The Learned Society of Wales have awarded four of their annual medals to researchers at Cardiff University.
The medals, which were presented at a special ceremony in Cardiff, recognise the legacy of Welsh achievement and celebrate exceptional researchers with a connection to the country.
Professor Anita Thapar, from the School of Medicine, was recognised for her outstanding contribution to STEMM by picking up the Frances Hoggan medal for her work in child and adolescent psychiatry.
Recognised as a world-leading Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Professor Thapar’s research focuses on the genetic and environmental causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and youth depression. Her findings include an observation that the increased risk of ADHD associated with maternal smoking and stress is mediated by genetics rather than environmental factors.
Inspiring young female scientists
Commenting on the award, Professor Thapar said: “My scientific work has benefited enormously over the years from jointly working with excellent colleagues. Many of these have been young female scientists – so I hope this award serves as inspiration for them.”
Professor Graham Hutchings, from the School of Chemistry, was awarded the Menelaus medal for excellence in the field of engineering and technology.
Professor Hutchings is one of the world’s most preeminent authorities in the field of catalysis and has pioneered new methods of producing the widely-used polymer, PVC, using a novel catalyst containing gold. Professor Hutchings currently holds the position of Regius Professor and is the Director of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute.
Professor Hutchings said: “It is a great honour to be awarded the LSW Menelaus Medal” he commented. “My work in the field of catalysis has been largely aimed at designing new technologies in collaboration with industry. Recently our work enabled gold to be used a new catalyst to replace a highly polluting mercury catalyst in vinyl chloride manufacture which I hope will really see benefits for society as a whole”.
The Owen medal, which is funded by the Welsh Government, was awarded to Professor Chris Taylor, from the School of Social Sciences, in recognition of his contribution to educational research which has also informed the development of key education policies in Wales.
Professor Taylor is Co-Director of the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD) and has led major projects on a wide range of educational issues, undertaking research across all education sectors, from early years to higher education.
Professor Taylor said: “I am very honoured to have been awarded the first Hugh Owen Medal by the Learned Society for Wales...”
Unique amongst awards offered by other national academies of the UK, the Learned Society of Wales’s Dillwyn medals were also awarded in recognition of outstanding early career research in different academic fields.
Dr Rhiannon Evans, a Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University’s DECIPHer Research Centre, was awarded the Dillwyn Medal for social sciences, education and business.
Dr Evans’ research focuses on the improvement of the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, in addition to the prevention of self-harm and suicide.
Professor Anita Thapar
Clinical Professor, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences
Professor Graham Hutchings
Regius Professor of Physical Chemistry and Director of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute
Professor Chris Taylor
Dr Rhiannon Evans