The Royal Society of Edinburgh has announced the 2021 recipients of the RSE Innovator’s Public Engagement Medal and RSE Senior Public Engagement Medal, supported by the James Weir Foundation. These medals recognise individuals who are exemplary at communicating, facilitating engagement, and advancing public discussion on significant matters.

RSE Innovator’s Public Engagement Medal:

Victoria Armstrong
Post Graduate Researcher in Psychology 2018-2022, University of Dundee

A woman smiling for the camera
Victoria Armstrong, Post Graduate Researcher in Psychology 2018-2022, University of Dundee

Vicky Armstrong – University of Dundee student and founder of local children’s art project, Art at the Start – won the RSE Innovator’s Prize for Public Engagement for her work using art to help local young children and parents with their relationships. She worked for ten years as an art psychotherapist in clinical settings working with children who were fostered following neglect and abuse in their early years and saw a need for early age support for children to develop attachments. Finding her own solution, she successfully started art therapy groups for parents and infants in the Angus area who were struggling in their relationship, and her art for good journey just took off from there! By distributing Art Boxes during lockdown Vicky supported by her co-founder Dr Josephine Ross has provided art materials to families and children with a variety of actives to create and play with together.

RSE Senior Public Engagement Medal:

Professor Alexander Murphy FRSE
Professor of Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics, The University of Edinburgh

A man standing next to a body of water

The RSE Senior Public Engagement medal winner is Professor Alexander Murphy. He has a long-standing and sustained track record of outstanding contributions to science’s public engagement (especially in particle physics and searches for dark matter). Through his public engagement activities, he has reached diverse audiences in Scotland, the UK, and internationally. Alexander has spearheaded innovative public engagement initiatives, including the Remote3 project, which delivered a virtual space night for the Muslim Scout Fellowship to complete the Scout Astronautics Activity badge. He continues to be a tireless ambassador for physics through science festivals and contributions to media outlets.

“The Royal Society of Edinburgh’s public engagement medals celebrate the impact of research, and the activities that have helped local, regional and international audiences engage with significant issues in all our lives. I send my heartiest congratulations to both our medallists, whose achievements have been quite remarkable. They responded to the major challenges of the ongoing pandemic through remarkable, innovative engagement, both with collaborative partners and with the wider community.”

Professor Jeremy Smith FRSE Co-Chair of the Public Engagement Advisory Group, Royal Society of Edinburgh