Awards

Best Cultural Impact

The Arts have the power to transform society by influencing the views, customs and social behaviour of individuals. Our nominees in the Best Cultural Impact category have all undertaken arts-based research to challenge, change and enrich our collective culture.

Winner

The Centre for New Writing
Researchers: Dr Corinne Fowler, Dr Jonathan Taylor, Nick Everett, Dr Harry Whitehead School of Arts

Associate Professor of 20th Century Postcolonial Literature Corinne Fowler’s published work has demonstrated that regional British black and British Asian writers suffer disproportionately from London’s literary dominance. Calling for targeted infrastructural support, she identified a clear need for academics to attend more closely to regional writing by black and Asian Britons, which rarely appears on the lists of mainstream publishers.

Dr Fowler established (with colleagues) the Centre for New Writing in 2013, raising regional BME regional writers’ professional profiles through a series of funded projects. Her research identified creative commissions as a key mechanism for promoting BME writers and has commissioned 76 pieces of writing since the Centre’s inception, two of which have won literary awards while another is being made into a film.

Carol Leeming, who received the Siobhan Logan Award for her commissioned work said: ‘[a]s a Black woman author, my writing and career has been helped immeasurably by the CNW…Primarily being a commissioned writer for their Hidden Stories project, also as a poet, taking part in Literary Leicester along with making literary, professional and academic contacts. The CNW has raised my profile nationally and internationally.’

Nominees

The Centre for New Writing
Researchers: Dr Corinne Fowler, Dr Jonathan Taylor, Nick Everett, Dr Harry Whitehead School of Arts

Associate Professor of 20th Century Postcolonial Literature Corinne Fowler’s published work has demonstrated that regional British black and British Asian writers suffer disproportionately from London’s literary dominance. Calling for targeted infrastructural support, she identified a clear need for academics to attend more closely to regional writing by black and Asian Britons, which rarely appears on the lists of mainstream publishers.

Dr Fowler established (with colleagues) the Centre for New Writing in 2013, raising regional BME regional writers’ professional profiles through a series of funded projects. Her research identified creative commissions as a key mechanism for promoting BME writers and has commissioned 76 pieces of writing since the Centre’s inception, two of which have won literary awards while another is being made into a film.

Carol Leeming, who received the Siobhan Logan Award for her commissioned work said: ‘[a]s a Black woman author, my writing and career has been helped immeasurably by the CNW…Primarily being a commissioned writer for their Hidden Stories project, also as a poet, taking part in Literary Leicester along with making literary, professional and academic contacts. The CNW has raised my profile nationally and internationally.’

“Bronze” at the Royal Academy of Arts
Researcher: Professor David Ekserdjian, School of Arts

David Ekserdjian is a Professor of History of Art and Film whose research, skills and expertise have been critical to multiple major international exhibitions over the past 30 years.

While Prof Ekserdjian continues to play a vital role in several forthcoming art shows and events, his nomination for an Impact Award focuses on “Bronze”, an exhibition at the Royal Academy, which he devised, organised and catalogued in 2012. The concept behind the show was both simple and original: to examine a single material, bronze, which has produced some of the most extraordinary works of art in existence, across its entire historical and geographical range.

Bronze was one of the most admired and revelatory art exhibitions since 1945. Prof Ekserdjian persuaded private collectors, governments, and museums from around the world to loan over 150 priceless sculptures, reliefs, and other artefacts, many of which had never left their home countries before.

In the Daily Telegraph, Andrew Graham-Dixon wrote that “David Ekserdjian has a keen eye, a sharp mind and self-evidently extraordinary powers of persuasion”.

The Royal Academy recorded over 225,000 visitors to the show from 15 September to 9 December 2012, of whom an estimated 9,000 were from overseas.

Stories of a Different Kind: challenging prejudice and stimulating debate around attitudes towards difference
Researchers: Professor Richard Sandell and Jocelyn Dodd, Museum Studies, Dr Paul Lazarus, Department of Medical and Social Care Education

Despite formal advances in equality, disabled people’s daily lived experiences are still powerfully shaped by deeply entrenched negative attitudes towards difference. Negative attitudes are manifest in numerous ways – from everyday acts of thoughtless disrespect to shocking increases in hate crime towards disabled people. These attitudes, it has been widely argued, are underpinned by medicalised views of disability which see physical and mental differences as inherently deficient and in need of a cure or fix.

For the past decade, the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG) has been carrying out collaborative research with museums and disability rights activists and artists that has set out to challenge these deeply entrenched negative attitudes towards disability and to stimulate and inform debate about the implications of a society that values some lives more than others.

Led by Jocelyn Dodd and Richard Sandell, RCMG has initiated two distinct but related projects involving sustained collaborative research with eight of the UK’s most renowned medical museums, five artists with lived experience of disability and advisors from the Smithsonian Institution, the Royal College of Surgeons and disability-led arts organisation, SHAPE.

The project has had impact on the public, cultural organisations and on medical professionals.

Best Economic Impact (achieved)

Research has a vital role to play in driving economic growth and prosperity across the UK and further afield. We exist within a knowledge economy where growth is in part dependent on the quantity, quality, and accessibility of information.

Our nominees in the Best Economic Impact (achieved) category have all worked collaboratively with the users of research to translate innovation and expertise into tangible impact which improves the economic health of the nation.

