Inaugural Academy Excellence Award winners announced

We were delighted to present the inaugural DMT Academy Excellence Awards to Professor Ilaria Bellantuono (University of Sheffield) and Dr Jenni Burton (University of Glasgow) at our 2024 Annual Symposium.

These awards celebrate outstanding researchers in an ageing-related field who exemplify our key research principles: a commitment to capacity building, multidisciplinarity, equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and patient, carer and public involvement and engagement (PPIE). They acknowledge individuals who are dedicated to enhancing research culture at all stages of their career and strive to translate their work into practice.The award-holders will receive £120k of flexible funding over three years to support their research-related activities and allow them to pursue career development opportunities beyond the scope of conventionally supported projects.

Professor Ilaria Bellantuono (left) and Dr Jenni Burton (right) were presented their awards by Dr Sue Parker.

The Excellence Awards offer a unique funding opportunity to do things differently.

Dr Jenni Burton, ‘Rising Star’ Excellence Award holder 2024

The call for nominations opened in September 2023 and we were delighted by the level of interest in them. More information on the nomination and decision process can be found in the award guidelines.

We want to promote a positive research culture – and that comes both from those in senior positions today, but also from those who will be the leaders of the future.

Prof. Alison Petch, DMT Chair and Awards Panel Member

The awards decision panel was hugely impressed by Dr Burton and Prof. Bellantuono’s leadership and active investment in community engagement. Both put forward creative plans for their intended use of funds that not only extended beyond their own research groups and institutions, but also demonstrated ambition and a genuine commitment to the Dunhill Medical Trust’s core values. These included personal development work in science policy, meaningful patient involvement programmes, cross-disciplinary funding initiatives and enabling those from non-traditional academic backgrounds to engage with research.

This award will allow me to learn from and work with policy-making organisations. Additionally, I am excited to use this funding to set up bursaries and workshops that promote multidisciplinary research and break down barriers between biologists and social scientists.

Prof. Ilaria Bellantuono, ‘Senior Leader’ Excellence Award holder 2024

The Excellence Awards recognise one early- to mid-career rising star and one senior leader each year, and are exclusively open to members of the DMT Academy. The Academy is an inclusive network of researchers and community innovators, which aims to offer tangible support to individuals in ageing-related research and those providing support and services to older people. The judging panel looked for candidates who would act as ambassadors for the Academy and shared our approach to collaboration and community-building.

We were looking for people who would be ambassadors for the Academy and for the approach that the Dunhill Medical Trust has adopted: research should not take place in a vacuum, it should be closely linked with community-based endeavours.

Prof. Alison Petch, DMT Chair and Awards Panel Member

We intend to open to nominations for the 2025 awards later this year – so, if you think you might be a rising star or senior leader in ageing-related research (or you know somebody who is), do consider joining the Academy and look out for future announcements on our website.