Each year LJMU presents its prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Research, Scholarship & Knowledge Transfer to staff who are using research to increase our knowledge and understanding of key issues, and develop innovative solutions to challenges facing society today. This year’s recipients are worthy winners, and their exciting work reflects the vibrant research community in operation across the University.
These awards honour members of Liverpool John Moores University who have made outstanding contributions in the area of research and scholarship. This could include excellence one or more the following areas:
- Publications and academic scholarship
- Research supervision
- Research leadership
- Grant income
- Research outreach and knowledge transfer into the community
This year the VC Awards were conferred following presentations to a panel of judges at the University Research and Innovation Day held on 19 June 2019.
The panel of judges (L-R): Professor Robin Leatherbarrow, Professor Julie Sheldon, Mr Mike Parker (Chair of the Board of Governors), Professor Peter Wheeler, Professor Ahmed Al-Shamma'a, Dr Barbara Walsh, Professor Cathy Cole
The prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Medal for Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Knowledge Transfer was awarded to Dr Chris Coxon, a lecturer in Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry from the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences. His research expertise is in peptide synthesis and application as chemical tools to study the function of proteins in biology and as novel therapeutics. As an early career researcher Chris has, excelled as a researcher by generating a substantial income and publishing high quality papers; grown as a research leader and supervisor; and is becoming a recognised figure nationally and internationally in his research field.
Chris has published 14 journal articles since 2014, many in prestigious journals (J. Med Chem, Biochemistry, Oncotarget, Chemistry-A European Journal) and holds 2 international patents (PCT/GB2015/051543, PCT/GB2015/051542). He has given 16 invited presentations at conferences, HEIs and short courses. As an active member of the Royal Society of Chemistry he is a member of the SCI Young Chemists Panel and via this has organised two SCI symposium in addition to the 7th EuCheMS Chemistry congress (Liverpool 2018). Chris received £2,000 in addition to the medal. This money will be available to spend on activities that underpin the professional academic mission.
Professor Valerie Fleming from the School of Nursing and Allied Health and Dr Patryk Kot from the department of Civil Engineering both received Highly Commended Awards from the panel. They will each receive the sum of £1000 to spend on activities that underpin the professional academic mission, such as attendance at conferences where the invitee is presenting.
Professor Valerie Fleming was nominated for her excellence in publication and academic scholarship, research leadership and grant income. Since joining LJMU in 2018 Valerie has published a number of 3 and 4* rated papers focussing on conscientious objection in abortion care.
Her expertise in Gadamerian hermeneutic philosophy has allowed her to study and interpret these phenomena in great depth enabling her to use this insight to underpin a successful ESRC grant application of £250K entitled "Understanding the extent of and limitations to conscientious objection by health care practitioners to abortion". This complex study exploring if healthcare practitioners feel they are able to provide an excellent standard of patient care in relation to abortion, while simultaneously balancing their working lives with their personal will provide valuable findings, influencing healthcare policy and practice and will no doubt become a REF case study.
Recognising the importance of academic leadership, Valerie has recruited a number of the current Midwifery team to this project providing them with the highest level of mentorship while engaged in a real-life study. Moreover, she is also the academic lead for the Liverpool Health Commission, which has been charged with exploring national healthcare policies that relate to the first 1,000 days of life. With infant mortality rising in some marginalized groups, the commission will conduct a critical and hard-hitting inquiry into some of the groups that may have contributed to this rise. Valerie’s understanding of the subject matter and her ability to delve beyond the statistics is a major asset to the inquiry panel.
Dr Patryk Kot is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Civil Engineering Department and the leader for the Smart Technologies for monitoring Environmental/ Structural performance (STEP) research working group, co-leader for Sensors Centre and has been researching in developing sensors since his MSc in 2012.
He has developed an outstanding national and international reputation in novel applications of sensor technologies for industrial and societal challenges. Since he became a lecturer in 2017, he has secured £400k LJMU Income as PI and £1.5million LJMU Income as CI, collaborating with colleagues across the University. BioDie2020 and BioWaves are two EU Horizon 2020-FTI projects that are high pressure, industrially led projects taking technology developed in the laboratory (TRL 5/6) to working in the industry at TRL 8. Patryk, as CI, played a key role in both of these multi-million pound projects, leading a team working directly with the companies involved. The outcomes from both projects have led to major investment by both companies taking these forward and are part of the REF2021 impact case study. The alpha-cypermethrin /insecticide project is one that Patryk has led from the front from the initial proof of concept to working with LSTM and CARE India in the Indian villages testing the prototype in situ alongside the gold standard technique. The hand held sensor has gone from TRL 3 to TRL 7 and there are plans to take this to TRL 8 in the near future with 300 being used by the IRS teams in India and having a direct impact on reducing vector borne diseases. This is all supported by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who after a demonstration of the sensor technologies at LJMU are now considering a larger 3-5 year, £3 million project to explore the use of the sensor technologies to monitor Leishmaniasis parasites with a senior executive from BMF visiting on the 8th May.