Winner

Therapeutic antibodies and structure based drug discovery – Mind to Market
Researchers: Professor Mark Carr, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
Collaborators: Dr Vaclav Veverka, Dr Lorna Waters, Dr Martyn Robinson (UCB), Dr Richard Taylor (UCB) and Dr Alistair Henry (UCB)

Professor Mark Carr moved to Leicester 16 years ago and brought with him a strong collaboration with the biopharmaceutical company UCB Biopharma. Their collaborative work together has led to the development of a fully approved therapeutic antibody Cimzia, which has now treated more than 98,000 patients in 62 countries with a range of major inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, psoriatic arthritis, axial spondylarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Cimzia has proved to be a highly effective therapeutic since its launch in 2009, which is reflected in sales of over 1.3 billion Euros in 2016 and projected further growth in sales to over 1.5 billion Euros by 2020.

Professor Carr is an expert in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy based structural biology and its innovative application to drug discovery, an approach which enables us to “see” the structure of proteins and map interactions between proteins and potential therapeutic antibodies, thus enabling the development of new therapeutics to treat severe human disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Crohn’s disease and related conditions are chronic inflammatory diseases, which are major health problems in many countries, with over 2.9 million people affected by rheumatoid arthritis in Europe and an estimated financial cost of over 45 billion Euros per year.

Nominees

Therapeutic antibodies and structure based drug discovery – Mind to Market
Researchers: Professor Mark Carr, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
Collaborators: Dr Vaclav Veverka, Dr Lorna Waters, Dr Martyn Robinson (UCB), Dr Richard Taylor (UCB) and Dr Alistair Henry (UCB)

Professor Mark Carr moved to Leicester 16 years ago and brought with him a strong collaboration with the biopharmaceutical company UCB Biopharma. Their collaborative work together has led to the development of a fully approved therapeutic antibody Cimzia, which has now treated more than 98,000 patients in 62 countries with a range of major inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, psoriatic arthritis, axial spondylarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Cimzia has proved to be a highly effective therapeutic since its launch in 2009, which is reflected in sales of over 1.3 billion Euros in 2016 and projected further growth in sales to over 1.5 billion Euros by 2020.

Professor Carr is an expert in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy based structural biology and its innovative application to drug discovery, an approach which enables us to “see” the structure of proteins and map interactions between proteins and potential therapeutic antibodies, thus enabling the development of new therapeutics to treat severe human disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Crohn’s disease and related conditions are chronic inflammatory diseases, which are major health problems in many countries, with over 2.9 million people affected by rheumatoid arthritis in Europe and an estimated financial cost of over 45 billion Euros per year.

Development of methods to better inform healthcare decision making and innovation
Researchers: Professor Keith R Abrams, Professors Nicola Cooper, David Jones, Paul Lambert & Alex Sutton, Drs Sylwia Bujkiewicz, Michael Crowther, Clare Gillies, Laura Gray, Stephanie Hubbard & Mark Rutherford, Department of Health Sciences

The National Institute for health Care Excellence (NICE) in England and Wales makes timely and equitable decisions regarding the use and reimbursement of health technologies (medical devices and pharmaceuticals) within the NHS in order to improve patient care.

Such decisions are reliant on Health Technology Assessment (HTA) – the processes of evidence generation, synthesis and evaluation, and the methods that underpin these. Methods pioneered and developed at Leicester by members of the Biostatistics Research Group, in both evidence synthesis and prediction of life expectancy, over the last 15 years are now used routinely in HTA both by NICE and the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare consultancy companies who make submissions to NICE. Internationally, these methods are also now being adopted in the US by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, as well as in rapidly developing countries such as Brazil and Colombia.

The impact has been to:

  • Enable NICE to employ a rigorous, fair and standardised methodology with which medical devices and pharmaceuticals can be assessed, and thus;
  • Support the selection of the most clinically and cost--effective medical devices and pharmaceuticals to be approved for public use
  • Help pharmaceutical and device manufacturers seeking NICE approval to implement processes and practices which are more efficient and effective.

Cost reduction to the NHS: Work of the Diabetes Research Centre
Researchers: Prof Kamlesh Khunti, Prof Melanie Davies, Dr Andrew Willis, Dr Laura Gray, Dr Tom Yates

Type 2 Diabetes is serious chronic disease which reduces quality and length of life and can lead to serious complications such as heart attacks, strokes and amputations. The number of people diagnosed is rapidly increasing, placing a huge burden on the NHS. It is estimated that 10% of the NHS’s budget is spent on treating diabetes and its complications and this is projected to rise to 17% in the next 20 years. Importantly Type 2 Diabetes is preventable if those at risk can be identified and provided with a prevention programme.

The Leicester Self-Assessment (LSA) Diabetes Risk Score was developed in collaboration with Diabetes UK, to identify those at high risk of having either undiagnosed Type 2 Diabetes or prediabetes. Due to its accuracy and cost effectiveness, the LSA now is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and has been adopted as part of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Pathway, with the score being used by GPs, practice nurses and other healthcare professionals such as pharmacists, optometrists and dentists.

The LSA is available in high-street pharmacies including Boots and Tesco and an online version has been completed over 1.2 million times.

Best Economic Impact (potential)

The pathway to from research to economic impact can be long and complex - but it begins with innovation, in all its disciplinary diversity.

