The University of Southampton

ORC group recognised in awards ceremony

Published: 8 December 2017
Dominic Galliano (right), SEPnet Director of Outreach and Public Engagement, presenting certificate to members of the University’s highly commended research group (left-right: Paul Gow, Senta Scholl, Alexander Jantzen, James Gates, Matthew Posner

Professor Peter Smith's Optical Engineering and Quantum Photonics Group was recognised at the recent South East Physics Network (SEPnet) Public Engagement Awards as a Highly Commended Group in the new award category for Best Research Group.

This is the third SEPnet public engagement awards ceremony, which takes place every two years and recognises the best Public Engagement with Research projects and practitioners within SEPnet across the region.

Professor Peter Smith commented: “I am very proud that the efforts of the individuals in my research group have received this prestigious recognition. They continually surprise me by their energy, inventiveness and the self-less donation of their time. The work they do is essential in raising the profile of photonics research, and in publicising the applications of photonics with audiences as diverse as school students, policy makers, professionals from industry and members of the public.”

The awards are presented for six categories judged by a panel of Public Engagement experts from outside the SEPnet region, and representatives from the IOP and RAS Outreach & Public Engagement teams. This year the panel was extremely impressed with the standard of nominations.

Pearl John, SEPnet Outreach Officer and Public Engagement Leader at the University of Southampton, said “Peter Smith is to be congratulated for leading by example and being supportive of his researchers working with the public. As a result of their Public Engagement there is a strong sense of community in the group and they have great communication skills– it’s no surprise to me that many of Peter’s PhD researchers stay on to complete outstanding Post-Doctoral research.”

In 2015 the “Reflecting Photonics” garden, an EPSRC-funded public engagement project run through the ORC’s Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Photonics, won the SEPNet Most Innovative Public Engagement Project at the Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show Tattoo Park.

Another University of Southampton postgraduate student researcher, Emma Osborne, won the Newcomer Award for her initiatives in engaging a wide range of audiences on her research in neutron stars and gravitational waves.

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