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Celebrating outreach

The 2022 Ogden Outreach Awards.

Published: 1 August 2022

On Thursday 28 July, physics outreach professionals from higher education gathered for the inaugural Ogden Outreach Awards, which were held at The Royal Society to celebrate physics outreach and recognise the efforts of those involved in developing and delivering it.

The awards were launched to recognise and reward sustained and long term efforts in physics outreach, which helps to ensure physics opportunities for all, gives an insight into the real-world appliance of science and helps take physics beyond the classroom.

In total, five awards were made with the winners of each receiving £1,000 to help continue and advance their work; a further 17 awards were made to individual undergraduate and postgraduate ambassadors to thank them for their contributions to outreach. The winner of our new collaborative project funding was also announced.

a line of Ogden awards

The awards

The sustained contribution award recognised longstanding commitment to physics outreach and acknowledged significant achievements through either leadership, delivery or support of outreach. This year, the winner of this award was Dr David Fairhurst at Nottingham Trent University.

The departmental culture change award went to the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute for Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy in recognition of their efforts to develop significant culture change in terms of outreach. This category also had a highly commended award winner, which was the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, Portsmouth.

Undergraduate student ambassadors are often the lynch pin of successful outreach, but they need to be effectively supported, managed and encouraged. We wanted to recognise projects and programmes that support undergraduate student ambassadors and our winner of this award was the Physics Mentoring Project, which is a collaboration between Aberystwyth, Bangor, and Swansea universities and the University of South Wales, led by Cardiff University.

Outreach work to support and enable teachers in their delivery of physics was also recognised at the ceremony. The Excellence in teacher support was made to PRiSE at Imperial College London.

The final project award of the afternoon was in the category of Longitudinal projects to widen participation. This award recognised excellence in the development and delivery of projects which use repeat interventions to work with widening participation audiences, and was made to Discovery Planet CIC, University of Kent.

“We hope that these awards can raise the profile of all the incredible physics outreach work being undertaken across the country and highlight best practice in the field,” explains Programme Manager Adam Boal.

“We were overwhelmed by the number and quality of the nominations we received and selecting the winners was both a privilege and a challenge. We hope that these awards will help to build and sustain momentum for university physics outreach, which is so important in raising aspirations and improving access to future physics pathways.”

An Ogden award

Collaborative Funding

The Ogden collaborative funding programme was launched this year to support and facilitate strategic outreach collaboration between university physics departments and to influence positive change in the physics education landscape. Following a hugely competitive application process, the collaborative funding has been awarded to ORBYTS – a UCL-led partnership including the universities of Surrey, Newcastle, and Northumbria, and the Mullard Space Science Laboratory.

ORBYTS partners university researchers with schools to empower pupils to undertake original research. It builds longer term relationships between schools and universities, researchers and pupils. Projects last a minimum of three months and involve regular meetings between pupils and researchers. This interaction with real scientists, positively shifts students’ perceptions of who can be a scientist, dispelling harmful stereotypes; participation in authentic science research increases student confidence and science capital, both of which are widely reported as barriers to science entry.

a view through a door into the outreach awards ceremony with two people featured in the doorway

The Ogden Outreach Awards 2022

Photography: Big T Images

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