Our nominees in the Best Economic Impact (potential) category all demonstrate innovative thinking with exciting potential for driving economic growth and clear plans and foresight for achieving impact.

Winner

Old dogs for new tricks-The use of salbutamol to regenerate skin, reducing skin fibrosis
Researcher: Professor Christine Pullar, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

One hundred and ten million primary surgical incisions occur globally every year, with those made in areas of high tension particularly prone to scarring. Depending on the body location, wound scars can be emotionally (face) and physically (joint) debilitating.

There are currently no proven treatments available to prevent wound scarring.

Salbutamol is a safe and well-tolerated pharmaceutical, which has been a mainstay of asthma therapy in the UK since 1968. Research in the Pullar lab has shown that the drug can modulate wound repair processes. Uniquely, when applied to a skin wound site, it alters the way the wound heals, curbing excessive cell behaviour and moving the healing process away from scarring and towards normal skin regeneration.

The global scar treatment market has been estimated to be valued at US$ 12,607M and this is forecast to grow exponentially. Our intention is to deliver a clinical and cost-effective solution that supports reimbursement through the NHS or equivalent International public Healthcare Systems. UoL has a robust commercialization plan and exit strategy in place and has a portfolio of licensing partners with interest in the portfolio.

Nominees

Old dogs for new tricks-The use of salbutamol to regenerate skin, reducing skin fibrosis
Researcher: Professor Christine Pullar, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

One hundred and ten million primary surgical incisions occur globally every year, with those made in areas of high tension particularly prone to scarring. Depending on the body location, wound scars can be emotionally (face) and physically (joint) debilitating.

There are currently no proven treatments available to prevent wound scarring.

Salbutamol is a safe and well-tolerated pharmaceutical, which has been a mainstay of asthma therapy in the UK since 1968. Research in the Pullar lab has shown that the drug can modulate wound repair processes. Uniquely, when applied to a skin wound site, it alters the way the wound heals, curbing excessive cell behaviour and moving the healing process away from scarring and towards normal skin regeneration.

The global scar treatment market has been estimated to be valued at US$ 12,607M and this is forecast to grow exponentially. Our intention is to deliver a clinical and cost-effective solution that supports reimbursement through the NHS or equivalent International public Healthcare Systems. UoL has a robust commercialization plan and exit strategy in place and has a portfolio of licensing partners with interest in the portfolio.

Green Mineral Processing
Researchers: Dr Gawen Jenkin, Department of Geology, Professor Andrew Abbott, Department of Chemistry, with Robert Harris, Dan Smith, Dave Holwell, Hugh Graham, Francesca Bevan, Ahmed Al-Bassam

Society depends on an ever-increasing supply of raw materials. Innovation is needed to reduce the environmental impact of the production of resources – the energy spent on their recovery, water used, the potential contamination released during processing, and waste and residues produced. Minimising these impacts, and at the same time improving recovery of the resources without inflating costs, is a key target for industry and society.

Collaborative research between Geology and Chemistry at Leicester is developing the application of novel solvents in extracting metals from ore minerals, whilst fulfilling “green” credentials. The use of “deep eutectic solvents” (DES) benefits from production being low energy, environmentally benign, economically realistic and ethically sourced. It can replace aqueous-based metal leaching systems, reducing water usage (a major consideration in many developing countries) and aqueous waste that is costly to treat.

The potential impact of a new “green” metal extraction process for the mining industry is vast. The Geology-Chemistry team is working with mining companies from around the world to test samples and build significant economic impact whilst reducing the negative environmental impacts of raw material supply.

Pattern Recognition in Big Data
Researchers: Professor Alexander Gorban, Professor Jeremy Levesley, Dr Ivan Tyukin, Dr Evgeny Mirkes, Dr Andrey Mudrov, Department of Mathematics

The ability to recognise patterns in large sets of data is underpinning some of the most exciting innovations in technology and business today.

Already, our mobile phones and cameras are able to identify faces and shapes, enabling a huge range of additional functionality, including better, sharper photography and safer security systems.

Financial services and other firms are improving their customer intelligence, regulatory compliance, fraud management and marketing campaigns using insights from big data.

Fundamental research into ‘pattern recognition in big data’, instigated five years ago by the Data Analytics Group in the Department of Mathematics, has attracted particular interest from several industrial partners, who are working with the University through a series of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and other collaborative contracts.

The mathematical research has led to the development of a novel approach to data analytics which enables a sharper focus on “relevant” data and a reduction in disruption from “irrelevant” data. The new method has the potential to enable faster, more accurate predictions from analysis of very large amounts of information.

Industry partners estimate the collaboration will lead to more than £333M of additional turnover and £105M of profit, creating at least 39 new jobs.

Best Societal Impact (achieved)

Research has the power to change lives for the better – enabling healthier, fairer and safer conditions for people from all walks of life.

Our nominees in the Best Societal Impact category have delivered tangible impacts which improve outcomes for some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Winner

Development of mepolizumab (NucleraTM) as a new class of treatment for severe asthma
Researchers: Professor Andrew Wardlaw, Professor Chris Brightling, Dr Pranab Haldar, Dr Ruth Green, Professor Peter Bradding, Prof Ian Pavord (formerly University of Leicester now University of Oxford

Asthma is a common global condition that effects up to 5% of adults and 20% of children. Asthma is characterized by breathlessness, wheeze and chest tightness, which is caused by narrowing of the breathing tubes.

