Awards and recognition for university staff, students and international research

Awards and recognition for university staff, students and international research  name

Image credit: Margrét Seema Takyar

Internationally renowned research projects focusing on polar bear interactions with humans and innovative rewilding in the Scottish Highlands are among University of Cumbria staff and student award successes celebrated this month. 

Student nurses and researchers to professors of environment and fine art at the University of Cumbria are celebrating recognition in a number of national and international awards. 


Student Nursing Times Awards 2022  

Two projects run by teams within the university’s Institute of Health are shortlisted. 

Student-led virtual antenatal classes feature in the Teaching Innovation of the Year category, and a focus on student midwives’ wellbeing is in the running to be named Best Student Experience at the Student Nursing Times Awards. 

University of Cumbria student Cherish Otoo makes the shortlist twice too, including in the Mary Seacole Award for outstanding contribution to diversity and inclusion category. 

A nursing apprentice, Cherish is also shortlisted in the Most Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year category in recognition of her contribution to the patient care and impact at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. 

Winners are to be revealed during a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London on Friday 27 May. 


Verdantix Innovation Excellence Awards 2022 

Verdantix is a leading independent research and advisory firm and its annual Innovation Excellence Awards recognise outstanding achievements Environment Health and Safety (EHS), Environment, Society and Governance (ESG), Sustainability and Operations. 

Nominations were received from across the world, including Vietnam, Australia and India. 

National Capital Laboratory in association with The Lifescape Project and the university’s Institute of Science and Environment has won the Sustainability Strategy Implementation award. It builds upon the recognition and other awards the NCL project has received over the last year. 

The project is ‘rewilding’ 100 acres of degraded land. Pioneering research including using new digital tools and techniques to track and communicate complex data at scale and showcasing changes on the site are helping to create solutions to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss. 

Winners were announced in a virtual event on 24 March and a trophy ceremony is due to take place in America in the autumn.  


Icelandic Art Prize 2022  

Professors Mark Wilson and Bryndís Snaebjörnsdóttir are the recipients of the Icelandic Artists of the Year Prize 2022 for their exhibition Visitations at Akureyri Art Museum. The annual prize recognises outstanding visual artists and their exhibitions. 

The exhibition Visitations is part of their research project, Visitations: Polar Bears Out of Place. With a particular focus on polar bear arrivals in Iceland past and present, the aim of the project is to contribute to a growing body of knowledge concerning human and non-human relations in a time of global warning.  

Working with experts in a number of fields including folklore and environmental studies, and in the context of rising sea-levels and population migrations more widely, the pair’s works examine stories of run-ins between polar bears and people, and what happens when these two predators meet. The Polar Bears Out of Place three-year project was awarded £280,000 from the Rannis’ Research Fund and is the first visual art research project to receive this grant. The project is hosted by Iceland University of the Arts. 

Professor Wilson is a professor of fine art at the University of Cumbria’s Institute of Arts and Bryndis was appointed Honorary Visiting Professor of the University in 2017. Her surname means ‘snow bear’s daughter’. 

Professor Wilson said: “Bryndís and I are extremely honoured by this award and pleased that our work, which sets out to address contradictory socio-environmental and ecological behaviours, is being acknowledged in such a publicly visible way. We consider art as being unique in its capacity to use mischief and poetic strategies as a way of re-thinking serious matters of the day.  

“The exhibition Visitations, for which the prize was awarded, was a landmark for us in the life of this three-year project and we thank the many people and institutions who have cooperated and supported us in its making.”  

A conference is planned to take place at Iceland’s Museum of Contemporary Art in October, where the project will be discussed and a new book on Professor Wilson’s 20-year practice with Bryndis will be launched. The book will feature a special section on the Visitations exhibition. 



University of Cumbria Deputy Vice Chancellor (Health, Environment and Innovation) Professor Brian Webster-Henderson said: “It is wonderful to see the innovative and impactful practice, teaching and research of our staff and students across so many of our specialist academic areas being celebrated in these ways.  

They illustrate the positive contributions and impact that our staff and student bodies regularly make in their chosen professional fields, transforming lives and livelihoods of the communities in which they serve, and of which we are very proud. Congratulations to each and every one of them. 


For more about: 

  • Icelandic Art Prize 2022 – visit the Icelandic Art Center website 
  • Verdantix Innovation Excellence Awards 2022 - details available here
  • Student Nursing Times Awards 2022 - read the full shortlist here


Photo: Margrét Seema Takyar