Impact Prizes

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Each year, scientists from across the Institute come together for the annual Lab Talks symposium. As part of the event, the Institute presents several prizes in recognition of key successes over the past year.

The Sir Michael Berridge Prize celebrates the contributions of a PhD student or Postdoc to an outstanding piece of published research, whilst the Knowledge Exchange & Commercialisation and Public Engagement Prizes are presented to scientists that have gone above and beyond to maximise the impact of their work. The prize winners are selected by judging panels including both internal and external representatives. Finally, the Image Prize for the best research image of the year is selected by a popular vote including all Institute members.

Sir Michael Berridge Prize

2021 Winner


Dr Jo Durgan, a postdoctoral researcher in the Signalling research programme, is the Institute’s 2021 Sir Michael Berridge Prize winner. The award was endowed by Sir Michael who was a group leader at the Institute from 1990 until 2004, after which he was appointed the Institute’s first Emeritus Babraham Fellow, a position he held until his death in February 2020.

Jo’s research into the autophagy-related protein 8 (ATG8) challenged the textbook understanding of autophagy. It was previously assumed that the same molecular modification of ATG8 occurred in both pathways, but Jo and her colleagues identified an alternative molecular change that distinguishes these closely related, but functionally distinct, autophagy-related processes. Her research has important implications within the field by allowing researchers to accurately monitor autophagy.

Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation (KEC) Prize

The Babraham Institute’s Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation (KEC) Prize recognises an individual or team who have contributed to the Institute's KEC activities, demonstrating their passion for generating impact and transferring their knowledge.

2020 Winner


The 2020 Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Prize was awarded to Dr Stefan Schoenfelder, a senior scientist at the Institute's Epigenetic Programme and one of one of three scientific founders of the Institute’s most recent spin-out company, Enhanc3D Genomics. Enhanc3D Genomics’ mission is to apply functional genomics to link non-coding DNA sequence variants to their target genes in order to identify novel therapeutic targets.

The KEC award recognises Dr Schoenfelder's key role in developing the founding research central to the company's activity, establishing the spin-out team, and successfully raising seed funding from the Start Codon Cambridge Healthcare Accelerator. In judging, the KEC Committee members highlighted that the formation of Enhanc3D Genomics has shown how well Institute-supported translational activities can lead to the establishment of an innovative spin-out, with Dr Schoenfelder demonstrating “impressive drive to turn the techniques and protocols he developed at the bench into such a successful commercial proposal".


Previous Years

Visit the Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Prize page to read about previous winners and nominees.


Public Engagement (PE) Prize

The Babraham Institute's Public Engagement Prize recognises an individual or team who have contributed to the Institute's public engagement and science communication activities, demonstrating their passion for science and enthusiasm and commitment to inspiring generations.

2021 Winners

This year saw a bumper crop of nominations for the 2021 PESC Prize, with eight groups and individuals being nominated for their commitment to engaging public audiences with Institute research. The nominations were assessed by a panel consisting of members of the Public Engagement team along with two external judges from the Wellcome Genome Campus and the UKRI Public Engagement teams.

In the end the judges found it impossible to decide between two nominations, so for the second time the PESC Prize was awarded to two groups: the Escape Room team and the Virus Fighter team.  Huge congratulations to both the winning teams! The Public Engagement team would also like to applaud all those who were nominated for their fantastic work this year.


The Escape Room team

Team Profiles

The Epigenetics Escape Room is a brilliant new resource to engage public audiences with epigenetics. The team adapted their plans for an in-person escape room to create the online version, which had great success as part of the 2021 Cambridge Festival with over 500 individuals trying out (and solving!) the puzzles.

This was a fantastic project which involved contributions from an impressive number of researchers.

One judge commented that “this is a really innovative project that that has risen to the challenges of engaging with a public during a pandemic and taken the needs of the audience into account from the start.”


The Virus Fighter team 

Virus Fighter Team

Virus Fighter is the outcome of the VACCINE project, a collaborative, ORION-funded project to design a game which engages members of the public with the science behind infections, immunity and vaccinations. 25 students from a local state school were involved in designing the game in a co-creative process.

The judges praised this as a great example of a project which involved collaboration with several different external groups. They also highlighted the team effort, with clear ongoing support from senior researchers.



2021 Nominees

Christopher Todd - Chris was nominated primarily for his contributions to I’m a Scientist, a chat forum for answering school students’ questions about science.  Chris was awarded the title of most engaging scientist through a student vote, a fantastic achievement. He was also part of the epigenetics escape room team and has taken part in online school sessions discussing the ethics of genome editing.

Anne Corcoran - Anne was nominated for her longstanding support of PESC activities at the Institute, and for taking part in a Q&A about COVID-19 vaccines with the British Society for Immunology. This is a great example of how collaboration can help reach new audiences and widen the impact of public engagement work.

Piotr Jung - Piotr was nominated for giving a Science Spotlight talk, helping to develop an animated research video, and co-founding Covid-Sations, a series of panel discussions about COVID-19 related topics. Judges appreciated the considerations made to make these events inclusive through use of closed captions and pronouns.

Adrian Liston - Adrian, a key member of the Virus Fighter team, was also nominated individually for his children’s books about immunology: Battle Robots of the Blood and All About Coronavirus. A third book, Maya's Marvellous Medicine, has just been released. The judges highlighted his collaboration with an artist; use of a novel format; and support for other members of his team to participate in PESC activities.

Jo Montgomery - Jo was nominated for leading Scientist Stories, a series of video interviews supported by the Public Engagement seed fund. The three videos have a combined total of over 400 views and are a great resource for showcasing the people behind our science and for informing those wanting to find out more about careers in science.

Simon Rudge - Simon was nominated for the Protein Challenge, a practical project which he has been running with the Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology for over 10 years!  Simon successfully adapted the project to run remotely, with online talks and poster display sessions, and was commended for his long-term commitment to the project.


Image Prize

Each year members of the Institute can put forward images for the Imaging Prize, usually created using the Institute's Imaging Facility. The winner is selected by everyone in the Institute through a public vote.

2021 Winner

C. elegans image prize 2021

Laetitia Chauve’s image, with support by Simon Walker and Chieko Itakura from the Institute’s Imaging facility. This picture is a scanning electron micrograph of the head of an adult C. elegans worm magnified by 7,190 times. The raw image is greyscale but has been coloured by hand to highlight the six symmetrical inner lips (yellow/red) surrounding the opening of the mouth and the amphids (primary chemosensory organs; blue). Debris and/or bacteria (which C. elegans eat) have been coloured purple. Laetitia, a member of the Casaneuva lab, studies C. elegans to investigate the link between diet and ageing.

Previous Years

Visit the Image award page to read about previous winners and nominees.