The quality of marine research being conducted by undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Plymouth has been recognised after it received more than half of the prizes on offer at a national awards ceremony.
Three projects on issues ranging from enhancing wildlife habitats on sea walls, to the fate of microplastics in the oceans and the breeding patterns of large spotted dogfish impressed judges at the P1 Marine Foundation National Student Awards.
The awards aim to celebrate and reward students whose projects help to provide solutions to threats to the marine and coastal environment.
An annual event, held for the fifth time in 2017, it brings together a judging panel of scientists, academics and environmentalists, looking for projects with environmental merit, originality, practicality and ground-breaking content.
Five awards were presented during a ceremony, held at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the recipients included:
- Environmental Science PhD student Kathryn O'Shaughnessy was awarded The Crown Estate Seabed Innovation Award for her project ‘Green engineering of coastal infrastructure: a design for life’, which is examining the impact of sea wall design on marine wildlife;
- Marine Science PhD student Imogen Napper received The Marine Conservation Society Wakefield Memorial Award for her research on ‘The sources and fate of plastic in the marine environment’;
- Tegan Consol, a third year BSc (Hons) Environmental Science student, was presented with a joint runners-up prize for her project ‘Monitoring development and success rate of Scyliorhinus stellaris egg cases’.
The three students all attended the awards ceremony on Tuesday 21 March, where they were able to showcase their projects to a diverse audience of business executives, charities, government representatives and the media. Kathryn and Imogen also received £500 prize money, while Tegan was awarded £250.
Professor Kevin Jones, Executive Dean of Science and Engineering at the University of Plymouth, said:
“Our students have always played an integral role in our research mission, not just being taught by world-leading researchers but by contributing to it. These awards further emphasise how we encourage students to develop both their academic and social responsibilities through projects they are passionate about.”
The awards were supported by The Crown Estate, Marine Conservation Society and the Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology.
Roy Mantle, Trustee at P1 Marine Foundation, said:
“This year we received excellent undergraduate and postgraduate entries from all across the UK, with a wide range of projects including microplastics, green engineering, environmental DNA and monitoring of egg cases. We are delighted that our awards are giving prominence to exciting and valuable projects of this nature that go beyond research and analysis to develop solutions for marine conservation.”