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Research Strategy Office


2020 Vice Chancellor's Award winners


Dr Duncan Astle, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, School of Clinical Medicine 

Established Academic Award

Breaking barriers to learning in the classroom

Between 14-30% of children and adolescents worldwide experience cognitive and behavioural barriers to learning that vary widely in scope and impact (Department for Education, 2019; National Centre for Education Statistics, 2019). There is a growing appetite for robust evidence that can equip teachers in helping young people overcome these barriers. For the past 8 years, in partnership with children’s charities, local education authorities, academy chains, and local schools, I have undertaken an extensive engagement programme to provide front-line professionals with a robust evidence base to help them make impactful changes in young people’s learning.

Chioma Achi, Veterinary Medicine, School of Biological Sciences

Early Career Researcher Award

Strengthening participation of poultry farmers in the fight against antimicrobial resistance

My project is about leaving no one behind and engaging farmers in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. The World Health Organisation estimates 10million deaths from Antimicrobial-Resistance (AMR) by year 2050. While interacting with farmers in Nigeria during my fieldwork, I gathered that awareness around resistance to antimicrobials and its impact on animal and human health was low; this was evident in number of resistant bacteria that I got from my lab analysis. Burdened by the fact that the world is running out of effective antibiotics and the knowledge that AMR is no respecter of geographical boundaries, I knew inaction was no option. This led me to organising a statewide engagement-program on AMR bringing together stakeholders in Nigeria.


Rosalyn Wade, Museum of Zoology, School of Biological Sciences

Professional Services Award

Learning and Public Programme of the Museum of Zoology: blending contemporary zoological research with active and online learning experiences for public audiences

Roz Wade leads the learning and public programme of the Museum of Zoology, showcasing the Museum, and research and activities from the Department of Zoology and Cambridge Conservation Initiative through events, workshops, and collaborative projects. The lockdown and closure of the Museum necessitated a new way of working. Roz was the driving force behind the reimagined online public programme. She designed and released a new blog only 3 weeks after lockdown and developed an innovative online festival (Zoology Live!) to engage audiences with the Museum and the natural world, providing new platforms for researchers to engage audiences with their work.


Dr Michael Weekes and Dr Steven Baker, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research / Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease, School of Clinical Medicine

Collaboration Award

A comprehensive COVID-19 screening programme for Cambridge University Hospitals healthcare workers, Cambridge University staff and students

Mike Weekes and Stephen Baker collaborated to establish a comprehensive rapid turn-around COVID-19 testing platform. This setup was developed quickly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as insufficient national capacity existed to test Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) staff. Of >1,000 staff members screened at work during April 2020, 3% tested positive for COVID-19, triggering the immediate isolation of staff and screening of their contacts, limiting viral transmission around CUH. Baker/Weekes expanded their screening programme, preventing CUH becoming a ‘hub’ of COVID-19 transmission, making CUH a safe working environment and enabling testing of symptomatic staff and students from Cambridge University.

Dr Michael Ramage and team, Department of Architecture, School of Arts and Humanities

Online and Remote Engagement Award

The HappyShield project has developed, tested, and disseminated novel open-source medical face shield

designed in response to the severe personal protective equipment shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, focussing in particular on production in Low and Middle Income Countries. Responding to the diverse needs and manufacturing capabilities of LMIC contexts, and to enable rapid co-creation by a global team of specialists, the project has been digital, online, and open-source from inception. The HappyShield project is bringing together a growing community of DIY makers, established manufacturers, medical professionals, and academics to tackle an urgent global challenge through collaborative design.