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Max Perutz Science Writing Award 2012

13 Sep 2012

Dr Andrew Bastawrous, an MRC Research Fellow at the International Centre for Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has won this year’s MRC Max Perutz Science Writing Award.

Chosen from over a hundred entries, Andrew received the first prize of £1,500 last night. His winning article — Studying blindness – there’s an App for that — will also be promoted in Metro newspaper.

Dr Andrew Bastawrous, an MRC Research Fellow at the International Centre for Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has won this year’s MRC Max Perutz Science Writing Award.

Image: 2012 Max Perutz Science Writing Award winner, Andrew Bastawrous, with fellow shortlisted entrants.

The winner was announced by MRC Chief Executive and competition judge, Professor Sir John Savill. He described Andrew’s article as “interesting and very 21st century”, noting that he did a great job of articulating the promise of his research. This sentiment was echoed by Sir John’s fellow judges: Metro science columnist Ben Gilliland; science writer and author Dr Jenny Rohn; GP and author Dr Margaret McCartney; and last year’s Max Perutz Award winner Dr Amy Capes, now a freelance science writer.

Following his win, Andrew said: “I’m genuinely surprised and really pleased that I’ve won, considering that English was one of my worst subjects at school!”

A runner-up prize of £750 was awarded to Ketan Shah, an MRC Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology, for his article I am the drug. Commendations also went to Sarah Caddy from Imperial College London, James Fuller from the University of Southampton and Ben Martynoga from the MRC National Institute for Medical Research.

Commenting on the importance of the competition, Sir John said: “The Max Perutz Award is one of the highlights of the MRC calendar and really important to our mission in engaging the public with medical research.”

The Max Perutz Award was developed by the MRC 15 years ago to encourage its scientists to communicate their research to a wider audience. Entrants are asked to explain why their research matters in just 800 words.

The award is named in honour of one of the UK’s most outstanding scientists and communicators, Dr Max Perutz. Max, who died in 2002, was awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work using X-ray crystallography to study the structures of globular proteins. He was the founder and first chairman of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, the lab which unravelled the structure of DNA. Max was also a keen and talented communicator who inspired countless students to use everyday language to share their research with the people whose lives are improved by their work.

Guests were welcomed to the event by Max’s son, Professor Robin Perutz. Robin enthralled the audience with a short speech about his late father’s views on authorship and science communication. He also congratulated all the shortlisted writers on their achievements, finishing with a writing tip favoured by Max: “Whenever I write about science, I imagine a parrot on my shoulder saying ‘can it be said more simply?’.”

MRC Chief Executive and 2012 Max Perutz Award judge Professor Sir John Savill with Professor Robin Perutz

Image: MRC Chief Executive and 2012 Max Perutz Award judge Professor Sir John Savill with Professor Robin Perutz.

Categories

  • Categories: Corporate
  • Health categories: Generic
  • Strategic objectives: Securing impact from medical research, Engagement, Global health, Capacity and skills
  • Locations: London
  • Type: News article