Flare-ups or exacerbations are a particular feature of severe asthma, and require people to take time off work, come into hospital and occasionally cause death - about 1,000 cases a year in the UK. It was long thought that the two patterns of asthma (day-to-day symptoms and exacerbations), were inextricably linked and caused by a type of inflammation called ‘eosinophilic’ due to one of the white blood cells (eosinophils) involved in protection against parasites. Increased eosinophils are characteristic of allergy, which is the cause of the inflammation in most people with asthma.

The great insight of the Leicester respiratory group in the late 1990s and early 2000s was that these two processes, while closely connected, could occur independently.

A close, collaborative relationship with GlaxoSmithKline led to the study of new drug mepolizumab in severe, exacerbation prone, eosinophilic asthma. This study was successful demonstrating about a 50% reduction in severe exacerbations, eventually leading GSK to obtain a global licence for mepolizumab (as NucalaTM), in late 2015 and in December 2016, NICE approved the treatment for severe eosinophilic asthma. Nucala is the first new class of treatment for asthma in 13 years.

Nominees

Improving outcomes for older people with frailty and urgent care needs
Researchers: Professor Simon Conroy, Professor Graham Martin, Kay Phelps, Emma Regen, Dr Jay Banerjee, Dr Ron Hsu

People aged over 65 account for an estimated 20% of first attendees to English Emergency Departments (3.6 million people) and this population are at high risk of hospital admission following an emergency department visit.

A growing body of evidence suggesting that ‘hospital at home’ for selected patients offers significant advantages in terms of lower mortality and reduced functional decline. However, once admitted to hospital, it becomes increasingly difficult to arrange early supported discharge for older people due to a variety of clinical and organisational barriers.

Geriatrician Professor Simon Conroy and colleagues in the Department of Health Sciences are making Leicester a renowned centre of excellence in the urgent care of frail older people. Working closely with the local NHS Trust, they have supported the development of the UK’s first frail friendly Emergency Department at Leicester, with the aim of getting older people with urgent care needs home sooner and healthier.

Leicester’s research is enabling health providers to understand, develop and implement new models of care for older people, including Hospital Wide Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment.

A 2016 survey of English hospitals found that 57% of respondents were aware of one or more Leicester urgent care initiatives, 44% specified Leicester schemes as influencing their service and 21% had implemented a Leicester initiative.

Hate Crime: Improving Public Understanding and Policy Responses
Researchers: Prof Neil Chakraborti, Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy

Since 2012, the Centre for Hate Studies has carried out a substantial body of research, led by Professor Neil Chakraborti and Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy, which has engaged with more than 6,000 members of established and emerging minority communities and over 2,000 hate crime victims.

The researchers have produced 12 major reports which have included the voices of thousands of victims, many of whom have never shared their story with the police or any other relevant organisation. The reports have been accessed by more than 1,000 policy-makers and practitioners world-wide and provide feasible, sector-specific recommendations for policy and practice improvements. The ESRC-funded Leicester Hate Crime Project was cited throughout the new Government action plan for tackling hate crime (Home Office, 2016).

The researchers have developed world-leading Continuing Professional Development training on hate crime. To date, they have delivered CPD training to more than 600 practitioners and policy-makers working in criminal justice, education, local authorities, health and social care.

Development of mepolizumab (NucleraTM) as a new class of treatment for severe asthma
Researchers: Professor Andrew Wardlaw, Professor Chris Brightling, Dr Pranab Haldar, Dr Ruth Green, Professor Peter Bradding, Prof Ian Pavord (formerly University of Leicester now University of Oxford

Asthma is a common global condition that effects up to 5% of adults and 20% of children. Asthma is characterized by breathlessness, wheeze and chest tightness, which is caused by narrowing of the breathing tubes.

Flare-ups or exacerbations are a particular feature of severe asthma, and require people to take time off work, come into hospital and occasionally cause death - about 1,000 cases a year in the UK. It was long thought that the two patterns of asthma (day-to-day symptoms and exacerbations), were inextricably linked and caused by a type of inflammation called ‘eosinophilic’ due to one of the white blood cells (eosinophils) involved in protection against parasites. Increased eosinophils are characteristic of allergy, which is the cause of the inflammation in most people with asthma.

The great insight of the Leicester respiratory group in the late 1990s and early 2000s was that these two processes, while closely connected, could occur independently.

A close, collaborative relationship with GlaxoSmithKline led to the study of new drug mepolizumab in severe, exacerbation prone, eosinophilic asthma. This study was successful demonstrating about a 50% reduction in severe exacerbations, eventually leading GSK to obtain a global licence for mepolizumab (as NucalaTM), in late 2015 and in December 2016, NICE approved the treatment for severe eosinophilic asthma. Nucala is the first new class of treatment for asthma in 13 years.

Best Societal Impact (potential)

The potential for societal impact runs across the breadth of our research disciplines, from science and medicine to social science, the arts and humanities.

Our nominees in the Best Societal Impact category all carry out innovative research which has the potential to be transformative in its application.

