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Good Research Practice Awards 2022: Winners announced

In this blog post Professor Malcolm Macleod, Academic Lead for Research Improvement and Research Integrity at the University of Edinburgh, shares the results of the 2022 University of Edinburgh Good Research Practice Awards.

The University of Edinburgh Good Research Practice Awards recognised and celebrated contributions that provided leadership and acted as role models for good research practice. There were 95 nominations of 66 individuals or groups across 4 categories and the winners were announced at an awards evening on 18 November.

With these awards we wanted to take different approach to the conventional recognition of academic contribution, of grants applied for and awarded, of papers published and of research impact. We instead wanted to recognise that what people do between those lines can make a major contribution to our efforts as an institution, and can be very important in enabling others within our institution to be able to do their best research.

The 4 award categories were:

Good Research Citizenship Award

Good research citizenship can take many forms and is not limited to those in leadership and management roles or to “official” University activities.  It can includes:

  • contributions to formal and informal mentoring and support
  • leading or participating in projects to improve research
  • involvement in peer-led initiatives to increase awareness and provide training in good research practices
  • involvement in peer-led initiatives to address issues of equity, diversity and inclusion
  • increasing awareness and providing training in good research practices
  • Promoting public and societal engagement with research processes
  • Supporting and engendering flourishing and diverse research teams
  • Actions which support greater inclusion in research activity of those who would not otherwise be able to contribute
  • Commenting on drafts of applications, grants and papers, participating in practice interviews and practice presentations
  • Encouraging reflection on how we do research and our research culture
  • Peer review, internal and external grant awarding panels
  • Promoting the public understanding of science

The Good Research Citizenship Award results

Edinburgh ReproducibiliTea, Niamh MacSweeney and Laura Klinkhamer

Niamh MacSweeney and Laura Klinkhamer were awarded first place for their initiation of the Edinburgh chapter of ReproducibiliTea, a grassroots initiative to connect researchers locally to discuss and find support for topics related to open research practices, research integrity, and reproducibility.

Professor Catherine Lyall (Professor of Science and Public Policy, School of Social and Political Science)

Professor Lyall was nominated for her contribution in supporting the research of others, in informal and formal roles, over 23 years of service.  She is also recognised as a leader in initiatives to increase awareness and provide training in good research practice in interdisciplinary research.


Responsible Research Award

With this award we were interested in recognising individuals or teams at the University of Edinburgh who have used their platform as researchers to create opportunities for involvement, dialogue, engagement and exchange with communities beyond the University of Edinburgh.

‘Responsible Research and Innovation’ occurs where researchers carefully consider the consequences of their research and how these align with society’s expectations, with the aim of pursuing research which is inclusive (including co-creation of research approaches), sustainable, and done both with and for society. Such research involves diverse stakeholders, encompasses multiple (and sometimes conflicting) value systems, has open and transparent processes and communications, and is adaptive to feedback and experience.

We believe that research, and research processes, can be enriched through public engagement – the involvement of external communities, in co-creation of research projects relevant to their particular circumstances or their involvement as citizen scientists, or when researchers demystify their work and their careers to engage others.

Responsible Research Award results

Creative Informatics – The Bayes Centre, The University of Edinburgh

Creative Informatics is a large scale, 5 year, project working on innovation in and between creative industries and technology industries in Edinburgh.

Depression Detectives (Citizen Science Project)

Depression Detectives is a pilot user-led citizen science project which brought together people with lived experience of depression and researchers who study it, as EQUAL partners.


Open Research Award

Openness in research makes important contributions to participation, collaboration, dissemination, and reproducibility and includes:

  • Openness in research designs (eg study protocols)
  • Open access to publications
  • Open availability of study materials (questionnaires, reagents, psychological tests)
  • Open availability of study data such that it is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (“FAIR” data)
  • Openness of research platforms, tools and software
  • Openness of the conduct of research, both with scientific colleagues and with wider publics
  • Openness of grant funding applications, of peer review processes and of research and researcher evaluations

With this award we were interested in research outputs and research projects which show openness across multiple dimensions.

Open Research Award results

Dr William Cawthorn – Senior Lecturer, Deanery of Clinical Sciences

Nominated for his contribution as an enthusiastic promoter of Open Research both locally in Cardiovascular Sciences and CMVM through organising workshops and conferences, and through presenting enthusiastically on the benefits of Open Research.

PPLS Open Research Facilitators (Bonan Zhao, Georgia Carter, Alex Lorson, Giulia Giganti and Professor Kenny Smith)

Nominated for their work in facilitating open research practices in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.


Positive Disruptor Award

With this award, we were looking for individuals or teams who have improved our research practice,  culture, or environment, by challenging the status quo.

As individuals and as an institution, we like to operate in familiar circumstances, and this can make us reluctant to embrace change. But disrupting our normal way of thinking about things can open up opportunities to do things differently, to do things better. Positive disruptors in research don’t just point to problems, but are able to see a different way of doing things, and to convince others to be open to the possibility of change. Key characteristics of being a positive disruptor include[1]:

  • Being able to influence and enthuse people
  • Being prepared to be knocked back, and to keep going
  • Not being put off when people challenge why you’re doing things
  • Believing in a different future, and having the courage to propose different ways of doing things – willing to try, fail and learn
  • Not just criticising, but proposing solutions
  • Knowing where internal rules have some flexibility, and when you are overstepping a mark and will fail to carry your colleagues
  • Knowing when to stop

[1] Derived from Ian Rodgers, reported here

Positive Disruptor Award results

Dr Nini Fang – Lecturer, School of Health in Social Science

Nominated for her work using psychosocial approaches to understanding social and racial inequality and applying creative, qualitative inquiry to investigate the lived experience of immigration.

Professor Gillian Gray – Edinburgh Medical School

Nominated for her leadership in establishing the Edinburgh Medical School Early Careers Researcher Experience.


Further information about the awards can be found online

Congratulations to all the winners and thank you for their contributions!



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