Prize opens new doors

March 30, 2007

Greater recognition, funding and more awards have come to two of The Times Higher 's award winners since they collected their trophies last November.

For Irwin McLean, Dundee University's professor of human genetics, winning the award for Research Project of the Year for his discovery of the principal gene behind eczema has raised his profile within his institution and at a national level.

He said: "A lot of people in my field are aware of this award and are very impressed by it. The fact that I was in competition with all universities across the UK and across all fields of science carries a lot of clout."

Being able to mention the award in grant applications is a useful and impressive way to "grab people's attention", he added.

An award worth £30,000 a year from the Royal Society plus another major dermatology award received from Germany have followed last year's triumph.

"We are now trying to concentrate on raising money to take my work onward.

The Times Higher award will help with that, as well as looking nice on my wall," Professor McLean said.

Internal and external recognition has also come to Nottingham and Lincoln universities' widening participation teams after winning The Times Higher 's Widening Participation Initiative of the Year award.

The scheme that impressed awards judges is a partnership that helps people from poor backgrounds enter medical school.

Penelope Griffin, head of widening participation at Nottingham, said:

"Winning the award has been an extremely good thing in terms of recognition of the widening participation team and the broader programme.

"Widening participation is an initiative that, in the past, has struggled to attract attention within the region, but now we are beginning to get that and, perhaps as a result, we are seeing more applications from students."

Deadline for entries for the 2007 awards is June 29. Further information can be found at

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