Winner

The role of the selective Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase Inihibitor (BTKi) GS/ONO-4059 in B cell lymphoma and leukaemia.
Researchers: Professor Martin J.S. Dyer, Dr Sandrine Jayne, Dr Harriet Walter, Dr Claire Hutchinson, Dr Ryohei Kozaki, Dr Kohki Tsukamoto, Mr Ross Jackson, Dr Salvador Macip MCB, Cancer Studies

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors are a type of biological therapy that can stop cancer cells growing. They are a major focus for many researchers working in different fields of cancer research. Inhibitors of a specific kinase - Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) - have transformed the therapeutic landscape for several types of B cell lymphoma and leukaemia, allowing successful treatment of previously untreatable cases.

One such BTK inhibitor was developed by ONO Pharmaceuticals, Osaka. Trabrutinib first entered clinical trial in 2012 in six centres worldwide. Professor of Haemato-Oncology in Leicester Martin Dyer was the Chief Investigator in the UK of this first-in-man study.

This clinical and laboratory research is of the highest societal impact, transforming lives of patients with previously untreatable and rapidly fatal malignancies. It has changed the treatment paradigm for patients with a diagnosis of relapsed/ refractory CLL and MCL. Many patients are now entering their fourth year on treatment.

Nominees

The role of the selective Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase Inihibitor (BTKi) GS/ONO-4059 in B cell lymphoma and leukaemia.
Researchers: Professor Martin J.S. Dyer, Dr Sandrine Jayne, Dr Harriet Walter, Dr Claire Hutchinson, Dr Ryohei Kozaki, Dr Kohki Tsukamoto, Mr Ross Jackson, Dr Salvador Macip MCB, Cancer Studies

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors are a type of biological therapy that can stop cancer cells growing. They are a major focus for many researchers working in different fields of cancer research. Inhibitors of a specific kinase - Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) - have transformed the therapeutic landscape for several types of B cell lymphoma and leukaemia, allowing successful treatment of previously untreatable cases.

One such BTK inhibitor was developed by ONO Pharmaceuticals, Osaka. Trabrutinib first entered clinical trial in 2012 in six centres worldwide. Professor of Haemato-Oncology in Leicester Martin Dyer was the Chief Investigator in the UK of this first-in-man study.

This clinical and laboratory research is of the highest societal impact, transforming lives of patients with previously untreatable and rapidly fatal malignancies. It has changed the treatment paradigm for patients with a diagnosis of relapsed/ refractory CLL and MCL. Many patients are now entering their fourth year on treatment.

The Law in Children’s Lives project
Researchers: Dr Dawn Watkins, Leicester Law School, Dr Effie Law, Department of Informatics with Dr Jo Barwick and Dr Elee Kirk (1977 - 2016)

The Law in Children’s Lives (LICL) project has sought to investigate how far, if at all, children are aware of the various legal provisions that apply to them, and to assess how far children perceive themselves to be empowered by these laws in their day to day lives.

A pioneering feature has been the creation and use of a tablet-based digital game as a means of gathering research data from 634 children aged 8-11 years. One of the project’s final aims is the development of a digital game that children and young people can play in order to assess and improve their levels of legal understanding. It is intended that this game will be openly available and accessible to all children and designed to be compatible with multiple UK and non-UK platforms.

As such, it has the potential to empower and positively impact thousands of children both nationally and internationally. The research findings from this study will contribute to the much-needed evidence base in the field of public legal education (PLE). As a consequence of leading the project, Dr Watkins has become a regular invitee to the newly established All Party Parliamentary Group for PLE.

Operationalizing latent fingerprint visualization on metal objects
Researchers: Professor Robert Hillman, Dr A.L. Beresford-Laycock, Dr R.M. Sapstead (nee Brown), Ms. J. Coulston, Ms. L.J. Nichols-Drew, Department of Chemistry

Metal objects feature in acquisitive and violent crimes that impact on individuals and society as a whole. In the UK, the most prevalent cause of violent death involves steel knives. Major crimes, including terrorism, frequently involve firearms, for which the evidence is generally a brass bullet casing.

The group lead by Professor of Physical Chemistry Rob Hillman has been involved in the development of new approaches to reveal latent (non-visible) fingermarks on both non-reactive metal surfaces, such as gold, platinum, stainless steel and lead, and reactive metals, such as copper, brass and bronze.

The new technologies use the residue left by a fingermark as a “template” and deposit either polymers or other metals on the bare metal surface, to yield a negative image of the fingerprint.

One of the technologies is the subject of a granted patent and is in the early stages of commercialization with Foster & Freeman, a UK-based international supplier of forensic instrumentation. Both methods have been presented at Home Office Academia and Industry workshops and are included as emerging technologies in the latest Home Office Fingermark Visualisation Manual, issued to all UK police forces and used widely internationally.

Best Public Engagement

The University is committed to informing and inspiring the public through research. Two-way engagement enables us to gain fresh perspectives and insights and helps define future research direction.

Our nominees in the Best Public Engagement category have all shared the joy and excitement of research discoveries in original and imaginative ways.

Winners

An Oral History of British Science and An Oral History of the Electricity Supply Industry in the UK
Researcher: Dr Sally Horrocks, School of History, Politics and International Studies

National Life Stories is an independent charitable trust within the Oral History Section of the British Library with a mission to record first-hand experiences of a wide cross-section of society, to preserve the recordings, to make them publicly available and encourage their use. Its recordings form a unique and invaluable record of life and work in Britain.

