UK (Edinburgh Napier University) Edinburgh Napier University Professor Wins Europe-wide Award for Science Communication

Dr Sam Illingworth has drawn praise for using poetry and gaming to reach underserved audiences.

An Edinburgh Napier University professor has won a major international award, organised by the European Geosciences Union, for his innovative communication of scientific ideas.

Dr Sam Illingworth, who uses poetry and gaming to reach underserved audiences, has been named the 2022 winner of the Katia and Maurice Krafft Award.

Dr Illingworth is an Associate Professor at ENU and has published research on how to broaden the interest and engagement in geosciences.

His textbook, Effective Science Communication has been downloaded more than 250,000 times, while his podcast and blog The Poetry of Science reaches thousands of listeners and readers every month.

Reacting to his award, Sam said: “I feel incredibly honoured to be recognised by my peers in this way, and I hope that I can use it as a platform to continue to make both science and higher education accessible to all audiences.

“There aren’t many awards in science communication and the people who have won this one before are doing some world-leading research. I hope I can use it as a platform to continue the work that I do.

“The great thing about poetry is that it enables us to look through science through a new lens.

Its real strength is in developing a two-way dialogue, a medium which encourages other people, especially marginalised communities, to lend their voice and to be heard in scientific research.

In addition to his research and online work, Dr Illingworth is founder and chief executive editor of Geoscience Communication. Since the journal was set up, it has supported the work of more than 500 geoscientists, with 100+ peer-reviewed papers.

The Katia and Maurice Krafft Award was first established by the EGU – Europe’s leading organisation for earth, planetary and space science research – in 2018, to recognise researchers who have developed innovative and inclusive ways of communicating a geoscience topic with a diverse audience.

It is named in honour of volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft, who spent their lives documenting and sharing volcanological phenomena. The most recent winners include Sarah K. Brown for her awareness films on volcanic hazards and Annie Ockelford, who developed a set of geography classroom resources.

Sam will be presented with his award at EGU23, the organisation’s general assembly, which will take place in Vienna next Spring.