Book celebrating donations to medical science wins Dundee University award

Kirsty Gunn, one of the team who created 'In Memoriam'. Picture: TSPL
Kirsty Gunn, one of the team who created 'In Memoriam'. Picture: TSPL
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DUNDEE University’s Stephen Fry Award for Excellence in Public Engagement with Research has been won by the team behind an anthology celebrating the people who donate their bodies to science when they die.

• Prize awarded to ‘In Memoriam’ book project, documenting bodies donated for medical research

• Award given to researchers who create greatest engagement with public

“In Memoriam” celebrates the men and woman whose decision to donate their bodies for research helps to train the next generation of doctors, scientists, dentists and surgeons. The book features work from internationally renowned artists and writers, who collaborated with staff and students at the university to create the publication.

The project was driven by Calum Colvin, Eddie Small, Anna Day and Kirsty Gunn, who received the award, named after the former University Rector, during the annual Discovery Day event at the Dalhousie Building at the university today.

A university spokesman explained: “The project drew on the research and expertise of Professor Sue Black and her team at the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID), who are creating new mortuary facilities to accommodate Thiel embalming and are set to become the first university in the UK to exclusively adopt this method of embalming.

“Since the book’s publication, the University has experienced an increase in the number of people wishing to bequeath bodies upon their passing, while its influence has extended across Scotland, through work with other universities, the Scottish Government and the NHS.”

Dr Jon Urch, the public engagement co-ordinator at the university, said: “This is a truly remarkable book that not only pays tribute to the silent teachers but also raises awareness of the vital role that those who donate their bodies play in medical and scientific education and research.

“It is a beautiful publication that demonstrates th university’s strengths in medicine, science, art, and the humanities. Renowned artists and writers came together to make In Memoriam possible and it reflects the interdisciplinary approach that marks out the university’s approach to research and public engagement”

He added: ““In Memoriam has undoubtedly raised the awareness of body donation both locally and nationally, and the success of this innovative and unique project can be measured by the increase in the number of bequeathals to the university.”

The Stephen Fry Award for Excellence in Public Engagement with Research celebrates the sharing of the world-class research carried out at Dundee with the wider public and is given to the researchers who have made the greatest contribution to public engagement in the past year.