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2016 Max Perutz Science Writing Award shortlist announced

12 Sep 2016

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 13 October at the Royal Institution, London. The winner, runner-up and highly commended writers will be announced by competition judge Donald Brydon, MRC Chairman.

We are pleased to announce that this year’s judging panel also includes:

  • Dr Ruth McKernan, CEO, Innovate UK and MRC Council member (until 30 September)
  • Professor Uta Frith, Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development at UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Vivienne Parry OBE, science journalist
  • Dr Christoffer van Tulleken, PhD student at UCL, science presenter and 2014 Max Perutz Award winner

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.

We received more than 100 entries of a very high standard this year, which made the shortlisting a challenging task. Thank you to everyone who took part and many congratulations to the following exceptional writers:

  • Holly Wilkinson, University of Manchester: “Testing the “Metal” of Chronic Wounds”
  • Liza Selley, Imperial College London: “Braking perceptions of traffic pollution”
  • Charlotte Spicer, MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases: “The bigger picture”
  • Katie Ember, University of Edinburgh: “Cholangiocarcinoma: The Cancer You’ve Never Heard Of”
  • Ainslie Johnstone, University of Oxford: “Practice – Not Miracles – Makes Perfect”
  • David Allsop, University of Dundee: “Chewing the fat – new approaches to Tackle the Obesity Crisis”
  • Thomas Crowley, University of Birmingham: “Joints remember, for better or for worse”
  • Victoria Allan, The Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research: “Preventing a heart that goes ba-boom, ba-, ba-, ba- , -boom, ba-boom”
  • Paul Cowling, University of Edinburgh: “Shedding Some Real Light on Lung Cancer”
  • Alexandra Hendry, King’s College London: “Risk, resilience and Peppa Pig: How studying toddlers at risk for autism could help us understand how to improve their future”
  • Martin Holding, MRC Institute of Hearing Research: “The Sound of Silence”
  • Victoria Min-Yi Wang, The Francis Crick Institute: “Not all cancer cells are equal”
  • Katie Walwyn-Brown, University of Manchester: “Emergency service”
  • Edie Crosse, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine: “Back to blood’s beginning: searching for the cure for leukaemia”

The MRC Max Perutz Award is now in its 19th 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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