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Competition Judges

The Engage Competition 2016 is now closed for entries. Our awards ceremony took place on 29th November 2016 in Bristol as part of the Engage Conference. Find out more about our finalists and award winners.

Meet the judges who have formed our six Engage Competition category panels...

Clare WilkinsonClare Wilkinson

Associate Professor in Science Communication, UWE Bristol

Since her arrival at the UWE Science Communication Unit in 2006, Clare has worked as a principle and co-investigator on a number of projects running within the Unit. These include Meet the Gene Machine (funded by the Wellcome Trust), Talking Robots (funded by the ESRC) and Negotiated Boundaries (funded by the British Academy). Her research interests span the relationship between science and society, media representations of science and public engagement. Clare leads the UWE Department of Applied Sciences Athena Swan Award Working Group. Clare has published in journals including PLOS ONE, Public Understanding of Science, Science Communication, Qualitative Health Research and Health, Risk and Society. In 2016, she co-authored the book Creative Research Communication: Theory and Practice, with Emma Weitkamp, for Manchester University Press.

Erinma OchuErinma Ochu

Lecturer in Science Communication & Future Media, University of Salford

I'm a digital creative and lecturer in Science Communication and Future Media at The University of Salford. As Creative Director of Squirrel Nation I curate memorable concepts from award winning pop up urban farming system, FarmLab, to gallery piece, Nature's Switch commissioned by Wellcome Collection. My endeavours combine creativity, nature and social justice, thanks to an sci-art fellowship from NESTA (2001-2003) and a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowship (2013-2015). I am a critical friend to arts agency, Creative Scenein North Yorkshire, an Arts Council England initiative to make the arts part of everyday life. I am a Trustee of Manchester Histories, Deputy Chair of BBSRC Bioscience in Society panel, Advisory Board Member of MSI, Advisory member of European Citizen Science project, Doing It Together Science & The Centre for Healthy Aging, Copenhagen.

Imran KhanImran Khan

Head of Public Engagement, Wellcome Trust

Imran is Head of Public Engagement at the Wellcome Trust, leading the Engaging Science team and developing Wellcome’s public engagement strategy. He used to be CEO at the British Science Association, and Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering before that. He’s also a Council Member at NERC, a trustee of Practical Action, and generally a big fan of more interaction between research and the rest of society.

Jenni ChambersJenni Chambers

Head of Public Engagement with Research, Research Councils UK

Jenni has worked in higher education policy since 2008 when she joined HEFCE as Policy Advisor specialising in public engagement. In her seven years with HEFCE she worked on various aspects of research and knowledge exchange policy, including aspects of HEIF (the Higher Education Innovation Fund) and led on public and community engagement. In June 2015 Jenni joined RCUK as Head of Public Engagement with Research, working with the HE sector through programmes such as RCUK PER Catalyst Seed Fund and RCUK Schools University Partnership Initiative to encourage better support for researchers engaging the public.

Jessica McGurkJessica McGurk

Head of Visitor Experience & Learning

Jess is currently Head of Visitor Experience and Learning for the National Trust. Jess leads and develops the professional community of learning & visitor experience staff across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Visitor Experience in the National Trust is fundamentally about public engagement; it is about understanding people’s needs and motivations, and responding to them through the learning, interpretation, public program and activities available at our places. Prior to her current role, Jess was Director of Visitor Experience for York Minster, having previous held a variety of visitor experience, learning & interpretation roles across the South West and Merseyside for the National Trust.

Jo Heaton-MarriottJo Heaton-Marriott

Deputy Director of Marketing and Head of Communications & Engagement, University of Central Lancashire

Jo Heaton-Marriott is Deputy Director of Marketing and Head of Communications and Engagement at the University of Central Lancashire. Jo became interested in public engagement in primary school, when a letter she wrote to a local TV show resulted in an environmental campaign to clean up a local stream. This early piece of science communication sparked a love of microbiology, which she studied at Lancaster University, completing her doctoral thesis on the microbial contamination of irrigation water (spot the theme?). At the University of Central Lancashire she developed a programme of public engagement, including establishing the successful Lancashire Science Festival, which engages over 10,000 people annually. Jo now manages external engagement and corporate communications, with responsibility for the press office, internal communications and a wide-range of stakeholder events.

