Values-led research recognised

Teams behind two projects promoting positive change have been honoured for their outstanding efforts.

Winners of our inaugural Research Culture and Engaged for Impact Awards were announced during a special ceremony held on campus in July.

An impressive number of applications highlighted the broad spectrum of world-changing research at Leeds, together with the significant improvements being made to our research culture, which have been enabled by a wide range of colleagues. External peer reviewers commented on the high calibre of submissions across the board.

Among those projects celebrating success were the winners of the ‘Making a Positive Difference to Society’ and ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Research’ accolades.

Effective legal protection

The ‘Making a Positive Difference to Society’ award recognises engagement that leads, or may lead, to positive changes to society. It also includes engagement that prevents harm for groups within society. 

Working with policymakers and LGBTIQ+ organisations, the winning project aims to lead to effective legal protection of LGBTIQ+ persons from the harms of ‘conversion therapy’. This is the pseudoscientific practice of attempting to change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression to align with heterosexual and cisgender norms.

There is incontrovertible evidence from the country’s most eminent medical bodies and organisations, including the NHS, that all forms of ‘conversion therapy’ can cause grave, lifelong harm.

Dr Ilias Trispiotis, Associate Professor in the School of Law and project lead, said: “The ‘Making a Positive Difference to Society’ award encapsulates the core aim of our project. 

“Banning ‘conversion therapy’ is a vital step towards the eradication of an abusive and deeply inegalitarian practice. The practical power of a ban is as important as its great expressive and dignitary power for the victims and survivors of ‘conversion therapy’, and for LGBTIQ+ communities all over the world. 

“Our team is delighted to be recognised for this ongoing work.” 

Other team members included Craig Purshouse and Elliot Ross.

Research Culture and Engaged for Impact Awards 2022 winners' profiles. September 2022

Professor Nick Plant, Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation (left), and Chancellor, Professor Dame Jane Francis (right), present the ‘Making a Positive Difference to Society’ accolade to Dr Ilias Trispiotis on behalf of the winning team

Belonging and strength through diversity

The ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Research’ award recognises initiatives that make positive changes to embed a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion in research.

The winning project championed recruitment for diversity on the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) Data Scientist Development Programme. This springboard programme creates capacity-building opportunities to develop graduates into effective data scientists. 

In 2021, the programme led a collaboration between a funder and senior HR, EDI and legal colleagues to evidence and approve its first positive action (PA) case for under-represented black minorities. This resulted in a record-breaking 33% conversion of black applicants to data scientists, in comparison with a figure of only 12% for BAME employees within the whole of LIDA. Acting as a ‘test case’, the programme demonstrates the importance of PA as a means to diversity and quality appointments within LIDA and the wider University.

Kylie Norman, Senior Operations Coordinator in the Centre for Spatial Analysis and Policy is the programme coordinator. She said: “This award goes to the heart of the values we’ve worked hard to foster on LIDA’s flagship Data Scientist Development Programme, by creating a research culture of belonging and strength through diversity. 

“Increasing opportunities for diversity in collaborative research leads to greater inclusivity and ultimately better, more representative data science for public good. LIDA is thrilled the programme, and its data scientists, have been recognised for their values-led work.”

Other team members included Dom Frankis, Dr Michelle Morris and Professor Nick Malleson.

Research Culture and Engaged for Impact Awards 2022 winners' profiles. September 2022

Professor Nick Plant, Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation (left), and Chancellor, Professor Dame Jane Francis (right), present the ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Research’ accolade to winning team members

Courageous initiatives

At the heart of the University’s 10-year strategy is the commitment to recognise the value of everyone involved in delivering research, focusing not only on individual academic achievement but also on teamwork. All members of our research community have a role to play in developing and promoting a positive and inclusive research culture, as well as contributing to the impact our research makes locally, nationally and internationally. 

Professor Cat Davies, Dean for Research Culture, said: “These awards celebrate colleagues who are working to make our research culture more collaborative, inclusive, open, supportive and sustainable. 

“The applications we received involved a total of 162 people, covering 16 schools/services, five faculties and nine centres and institutes, demonstrating some truly courageous initiatives to achieve better ways of working. 

“I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to engage in these projects, and for submitting applications at a time of significant workload. It’s also been a chance for us to share our activities with colleagues outside of the University, as our external reviewer panel lent their time and expertise in assessing an inspirational field of applications.”

Dr Alexa Ruppertsberg, Head of Public Engagement with Research, said: “Without the collaborative effort of our working group that developed these awards for almost a year, and without the generosity of our external reviewer panel, we would not be able to celebrate the fantastic engaged research for impact practice at the University. Everybody who submitted an application should be proud of their work!”

Wonderful community

As part of our Fairer future for all initiative, we promised to do more to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our wonderful community of colleagues. 

During the coming months, our new campaign – Further Together – will showcase the achievements of many of those involved in delivering our transformational, fundamental and challenge-led research. 

We hope Further Together will inspire our entire community to get involved in helping transform lives and make a real difference across the globe, and these awards signify the start of that campaign.

Further information

In-depth profiles of each of the Research Culture and Engaged for Impact Awards winners are available to read on the For Staff website.

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