Lecturer in Modern British History Dr Sally Horrocks has been senior academic advisor to two National Life Stories projects: An Oral History of British Science (OHBS) and An Oral History of the Electricity Supply Industry in the UK (OHESI) since 2011.

Her expertise has helped to shape these projects, enabling OHBS to collect 114 audio interviews along with 33 interviews on science and religion and 19 video interviews shot on location. Comprising over 1,200 hours of material, this is the largest collection of life story interviews with scientists in Europe.

OHESI comprises 56 audio interviews, video interviews at 3 locations and over 530 hours of material. It is the only major collection dedicated to the industry worldwide.

Together these recordings are a unique addition to the national collection and represent a significant cultural asset, now and in the future.

Joe Orton: 50 Years On
Researcher: Dr Emma Parker, School of Arts

Born and raised in Leicester, Joe Orton (1933-1967) is one of the greatest playwrights of the twentieth century. He is central to the city’s cultural heritage and his archive forms part of the University Library’s Special Collections.

Working class and persecuted in an age when homosexuality was a crime, Orton satirised social and sexual inequality in a body of brave, ground-breaking work.

In 2014, Dr Emma Parker, Associate Professor of Post War and Contemporary Literature, published a 50th anniversary edition of Orton’s first stage play Entertaining Mr Sloane (Methuen Drama), which included previously unpublished archival material and a new critical introduction.

Since then, she has played a leading role in engaging the public with Orton’s extraordinary life and legacy.

Her research has inspired two exhibitions and informed new screenings and theatre productions of Orton’s plays in the UK and abroad. Her research has been featured in numerous newspapers, TV, radio and magazine articles, including BBC Radio 4’s ‘Loose Ends’ and ‘Today’ programme, The Guardian, Stonewall’s Friends magazine, and the Saatchi Gallery magazine Art & Music.

Nominees

An Oral History of British Science and An Oral History of the Electricity Supply Industry in the UK
Researcher: Dr Sally Horrocks, School of History, Politics and International Studies

National Life Stories is an independent charitable trust within the Oral History Section of the British Library with a mission to record first-hand experiences of a wide cross-section of society, to preserve the recordings, to make them publicly available and encourage their use. Its recordings form a unique and invaluable record of life and work in Britain.

Lecturer in Modern British History Dr Sally Horrocks has been senior academic advisor to two National Life Stories projects: An Oral History of British Science (OHBS) and An Oral History of the Electricity Supply Industry in the UK (OHESI) since 2011.

Her expertise has helped to shape these projects, enabling OHBS to collect 114 audio interviews along with 33 interviews on science and religion and 19 video interviews shot on location. Comprising over 1,200 hours of material, this is the largest collection of life story interviews with scientists in Europe.

OHESI comprises 56 audio interviews, video interviews at 3 locations and over 530 hours of material. It is the only major collection dedicated to the industry worldwide.

Together these recordings are a unique addition to the national collection and represent a significant cultural asset, now and in the future.

Joe Orton: 50 Years On
Researcher: Dr Emma Parker, School of Arts

Born and raised in Leicester, Joe Orton (1933-1967) is one of the greatest playwrights of the twentieth century. He is central to the city’s cultural heritage and his archive forms part of the University Library’s Special Collections.

Working class and persecuted in an age when homosexuality was a crime, Orton satirised social and sexual inequality in a body of brave, ground-breaking work.

In 2014, Dr Emma Parker, Associate Professor of Post War and Contemporary Literature, published a 50th anniversary edition of Orton’s first stage play Entertaining Mr Sloane (Methuen Drama), which included previously unpublished archival material and a new critical introduction.

Since then, she has played a leading role in engaging the public with Orton’s extraordinary life and legacy.

Her research has inspired two exhibitions and informed new screenings and theatre productions of Orton’s plays in the UK and abroad. Her research has been featured in numerous newspapers, TV, radio and magazine articles, including BBC Radio 4’s ‘Loose Ends’ and ‘Today’ programme, The Guardian, Stonewall’s Friends magazine, and the Saatchi Gallery magazine Art & Music.

VardyQuakes
Researchers: Dr Victoria Lane, Dr Debra Daly, Dr Stewart Fishwick

Leicester City FC’s fantastic Premiership-winning campaign of 15-16 sent shockwaves through the world of football and the ground itself. Researchers from the Department of Geology, SEIS-UK and the British Geological Survey deployed seismometers to capture the moments when the Earth moved for Leicester City… thanks to Jamie Vardy’s prolific goal-scoring season the seismic phenomenon now bears his name.

Whenever Leicester scored, the crowds at the King Power would surge to their feet, and trigger vibrations detectable kilometres away from the stadium. The discovery of the VardyQuakes was initially on seismometers deployed for a schools project; later on more sensitive instruments from SEIS-UK, deployed in the University, local schools and colleges. The discovery of these seismic events made headlines around the world.

VardyQuakes were the most read story on the BBC news website on the 8th March 2016. Media coverage in the UK (print, online and TV) had an equivalent marketing value of £1,076,303, and resulted in 396 recorded news articles, including the BBC news, ITV Central News, Sky Sports, the Guardian and the Telegraph. VardyQuakes also featured on the BBC’s The One Show. It had the potential for 67.4 million people to view the story on social media.

Best International Impact

Universities are global places, which welcome intellectual talent from around the world into a collective research environment. Our researchers are tackling international challenges, often with a focus on collaborative work which has benefits for developing countries.

