The 2014 U21 Awards for Internationalisation, which recognise individual efforts that further internationalisation and build relations between U21 members, were awarded to Professor Martyn Poliakoff of the University of Nottingham and Professor James Murdoch of the University of Glasgow in May 2014 during the Presidential Meetings at the University of Glasgow.
Professor Poliakoff’s award is for his long and distinguished career in academe, but most notably for finding innovative ways to popularise science around the world. He is the face of ‘The Periodic Table of Videos' (www.periodicvideos.com) an award-winning series of short films which have received more than 22 million views on YouTube, and in 2011 earned him the Royal Society of Chemistry’s prestigious Nyholm Prize for Education. In 2011 Professor Poliakoff was appointed Foreign Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society – an illustration of the esteem in which he is held by his fellow academics.
On being notified of the award, Professor Poliakoff said:
I am delighted to receive this award, which recognises the importance of ongoing global education. Networks such as Universitas 21 are vital for the promotion of shared knowledge and I feel privileged to be recognised by them for my contribution to the internationalisation of chemistry.
Professor Murdoch was nominated on the strength of his pioneering teaching of human rights law in an international context. A particular focus of Professor Murdoch’s has been the European Human Rights Project, which allows students to plead a case before Judges at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. This led to the introduction of a programme run by Glasgow for Bosnian law students and subsequently students from Belarus. In 2013, in recognition of this work, he was awarded the Pro Merito Medal of the Council of Europe. Professor Murdoch has also initiated an integrated internationalisation programme offering students the chance to build on their international experience through exchanges; and, most recently, a new bid promoting excellence in the teaching of law through developmental support to staff in partner universities.
Professor Murdoch said of his award:
I am truly grateful to have been granted a U21 award – my work in the human rights field is heavily reliant on education in an international context and it is wonderful that Universitas 21 is acknowledging the importance long-distance learning. Every student should have the opportunity to share their ideas and learn from contemporaries across the world.
Jane Usherwood, U21’s Secretary General, commented:
This is the third year that we have sought to recognise the contribution played by individual staff in internationalising higher education and once again we are fortunate in being able to celebrate the hard work and commitment of colleagues over many years. Both Professor Murdoch and Professor Poliakoff are examples of how opportunities can be developed for students around the world through collaboration and innovation, opportunities that reach out from the campus to the world in which we live, and we are delighted to be able to acknowledge their contributions through these U21 Awards.