In addition to the awards both given directly and supported by the Community Knowledge Initiative, we're delighted to acknowledge the achievements of our colleagues in the broader field of engagement.

SFI Outstanding Contribution to STEM Communication - Dr Muriel Grenon

This award recognises an outstanding contribution to the popularisation of science and recognises an individual who raises public awareness of the value of science to human progress. 

Dr. Muriel Grenon is a lecturer in Biochemistry, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway and the founding Director of the Cell EXPLORERS science outreach programme. Dr Grenon started out the programme in 2012 with a team of 10 undergraduate science students in NUI Galway and has built Cell EXPLORERS into a national network comprising 13 partner teams with  members from 15 Higher Education Institutions in Ireland. Between 2012 and 2018 Cell EXPLORERS involved 1,187 team members, visited 471 classrooms in 280 schools and reached 32,000 members of the public. Cell EXPLORERS has also successfully integrated science outreach projects into the final year of the Biochmistry undergraduate course at NUI Galway allowing the creation of potential novel science outreach resources each semester.  

Dr Grenon is also involved in driving science communication internationally: Cell EXPLORERS is part of Scientix, the community for Science Education in Europe. The programme has also started a collaboration with the University of Kwatzulu-Natal in South Africa, where a team is currently piloting the ‘Fantastic DNA school’ visits. 

Dr Grenon’s contribution and dedication to the popularisation of STEM has been recognised by the ‘Outstanding Contribution to STEM’ award at the 2013 Galway Science and Technology Festival, the 2017 ‘NUI Galway President Award for Societal Impact’ and being made Knight of the Order of the Palmes Académiques by the French Ministry of Education in 2019. 

“I would like to share this award with all past and present Cell EXPLORERS coordinators, volunteers and supporters. Our programme is based on the simple idea of sending local science role models to meet the general public locally. We meet young people at an age when they decide if they like science and if they would consider it as a career. Due to its hands-on aspect, the programme has achieved a great popularity within schools and contributes to changing stereotypes about science and scientists. This is only possible through the amazing work that our coordinators do behind the scene and the dedication of our volunteer scientists.”

2019 Chevalier of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques by French Minister of National Education - Dr Muriel Grenon

Dr Muriel Grenon was awarded the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms) at a private ceremony hosted recently in the Residence of the French Ambassador. One of France’s highest honours, the Ordre des Palmes Académiques recognises those who have rendered eminent service to French education and have contributed actively to the prestige of French culture and acknowledges their merits, talents, and exemplary activities.