton beam therapy unit for child cancer patients. Simone then stepped onto the stage with her pitch for bringing composer Florentin Giminez’s work to a western concert hall with The Sound of Silence: Forgotten Masterpieces of Classical Music from Paraguay. Finally Francis presented a compelling pitch entitled Bac in the Sac - looking at developing an ‘intelligent mattress’ to simulate human touch for premature babies – supporting their cognitive development.

After much deliberation, Professor Leatherbarrow announced the Dragons’ decision that the Spotlight Award and the funding should go towards the development of the Bac in the Sac project.

Group shot with cheque - Spotlight Award Winner

Pictured (l to r): Professor Weatherill, Professor McGlone, Professor Leatherbarrow

On hearing he’d won, Professor McGlone said:

"This generous award clearly means a great deal to me and the SomAffect Lab, but even more is the impact replacing the ‘missing touch’ will have on the future lives of incubator babies.

Some of the money will help develop a prototype 'stroking mattress’ that a NICU baby will lay on in the incubator and the rest will pay for a research nurse at Liverpool Women’s Hospital to collect data from a pilot study. Once we have proof of concept we will be in a strong position to seek grant and/or Venture Capital funding."

A series of other awards were also presented during Research and Innovation Day.

Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Knowledge Transfer

  • Winner: Dr Ian McCarthy, Astrophysics Research Institute for outstanding contributions in the area of research, scholarship and knowledge transfer
  • Highly Commended: Dr Hazel Nichols, School of Natural Sciences and Psychology; Dr Andrew Leach, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences and Professor Joel Irish, School of Natural Sciences and Psychology

Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Social and Economic Engagement

  • Winner: Dr Constantine Eliopoulos, School of Natural Sciences and Psychology for outstanding contributions in the area of social and economic engagement
  • Highly Commended: Dr Nadine Muller, School of Humanities and Social Science and Mark Roughley, Liverpool School of Art and Design

Impact Awards (for delivering research which has had a demonstrable impact on society, culture and people)

  • Dr Nadine Muller, School of Humanities and Social Science
  • Dr Ailbhe McDaid, School of Humanities and Social Science
  • Christinna Hobbs, School of Humanities and Social Science 
  • Dr Leo Stevenson, School of Sports Studies, Leisure and Nutrition
  • Dr Ian Davies, School of Sports Studies, Leisure and Nutrition
  • Toni Blackham, School of Sports Studies, Leisure and Nutrition
  • Dr Hayley Janssen, School of Sports Studies, Leisure and Nutrition

Outstanding Supervisor Award

  • Dr Lorna Porcellato, Public Health Institute for creating the most supportive, stimulating and inspirational research environment for doctoral students

The Early Career Researcher Award (for impact for delivering innovative and impactful research)

  • Dr Monower Sadique, School of Civil Engineering
  • Dr Lochran Traill, School of Natural Sciences and Psychology

Faculty research poster competition winner

  • Katie Fitton-Davies

Scholarly Snaps competition

  • Scholarly Snaps People's Award winner: Martin Stoffel
  • Winner: Determination Will Succeed: If Not Today, Then Tomorrow - Abi Dunnett
  • Runner Up: Challenging the old order: Shifting alliances in chimpanzee politics - Nicola Koyama
  • Highly commended: Wildlife tourism and what elephants make of it - Isabelle Szott


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