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Research excellence recognised

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On Monday 5th December, Bangor University held a new awards night focusing on research excellence within the University. The night was held at Pontio and shone a light on outstanding research done by teams and individuals.

The Awards were devised to celebrate the individual achievements of academic staff at different career points, including rising stars, a Doctoral student and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Awards celebrating an outstanding project or programmes within the Sciences and the Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences and for an International project were also presented. Professor John G Hughes, Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University said: “Research is an integral part of our teaching and a passion of our staff. Our research is having a major impact on people’s lives, both locally and globally. These Awards are a fantastic opportunity for us to recognise and highlight the world-leading research that we have here.”

Professor John Simpson of the School of Ocean Sciences won the Universities first Lifetime Achievement Award for his career that has spanned over half a century with the University. His work has consistently influenced the field of physical oceanography and has helped establish Bangor University as a global leader in marine turbulence. Prof Simpson said: “I feel very proud on receiving this award, not just for myself, but for all those colleagues and students who have worked with me over the years to raise our game and put the Bangor School of Ocean Sciences high in the world league of Oceanography Centres.”

The inaugural Research Excellence in Science Award was presented to Dr Charles Bishop of the School of Biological Sciences. Dr Bishop has led international research groups researching exactly how birds manage amazing flights through thin air or over vast oceans. Dr Bishop’s research has focussed on bar-headed geese, whose migration pattern takes them across the Himalayas, and on the great frigatebird, which stays aloft for weeks at a time by using air currents above the Indian Ocean. Dr Bishop said: “I am delighted that our work on how different environmental conditions can affect bird flight and migration has been acknowledged with this award for research excellence from Bangor University. I would like to thank all those people who have contributed over the years, both at home and abroad, and look forward to participating in future research discoveries.”

Other awards including The Arts & Humanities Award was won by Professor Carol Tully for her work on European Travellers to Wales 1750-2010, The International Research Excellence Award went to Professor Peter Golyshin, School of Biological Sciences for his work to search extreme marine environments to find new microbes which could be used in biotechnology. This successful project paved the way to another major EU funded project, currently under way.

The Rising Star Award was given to Dr. James McDonald of the School of Biological Sciences which celebrates academic achievements in the early stages of a researchers career, who is showing promise for the future. Dr McDonald said: “I am delighted to receive the Rising Star Award and would like to thank my research team, colleagues and collaborators, for making Bangor University such a supportive and collegiate environment where early stage researchers can thrive.”

Finally, The Doctoral student research Excellence Award was presented to Dr Claire Szostek, School of the School of Ocean Sciences for her work with English Channel fishermen to understand sustainable levels of fishing in the scallop fishery. Claire spent a considerable time meeting fishermen and on board commercial scallop fishing vessels. Among other outputs, her work has resulted in the first ever quantitative map of the distribution of inshore scallop fishing efforts across the English Channel. Dr Szostek said: “I feel extremely proud to receive this award and very privileged to have had the opportunity to take on this project, which has provided a hugely diverse range of challenges and opportunities.“ Professor Jo Rycroft-Malone, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research & Impact gave a view of the overall night: “The finalists at this inaugural event are testimony that research at Bangor University is vibrant and thriving. It’s a delight to reward and value our very best researchers and to inspire others.”

Following the inaugural Research Excellence Awards, these new Awards will be held on alternate years with the University’s Impact & Innovation Awards.

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