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The joint winners of the department award for Public Engagement and Science Communications were announced at the department team away day in January 2020. The Oxford Dementia and Ageing Research (OxDARE) team and the My Resilience in Adolescence (MYRIAD) project team both presented excellent examples of public engagement.

'These two projects are excellent examples of how you can do thoughtful, impactful public engagement work with and without a big budget.' (Comment from the judging panel).

 

Joint winners - OxDARE and MYRIAD team members.

 

Winners of the 2019 Department of Psychiatry Public Engagement and Science Communications Award

(Team members pictured include Clare O’Donoghue, Sophie Walker, Jasmine Blane, Jemma Pitt, Michael Ben Yehuda, Karla Westphal (OxDARE) and Eleanor-Rose Farley, Louise Aukland, Isobel Pryor-Nitsch, Katie Fletcher, Liz Lord, Lucy Radley, Matt Allwood, Suzi Laws (MYRIAD)).

 

Award winner - MYRIAD 

 

It is great to have the team's hard work and enthusiasm recognised through this award. At a time when adolescent mental health and wellbeing is being discussed widely in education, it is important for us to listen to young people themselves. Our PER programme has been vital in engaging schools, enthusing young people, building researcher skills, shaping future research possibilities and hopefully it will contribute to future discussions around mindfulness in schools - Louise Aukland, accepting the award on behalf of their team.

 

The MYRIAD (My Resilience in Adolescence) project is a £6.4 million research programme over seven years investigating the underlying cognitive mechanisms, teacher training routes, school-based implementation and effectiveness of mindfulness training in UK secondary schools.

The aims of the MYRIAD PER programme are to:
• Inspire an interest in science in the young people in the MYRIAD trial schools
• Work alongside young people to develop the research and digital resources
• Encourage long term participant and school retention in the studies
• Further develop the public engagement experience of research staff

The target audience is primarily the young people in the schools involved in the MYRIAD project (i.e. the 84 trial schools). This often involves the broader involvement of teachers and leaders in schools.

 

Award winner - OxDARE 

 

I'm really proud of the energy and enthusiasm that the OxDARE team put into the wide variety of public engagement activities that they undertake to promote and disseminate dementia and ageing research across our region. I am delighted that their efforts have been recognised by this award. - Professor Clare Mackay, accepting the award on behalf of the OxDARE team. 

OxDARE (Oxford Dementia and Ageing Research) was established as part of the Cognitive Health Working Group in the 2012-17 NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and continued as part of the Older Adult and Dementia Theme. As well as mapping and connecting Oxford's dementia research community, OxDARE established a registry of research volunteers (Friends of OxDARE) and has a strong portfolio of public engagement activity. 

The key purpose of OxDARE public engagement is to inspire the target audience of mid-to-later life adults with and without cognitive problems to take part in dementia prevention and brain health research. Healthy adults often do not realise they can contribute to dementia research, and patients with MCI can be difficult to reach due to a lack of support networks following diagnosis and finding the 'dementia' label off-putting (OxDARE MCI survey, 2019). In 2019, OxDARE tried to reach audiences who had not yet engaged with dementia networks.

The objectives of OxDARE public engagement are to provide the public with:
• Information about the diseases that lead to dementia & why dementia prevention research needs healthy people too
• Evidence-based information about modifying dementia risk via lifestyle choices
• Opportunities to discuss misconceptions about dementia
• Insight into what taking part in research is like and the positive experience of helping to progress high-quality science
• Provide the resources to empower the target audience to take part in high-quality scientific research

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