Impact Awards in Focus

Policy and Education

Research that has significantly developed policy, or delivered education improvements is being highlighted at the Exeter Impact Awards.

Five projects were selected for the policy and education category shortlist, including research that has shaped teaching resources for GCSE and A-level courses in schools.

Dr Ceri Lewis, Lecturer in Marine Biology, was nominated for her work into ocean acidification, which was used as inspiration for a highly successful education programme in schools.

Ceri and Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) colleague Dr Helen Findlay worked with Digital Explorer to provide free inspirational resources to classrooms both nationally and internationally.

Ceri said: “It is so exciting that the schools resources we produced based on our research are being used so widely now, 30 per cent of secondary schools is such an amazing number.”

She added: “It's wonderful that Exeter University recognises the importance of work like this in addition to the scientific research that we do.”

Prof David Horrell examined how the Bible shapes Christian attitudes to the environment, and approaches to environmental ethics. The project concluded that religious convictions are fundamental in understanding people’s attitudes and perceptions of the environment.

Also nominated was Dr Carol Evans’ work on assessment feedback in higher education. Her toolkit has enabled hundreds of lecturers and teachers to examine and develop how they give feedback to students, resulting in international collaborative partnerships and world-leading publications. The work has also led to a range of high profile partnerships and the award of a Higher Education Academy Principal Fellowship.

The Centre for Research in Writing, working in partnership with Pearson Education has provided the first evidence that embedding grammar in the teaching of writing significantly increases the rate of writing improvement.

Another shortlisted project by Dr Mark Wilson, Prof Tim Coles and Gethin Thomas (PhD Researcher) found that changes to rugby laws for players between the ages of seven and eleven enhanced the involvement, skill development, and motivation of children playing the game. Following successful trials in Sweden, the Rugby Football Union have shown a promising interest in the findings.