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2015 Max Perutz Science Writing Award shortlist announced

22 Sep 2015

Fourteen outstanding articles have been shortlisted for this year’s Max Perutz Science Writing Award, the MRC’s annual writing competition.

The winner, who will receive a £1,500 prize, will be announced at the awards ceremony on 22 October at the Royal Institution, London. Their article will also be promoted on the BBC News website. The runner-up and highly commended writers will also be announced by competition judge Donald Brydon, MRC Chairman.

The judging panel also included:

  • Caroline Parkinson, Assistant Editor, Specialist Journalism, BBC News
  • Dr Ruth McKernan, CEO, Innovate UK and MRC Council member
  • Vivienne Parry OBE, science journalist and MRC Council member
  • Professor Sue Gathercole, Director, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit
  • 2014 Max Perutz Award winner, Christoffer van Tulleken, University College London.

The Max Perutz Award asks MRC-funded PhD students to write up to 800 words about their research and why it matters in a way that would interest a non-scientific audience.

The entries were of a very high standard, which made the shortlisting a very difficult task. Many congratulations to the following exceptional writers:

  • Clara Humpston, Cardiff University: “Reconstructing Schizophrenia: Understanding the Unimaginable”
  • Evelyn Barron, Newcastle University: “Quantity or quality of life?”
  • Stephanie Shoop, University of Manchester: “Remission.”
  • Elka Humphrys, University of Cambridge: “’It’s not fair’: a tale of two cancers”
  • Helen Devine, MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases: “An Ode to the Androgen Receptor”
  • Alex Binks, University of Glasgow: “Espionage, martinis and explosions: How reprogramming viruses can help us fight cancer”
  • Thomas Crellen, Imperial College London: “Beneath the lake’s surface”
  • Carolyn Nielsen, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine: “A viral spanner in the works”
  • Vicky Stern, University of Sheffield: “The Problem of Prematurity”
  • Anna Moon, Cardiff University: “How WWII Can Help Us Understand Schizophrenia”
  • Daniel Yin, University of Oxford: “The War on the War on the War on Bacteria”
  • Dan Craig, University of Birmingham: “Fighting flesh poverty: an apple a day?”
  • Emily Eisner, University of Manchester: “Premonitions of Psychosis”
  • Barry Bentley, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology: “The Worm Wide Web: mapping the networks of the brain”

Well done to all of the shortlisted entrants and thank you to everyone who took part this year.

The MRC Max Perutz Award is now in its 18th year and encourages MRC-funded researchers to communicate their work to a wider audience. Since the competition started in 1998, hundreds of researchers have submitted entries and taken their first steps in science communication.

The award is named in honour of one of the UK’s most outstanding scientists and communicators, Dr Max Perutz. Max, who died in 2002, was awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work using X-ray crystallography to study the structures of globular proteins. He was the founder and first chairman of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, the lab which unravelled the structure of DNA. Max was also a keen and talented communicator who inspired countless students to use everyday language to share their research with the people whose lives are improved by their work.


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