Karen BrookfieldKaren Brookfield

Deputy Director (Strategy), The Heritage Lottery Fund

Karen leads a team of professionals developing HLF's strategy, grant-giving practice, special initiatives, research and advocacy for heritage. She was Programme Director for All our Stories -  a £5million community-heritage programme, supported by universities across the UK in partnership with AHRC – and is currently Programme Director for HLF’s activity to mark the Centenary of the First World War. Karen was a member of the Research team for the Connected Communities co-design project ‘How should decisions about heritage be made?’ and is committed to engaging people with our shared heritage in all its forms.

Kate MillerKate Miller

Acting Head of Public Engagement, University of Bristol

Kate leads the Public Engagement team at the University of Bristol and is responsible for directing its programme of activities to support interaction and collaboration with society beyond academia.  This includes coordinating the Engaged University Steering Group which oversees the strategy and priorities for engagement, and working with colleagues across the University to embed engagement in structures and processes.  As well as brokering partnerships with external organisations, she works with staff and students wishing to engage non-academic audiences, and to articulate engagement as part of the impact agenda.  She is also working with colleagues on embedding engaged learning in the student curriculum.

Katrina NilssonKatrina Nilsson

Head of National Public Programmes, The Natural History Museum

As Head of National Public Programmes at The Natural History Museum, Kat Nilsson has created a new national strategy to engage audiences UK wide. She went from botanist to comedian in the early 90’s when she began writing science shows, ever since she has driven innovation in zeitgeist-hitting live programmes, exhibitions, digital experiences. While at the Science Museum she re-imagined the science news gallery and pioneered the Dana Centre’s audience-led and forged an exemplary cross-disciplinary programme on contemporary science.

Kim AumannKim Aumann

Visiting Fellow, School of Health Sciences, University of Brighton

Kim Aumann has worked as a community worker, parent support practitioner and manager of third sector organizations. Previously the co-founder and Director of the award winning charity Amaze (, Kim continues to work with parents of children with disabilities and special educational needs, providing a consultancy and training service for the organisation. She has partnered with academics from diverse disciplines (Graphic Design, Geography, Arts, Business Marketing, Environment & Technology, Health and Social Sciences), facilitated communities of practice to bring knowledge sets together, co-created a community interest company with an academic partner to pursue resilience research and practice (, and linked with public engagement organisations and community partners to offer a support hub via the UK Community Partner Network. Kim is a Visiting Fellow with the School of Health Sciences at the University of Brighton and has published on themes of community-university partnership working, parent support and the resilience approach.

Marek KukulaMarek Kukula

Public Astronomer, Royal Observatory Greenwich

Marek completed his doctorate in Radio Astronomy at Jodrell Bank Observatory then carried out postdoctoral research into quasars and galaxy evolution - work that included stints at the Space Telescope Science Institute, home of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, and an Advanced Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh. He subsequently worked for the University of Edinburgh’s Office of Lifelong Learning as Course Organiser for Science, Archaeology and Computing, and as Project Manager for Researchers in Residence, a UK-wide schools engagement scheme. As Public Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, his role is to ensure that the Observatory's exhibitions and public programmes reflect the latest astronomical research and to engage with the public and media. He currently chairs the assessment panel for STFC’s Small Awards for Public Engagement and is the author of The Intimate Universe and co-author of The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who, both published in 2015.

Marie-Claude DupuisMarie-Claude Dupuis

Public Engagement Manager, The Royal Society

Marie-Claude Dupuis is the Public Engagement Manager at the Royal Society, looking after a diverse portfolio of activities such as the Summer Science Exhibition, two book prizes, a programme of public events and a scheme supporting researchers to do public engagement. Previously, she was the Education Outreach Manager at the Royal Society and she also worked in education policy for the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME).

Paul MannersPaul Manners

Director, NCCPE

Paul is responsible for the strategic direction of the NCCPE. Originally trained as a secondary English teacher, he worked for twelve years at the Open University as a producer of TV, radio and multimedia before joining the BBC as an executive producer of a number of national public engagement campaigns. He advises a number of national organisations on learning and engagement, including the National Trust and the Science Museum.

