Public Engagement Prizes

Funding area: Prizes & Medals

Through encouraging those who engage the public with research, the RSE is supporting the ‎advancement of public discussion on significant matters. Rewarding those who are ‎exemplary at communicating and facilitating this engagement, is an important step in ‎enabling cultural change amongst research organizations, which is necessary to ensure that ‎the public receives the greatest benefit from Scotland’s pioneering research and innovation.‎

The Royal Society of Edinburgh launched the RSE Prizes for Public Engagement in 2011, with ‎the aim of recognising and rewarding the advancement of high-quality public engagement ‎with research. In 2011 and 2012, the prizes were supported by Edinburgh Beltane.‎ The prizes are now supported by the James Weir Foundation.

The deadline for nominations for the 2017 RSE Prizes for Public Engagement is 28 November 2016.

Fund deadline passed

This fund is currently closed for applications.

Previous Prize Winners


The 2016 RSE Prizes for Public Engagement supported by The James Weir Foundation are:-

Innovator’s Public Engagement Prize to Dr Helen Bridle, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, for her innovative and original contributions to public engagement as an ambassador for (young women) engineers and engineering through her work including delivering her “Ingenious!” outreach scheme to schools and her publication in “Lab on a Chip” which has led to increase public engagement activities across schools and science festivals.

Senior Public Engagement Prize to Professor Iain Stewart, Professor of Geosciences Communication, School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, for is exceptional and broad-ranging science engagement with the general public through the medium of broadcasting and with school pupils and teachers in the form of lectures and events, including the RSE’s @Lochaber programme of activities.


The 2015 RSE Prizes for Public Engagement supported by The James Weir Foundation are:-

Innovator’s Public Engagement Prize to Dr Mhairi Stewart, Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology, University of Glasgow, for her outstanding contribution to public engagement through her innovative practice of engaging through communities of interest by using creativity as a tool for engagement, particularly in creating art and science collaborative activities.

Senior Public Engagement Prize to Professor Martin Hendry MBE FRSE, Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, for his exceptional and sustained track record of science engagement with the general public, schools, societies and science festivals throughout the world and for the breadth of material presented.


Innovator’s Public Engagement Prize to Dr Kevin O’Dell, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, for his outstanding contribution to public engagement through his skills in both genetics and communication to engage young adults with the world of genetics, particularly through his Zombie Science shows.

Senior Public Engagement Prize to Professor Andrew Whiten FRSE FBA, Wardlaw Professor of Psychology and Professor of Evolutionary and Developmental Psychology, University of St Andrews, for his extensive, creative and unique forms of public engagement, particularly as founding Director of the “Living Links to Human Evolution” Research Centre at Edinburgh Zoo.


Nomination Forms and Guidance

The deadline for nominations for the 2017 RSE Prizes for Public Engagement is 28 November 2016.

To download the Nomination Form, please click here. Please ensure that you have read the Nomination Guidance before submitting a nomination.

A hard copy can be supplied on request.