Our nominees in the Best International Impact category are all addressing challenges overseas and are committed to making a difference in countries beyond the UK.

Winner

Raising awareness of and reducing the climate impact of land uses on peat soils
Researcher: Professor Susan Page, Department of Geography

Peatlands are globally important carbon stores, containing more carbon than the world’s vegetation. But, when drained for agriculture or other reasons, this stored carbon is released to the atmosphere as CO2 - a greenhouse gas. Globally, 15% of peatlands have been drained, mostly in Europe and SE Asia, and are responsible for 5% of global, human-derived CO2 emissions. Drainage also increases the risk of fire, with associated environmental, health and socio-economic costs, and of flooding, through the process of land subsidence. In SE Asia, peatlands are drained for conversion to plantations for palm oil and paper pulp, and also for smallholder agriculture.

Professor of Physical Geography Susan Page has, for the past 20 years, focused her research on peatland ecology and carbon dynamics, with a particular emphasis on the impacts of land-use change and fire on the carbon cycle of tropical peatlands. By developing engagement opportunities with external organizations and businesses, her expertise has been crucial to science-based approaches to peatland management that, when implemented, support the mitigation and management of peat carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.

The research has helped countries such as Indonesia calculate its carbon stores and emissions, informing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet international policy commitments.

Nominees

World Awareness for Children in Trauma (WACIT)
Researchers: Professor Panos Vostanis, Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, with Dr John Maltby, Dr Michelle O’Reilly, Dr Lisa Smith, Dr Dawn Watkins, Professor Elizabeth Anderson

In any society, about one in ten children and young people up to the age of 18 suffer from mental health problems. These rates can rise up to 40%, or higher, in the presence of trauma, for example among children raised in care or living in the streets. These children are also more likely to have different types of disability.

The WACIT programme has developed an evidence-based psychosocial model for vulnerable children in low and middle-income countries who experience extreme adversity, but have limited or no access to specialist resources. WACIT particularly operates in conflict zones and fragile states, with children living in slums, in orphanages, on the streets or as refugees. The programme involves partner centres (non-governmental organisations and Universities) from 12 countries so far, and a range of UK and international bodies such as the World Psychiatric Association.

WACIT is underpinned by more than 20 years of research to improve psychological outcomes for children in high-risk settings such as in care, juvenile, homeless and refugee.

To date, the programme has been attended by more than 500 practitioners and caregivers, and over 100 children. Recent activities include training refugee graduates in Uganda to support refugee children from several African countries; and, together with the Department of Criminology, e-learn CPD training to extend and sustain impact.

Raising awareness of and reducing the climate impact of land uses on peat soils
Researcher: Professor Susan Page, Department of Geography

Peatlands are globally important carbon stores, containing more carbon than the world’s vegetation. But, when drained for agriculture or other reasons, this stored carbon is released to the atmosphere as CO2 - a greenhouse gas. Globally, 15% of peatlands have been drained, mostly in Europe and SE Asia, and are responsible for 5% of global, human-derived CO2 emissions. Drainage also increases the risk of fire, with associated environmental, health and socio-economic costs, and of flooding, through the process of land subsidence. In SE Asia, peatlands are drained for conversion to plantations for palm oil and paper pulp, and also for smallholder agriculture.

Professor of Physical Geography Susan Page has, for the past 20 years, focused her research on peatland ecology and carbon dynamics, with a particular emphasis on the impacts of land-use change and fire on the carbon cycle of tropical peatlands. By developing engagement opportunities with external organizations and businesses, her expertise has been crucial to science-based approaches to peatland management that, when implemented, support the mitigation and management of peat carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.

The research has helped countries such as Indonesia calculate its carbon stores and emissions, informing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet international policy commitments.

EViDENCE Kits: Empowering Victims with DNA Evidence from Novel Collection and Examination Kits
Researchers: Dr Lisa Smith, Department of Criminology, Professor Mark Jobling, Dr Jon Wetton, Department of Genetics

Worldwide, sexual violence against women and girls is one of the most devastating consequences of gender inequality. Women are particularly vulnerable in many developing countries, regions experiencing conflict or disasters, and displaced communities. Despite the prevalence of sexual violence in these regions, a lack of trained police officers, medical professionals, and cultural barriers make recovery of forensic evidence almost impossible, and prosecutions extremely rare.

The discovery of DNA profiling in 1984 at the University of Leicester, by Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, revolutionised the way violent crime is investigated and prosecuted in developed countries. DNA evidence can be a particularly powerful way to identify perpetrators of sexual violence, however it is not currently accessible in developing countries.

Our research has led to the development of an innovative evidence examination kit (patent pending), which is designed to make the recovery of valuable DNA evidence from victims of sexual violence possible in the most difficult circumstances and remote regions in the world.

The ultimate measure of impact for this project will be the integration of DNA evidence into sexual violence investigations and prosecutions in regions where this has not been previously possible.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Our special award for Lifetime Achievement in Impact goes to Professor Anthony Gershlick, whose practice-changing research has made a significant contribution to the improvement of care for heart attack patients around the world.

Winner

Coronary Intervention to Optimise Outcomes following Heart Attacks
Researcher: Prof A H Gershlick

More than two million people worldwide suffer a heart attack each year. As recently as the 1970s, two thirds of heart attack victims aged 65 to 69 died. Yet over the past 40 years, survival rates have doubled, thanks to ground-breaking research and better health care.