Philip PothenPhilip Pothen

Associate Director of Communications, De Montfort University

Philip Pothen is the Associate Director of Communications at De Montfort University. Prior to this, Philip was Head of Communications and Public Engagement at the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) where he initiated a range of public engagement initiatives, including Research for Community Heritage (in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund) and academic involvement in the BBC’s flagship centenary programme World War One at Home. Philip has worked in higher education since 1993 in a variety of roles including librarian, academic, researcher and, for the last 15 years, communications specialist.   

Richard HollimanRick Holliman

Professor of Engaged Research, Open University

Dr. Richard Holliman is Professor of Engaged Research in the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at the Open University, UK. Through his teaching and engaged research he explores relationships between academic researchers and non-academic stakeholders. He is particularly interested in the interplay between digital technologies and different forms of knowledge and expertise, and how the practises of engagement shape and frame contemporary research. When he is not assessing applications to the NCCPE’s Engage Competition, Richard leads the Open University's RCUK-funded School-University Partnership, 'Engaging opportunities', working with the Denbigh Teaching School Alliance in Milton Keynes. He is also a member of STFC’s Advisory Panel on Public Engagement. His publications are listed at:

Richard Marggraf TurleyRichard Marggraf Turley

Professor of Engagement with the Public Imagination, Aberystwyth University

Richard Marggraf Turley is Professor of Engagement with the Public Imagination at Aberystwyth University. He teaches in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth, and is author of several books on the Romantic poets, including Keats’s Boyish Imagination (2004) and Bright Stars (2009). His creative work includes the poetry collection Wan-Hu’s Flying Chair (2009) and a novel set in the Romantic period, The Cunning House (2015). His own public engagement ranges from projects on Shakespeare and plant science to Romantic landscapes and biometrics. He blogs at Follow him on Twitter @RMarggrafTurley.

Simon DenegriSimon Denegri

National Director for Patients and the Public in Research, NIHR

Simon Denegri is National Director for Patients and the Public in Research at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and Chair of INVOLVE – the national advisory group for the promotion and support of public involvement in research funded by NIHR. He was Chief Executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) from 2006 until 2011 and, prior to this, Director of Corporate Communications at the Royal College of Physicians from 2003.  He worked in corporate communications for Procter & Gamble in the U.S. from 1997 to 2000.  He has a long-standing interest in the needs and priorities of people with dementia and their carers.  He is a member of the NIHR Advisory and Strategy Boards, a Board member of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC), Farr Institute and programme.  He blogs about the public and health research at

Sophie DuncanSophie Duncan

Deputy Director, NCCPE

Sophie is has worked in public engagement for over 15 years. She is currently the deputy director of the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, a role that includes overseeing NCCPE projects and communications. Originally trained as a physicist she started her career at the Science Museum in London where she was involved in exhibition design and public events. She then became programme manager with Science Year – a government initiative to promote science to teenagers. Following this, Sophie spent 7 years working at the BBC – managing the creation and delivery of national learning campaigns including People’s War. She is passionate about engaging with the public, and committed to finding more effective ways to support public involvement in higher education.

Steve CrossSteve Cross

Consultant and Wellcome Engagement Fellow

Steve is 50% Wellcome Engagement Fellow, 50% public engagement strategist, consultant and trainer and 50% stand-up comedian. For seven years he was Head of Public Engagement at UCL and ran the London Beacon for Public Engagement. He founded Bright Club and is the person behind Science Showoff. He now works with universities, cultural organisations, museums and performers across Europe to develop new models of public engagement and support researchers starting out in this vital area. The worst version of Steve can be heard every week on the Masterpiece Bookshelf podcast. The best can be hired at very reasonable rates to support your organisation. See for more details.

Steven HillSteven Hill

Head of Research and Health Policy, HEFCE

Steven Hill is Head of Research and Health Policy at the Higher Education Funding Council for England. At HEFCE Steven is responsible for research funding and assessment, open research, public engagement and impact. He also leads on policy relating to education in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, midwifery and other allied health professions. Prior to joining HEFCE Steven was Head of the Strategy Unit at Research Councils UK, and had several roles in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, working on evidence-based policy making. Earlier in his career Steven was a university lecturer at the University of Oxford where his research focused on plant biology.