Geography, geology and environment at Brighton

Annie in Westminster

Brighton researcher claims European Geosciences Union prize

Dr Annie Ockelford has been recognised for bringing geoscience to a wider audience by Europe’s leading organisation for Earth, planetary and space science research.

Dr Ockelford, a geomorphologist  who specialises in the study of rivers, including flooding and microplastics, has received the Katia and Maurice Krafft Award by the European Geosciences Union (EGU), which has around 20,000 members from around the world. The prize rewards researchers who have developed and implemented innovative and inclusive methods for outreach work on a geoscience topic.

She was nominated by peers as well as one of her former undergraduate students, with one of those championing her work describing Dr Ockelford as having shown “a sustained, passionate, innovative and diverse approach to outreach and engagement within the discipline of geomorphology, particularly for underrepresented and hard-to-reach audiences”.

Dr Ockelford has focused on bringing the understanding of rivers to a wide audience through the running of activities at events like the South East Regional Big Bang Festival and the New Forest and Hampshire County Show, as well as the creation of resources to be used by schools and teachers.

She has also shared her research work with MPs and governmental organisations in Westminster.

Reflecting on the award, Dr Ockelford said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have received the Katia and Maurice Krafft Union Award from the European Geosciences Union in recognition of the outreach and engagement work I have been doing across the geosciences.

“I am passionate about the fact science should be shared, should be accessible and should be inspiring for everyone, not just scientists.

“This ranges from children in schools who think science isn’t accessible to them because they don’t have role models to look up to, to the general public who often don’t have the opportunity to engage with scientists all the way through to the government who are responsible for using that science to develop policy”.

Professor Chris Joyce, Director of the Centre for Aquatic Environments, said: “I am delighted that Annie has received this recognition for her excellent outreach and engagement work.

Annie is a valued member of the Centre for Aquatic Environments, where her outreach with schools, the water industry and the UK Government has really raised the profile of our research. Her work to engage school children and members of the public to better understand river science has successfully highlighted the potential impacts of microplastics on the river environment.

Annie also brings her innovative engagement to School activities, such as at Open Days where potential students can interact with her model river system to learn more about how rivers function. For her commitment to engagement and outreach throughout her career, Annie is a very worthy winner of this prestigious EGU award.”

Laura Ruby • October 27, 2020


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