Nicola’s school science work wins her award

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A Sheffield University researcher has won a top award for her work to get children and young people more involved in science.

Dr Nicola Hemmings, a post-doctoral research associate, has been named a winner in the Society of Biology’s science communication awards 2014.

She received the £1,500 Established Researcher Prize in the annual awards, which reward work carried out by scientists to inform, enthuse and engage the public.

Nicola created a three-tiered programme to teach children as young as five about fertility.

She involved thousands of schoolchildren by developing hands-on activities on subjects from fossils to solar-panels, as well as mentoring undergraduates to deliver them in conjunction with regular lectures.

Nicola has also developed workshops to help adult audiences understand how studying sperm can help save endangered species.

She said: “I’m delighted and honoured to receive this award. It is wonderful to gain recognition for something I love doing.

“I hope my work inspires other scientists to engage the public with their research too.”

The competition was open to bioscience researchers from UK universities and institutes in two categories for new and established researchers.

Dr Steve Cross, judging panel chairman, said: “We were impressed by the process Nicola uses to engage with communities outside academia.

“She is utterly committed to learning, improving and refining her work.”