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Spotlight on Success: December 2020

Spotlight on success

Each month we publish a selection of key Teaching & Learning and Research achievements and developments. See December's news below.

Awards & Prizes

  • Professor Steven Mithen (Archaeology) has been awarded for The Newton Prize for his project on the use of cultural heritage for sustainable development in Jordan. The Newton Prize celebrates excellent research and innovation partnerships, supporting them to continue.
  • Professor Sue Walker (Typography and Graphic Communication) has had her project Beat Bad Bugs shortlisted for an Antibiotic Guardian Award. The campaign is led by Public Health England in collaboration with the Devolved Administrations and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.
  • Professor Ed Hawkins (Meteorology) was a runner up in The Guardian University Awards for his public engagement project #ShowYourStripes.
  • Professors Claire Williams (Psychology) and Gary Stephens (Pharmacy) were runners up in The Guardian University Awards for their research impact generated from the project developing the medicine Epidyolex.
  • Professor Rachel McCrindle (Biomedical Engineering) has been shortlisted for a The Learning Award for her work with in partnership with Red Whale.

 Project updates

  • Successful completion of the Academic Tutor System (ATS). Our ATS project has closed, having delivered a step change by moving from what was a reactive, passive deficit ‘personal tutoring system' model, to a pro-active Academic Tutor System. As well as developing the leadership role of School Director of Academic Tutoring, we introduced a dedicated Student Welfare Team to provide specialist, professional student support. Through new toolkits for students and staff, as well as better signposting to support services, we are engendering a strong sense of belonging amongst all our students and support their academic, personal and professional development. We will continue to build on this success, including improved student survey performance, working in partnership with students and colleagues.
  • The Ure Museum (Classics) has been chosen as one of six museums and heritage sites to work in partnership with artists to commission a new work of art inspired by each venue.


  • The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme Showcase was held on 18 November 2020, with Nat Hansen (Philosophy) named as Supervisor of the Year.
  • Linguistics researchers at the University of Reading and University of Birmingham are working with students to gather real experiences of communication issues and stigma faced by other Chinese students forced to make sense of the lockdown and virus advice while living in the UK. The project has been granted £10,000 British Academy funding, and will use interviews, diaries and observations to shed light on how international students access and evaluate information and challenges resulting from intercultural differences, particularly in challenging times. Read more about the project in our news story.
  • Reading countdown report. School of Agriculture, Policy & Development academics and two undergraduate students teamed up to produce the biggest ever report into health impacts of climate change specifically in Reading. Students involved through Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) scheme - they produced the report and the accompanying graphs, and presented at the report launch during Reading Climate Festival (9-15 November). The report highlighted that Reading has seen rising deaths and health issues related to climate change, including heat waves and poor air quality. It also looked at local media coverage of climate change, and how the regions' MPs engaged with climate issues in Parliament. Read more about the report in our news story.
  • Geography and Environmental Sciences scientists requested by UK government's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to provide flood forecasts for Hurricane Iota. Iota is a category 5 hurricane which made landfall late on Monday 16 November on the east coast of Central America. The reports are intended as early warnings on potential flooding impacts as a result of the hurricane, to inform relief efforts.
  • Dr Graeme Larsen (Construction Management & Engineering) has been awarded the title of Visiting Professor at RMIT, Melbourne, Australia.

Click here to see all recent University of Reading research publications

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