Professor Gary Lock wins University Public Engagement Award for Citizen Science project

Date: 29/06/2017

A project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council has won an award in the University of Oxford Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Awards, which celebrate public engagement work across the University.

Professor Gary Lock

Professor Gary Lock

Gary Lock is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at Oxford University and has taught prehistoric archaeology for many years. He is primarily interested in Iron Age hillforts, and their wider landscape context.

The announcement was made at an awards ceremony at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on 28 June hosted by Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson. The winning project, run by Professor Gary Lock, was recognised in the Collaboration Project Award category - for research projects that have involved collaborating with the public, including co-creation, co-production of knowledge and citizen science.

The award-winning project The Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland gathered existing data on hillforts across the UK together with new information to create an Atlas website for the benefit of a wide range of audiences.

Citizen scientists were recruited as volunteers to collect data by visiting and surveying hillforts. A detailed survey form was provided together with guidance notes and over 60 talks and training sessions were delivered to support these activities. Around 400 people were actively involved with many more attending the conferences, talks and training days.

The resulting Atlas is a complex database of c120 fields which records over 4,100 sites linked to mapping and satellite images. The data provides new insights into these monuments based on patterns and relationships that have never been possible before at this scale.

The Vice-Chancellor's Public Engagement with Research Awards recognise and reward those at the University who undertake high-quality engagement activities and have contributed to building capacity in this area. The Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland was one of six winners in the Project category of the awards.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor says: “I have been deeply impressed by the quality of the public engagement with research projects submitted for this year’s awards. The breadth and diversity of the activities taking place show how seriously the University takes its commitment to public engagement.”

Professor Alison Woollard, the University’s Academic Champion for Public Engagement with Research says: “Public engagement enriches both research and society and the University is committed to enabling our researchers to inspire, consult and collaborate with the public. I’m delighted that we are able to recognise and highlight the fantastic work our researchers are doing and hope these awards encourage more colleagues across the University to carry out their own public engagement with research.”

About the awards

The Vice-Chancellor's Public Engagement with Research Awards recognise and reward those at the University who undertake high-quality engagement activities and have contributed to building capacity in this area. The awards are awarded in three categories – Early Career Researcher, Building Capacity and Projects. Entrants can be at any level in their career and activities of any scale are welcome. 

Winning entries receive recognition for their achievements at the Vice-Chancellor's Public Engagement with Research Awards Ceremony that will take place on 28 June 2017. The Vice-Chancellor’s prize will also be announced at the ceremony and receive a cash prize of £1,500.

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