The management of the acute heart attack has improved exponentially over the last 20 years and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Professor Tony Gershlick has played a key role in this improvement.

Honorary Professor of Interventional Cardiology, Tony undertook his first heart procedure in the mid-1980s and still remains active as a clinician. He has been involved in practice-changing research at Leicester for the past 28 years; conceiving, initiating and running four major national and international trials. The findings of this research have been incorporated into international guidelines which have changed the ways in which heart attack patients are treated.

Tony has been the UK lead for more than 10 other international trials and has attracted more than £3 million of research funding from bodies such as The British Heart Foundation, the National Institute for Health Research and the Medical Research Council.

His particular contributions to the research base have been in assessing the optimal combined use of clot-busting drugs and angioplasty and the development of drug-eluding stents.

Professor Gershlick has made significant contributions to the field at the national and international level, serving on the Department of Health Committee on primary angioplasty (NIAP) and numerous National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE) committees. He is currently a member of the Medical Research Council DPFS translational research panel.

In a career combining clinical practice and cutting-edge research, Professor Gershlick was the first surgeon in the UK to undertake clinical brachytherapy, the first to implant both drug-eluding and bio-absorbable stents and the first to treat a patient with stem cells from the leg muscle.

Tony’s drive for new knowledge to inform clinical practice continues. With colleagues, he was recently awarded a £1.5 million grant from the British Heart Foundation to further explore optimal revascularisation strategies for heart patients.

Special Award for outstanding impact

Our Special Award for Outstanding Impact goes to a project which needs little introduction. The research underpinning the identification of King Richard III has been the single most publicised event in the history of the University and has made Leicester a household name all over the world. This interdisciplinary project involved researchers whose expertise spans Archaeology, History, Genetics, Engineering and Forensic Pathology.

Winner

The discovery and identification of King Richard III
Researchers: Dr Jo Appleby, Dr Richard Buckley, Professor Sarah Hainsworth, Dr Turi King, Professor Bruno Morgan, Mathew Morris, Professor Guy Rutty, Professor Kevin Schurer

Richard III (1483-85) famously died at Bosworth, the last English monarch to die in battle. His corpse was taken to Leicester for public display and later buried in the church of the convent of the Friars Minor. However, the friary was dissolved in 1538 and subsequently demolished and, as a result, the location of Richard’s grave was lost. The Richard III Society asked the University of Leicester Archaeological Services to search the car park linked to his burial site for his remains. The rest, as they say, is history.

In September 2012, the announcement that human remains discovered under a Leicester car park could be those of King Richard III generated worldwide interest which grew to a frenzy when identification was confirmed in February 2013 and peaked again surrounding the subsequent reinterment of the King’s mortal remains. The impact arising from the inter-departmental and inter-disciplinary research related to the discovery and identification of King Richard has been multi-faceted and international in dimension.

The research underpinning the identification of Richard III has been the single most publicised event in the history of the University. The initial discovery, the identification announcement and the subsequent reinterment were all global news stories, the like of which have barely been seen within Higher Education before. A staggering 366 million people watched or listened to coverage of the reinterment worldwide and up to 200 million more read about it.

The discovery had direct economic benefits for the city and the region. In 2015, an independent report commissioned by the Leicester City Council estimated that £4.5 million was generated locally during the two weeks of the reinternment and that the discovery of Richard has added more than £60 million to Leicester’s economy. This figure continues to grow. In 2016, the first full year post-reinterment, the Richard III Visitor Centre received 70,000 visitors (45% of whom were from outside the region) and expects 90,000 in 2017. Equally, the Cathedral has witnessed visitor numbers rise year on year. This has in turn helped to boost local identities and sense of place and has helped to simulate other related local and regional heritage and tourism attractions and events. Leicester has become a national and international ‘place to visit’.

Schools and teachers nationwide have incorporated information relating to the discovery into their curriculum. The research has a direct impact on history teaching, but also on science and English literature. The Guiding Association introduced a specific Richard III award and various Examination Boards have integrated aspects of Richard’s discovery into curricula.

Since the discovery, there have been numerous evaluations of Richard III and his life. One example of this has been the numerous productions of Shakespeare’s Richard III, on television and on stage, which have been both performed and received in new light. Ralph Fiennes portrayal of Richard alongside Vanessa Redgrave at the Almeida theatre in 2016 featured a reconstruction of the archaeological site on stage. Further, Richard III has now brought scoliosis into the headlines and has served as a positive example of the achievements of sufferers from this condition, as well as the portrayal of disability in general.

Awards Night

Guestlist By invitation
Date Tuesday 27 June 2017
Venue Gilbert Murray Room, Stamford Court, University of Leicester, Manor Road, Oadby, Leicester LE2 2LH
Dress Code Smart
Timings Drinks Reception – 6:30pm
Dinner & Awards – from 7:30pm
Contact impactawards@leicester.ac.uk

#researchimpactawards

RT @ResearchMedia: We're very proud of our work with @uniofleicester on their inaugural #ResearchImpactAwards ://t.co/FLio4dYIVG

Talk_Leicester
17/10

We're very proud of our work with @uniofleicester on their inaugural #ResearchImpactAwards https://t.co/FLio4dYIVG https://t.co/IuWd80gNTz

Research Media
17/10