School of History, Classics & Archaeology

Prof Devine awarded prize for public engagement

Professor Tom Devine OBE HonMRIA FBA FRSE, one of Scotland’s leading historians, has been awarded the RSE Beltane Senior Prize for Public Engagement 2012 while the University of Dundee’s Dr Nicola Stanley-Wall has been announced as the winner of the RSE Beltane Innovator’s Prize for Public Engagement 2012.

With these prestigious prizes the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Beltane aim to recognise and promote excellence in public engagement with research; fostering a culture in which researchers consider good communication an integral part of their work.

I am deeply honoured to be awarded this prestigious prize in the vital field of public engagement in which so much brilliant work is now being done in the universities to the huge intellectual and cultural benefit of Scottish society.
Prof Tom Devine

Professor Mary Bownes, Vice Principal of the University of Edinburgh and Chair of the Committee that selected this year’s winners, commented “The task of choosing the winners was once again extremely difficult; the candidates were of extremely high calibre and we could have easily given out several awards. We are delighted with the selection of Professor Devine, who is excellent at engaging the wider community with Scottish History, and Dr Stanley-Wall, whose innovative engagement activities in Molecular Microbiology exhibit potential for future developments.”

International engagement

Professor Tom Devine is currently Personal Senior Research Professor in History, University of Edinburgh. In previous roles, he has initiated projects of truly international ambition and significance, including founding and developing the AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies and the University of Edinburgh’s Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies.

Professor Devine is a regular contributor to the RSE’s events programme and delivered the 2011 RSE Annual Christmas lecture, which was webcast live around the world.

Dr Stanley-Wall is a lecturer in Molecular Microbiology at the University of Dundee where she also runs a highly successful research programme. She was recently elected to the RSE Young Academy. Examples of her work in public engagement include giving talks at secondary schools and helping to run the RSE Science Masterclasses at the University of Dundee. She is the co-ordinator of the two-day event “Magnificent Microbes” which will take place once again in 2012 at the Dundee Science Centre.

On winning the prize she commented “I am very proud and honoured to be awarded the RSE Beltane Innovator Prize for Public Engagement. Organising outreach activities is a very enjoyable part of my work. I am always excited to see the creativity my colleagues have when designing fun activities to explain their work and additionally gain a lot of satisfaction when the visitors and school children clearly benefit from the time and effort that has been exerted.”

The prizes, designed and crafted by Edinburgh-based artist Karen Akester, will be presented to the winners at an upcoming public event, details of which will be announced on the RSE website soon.