Five outstanding organisations who have been using research to positively impact society have been nominated for one of MRS’ most prestigious awards.

The President's Medal is awarded annually to an organisation that has conducted extraordinary research but who might not be recognised through the usual channels. This year's nominees were chosen by President of MRS Jan Gooding, Chair of MRS Phyllis Macfarlane and CEO of MRS Jane Frost CBE.

The Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund and supported by the UK Research Council, have been gathering data on the use of antibiotics in unmapped and inaccessible villages in rural Thailand and Laos with the ingenious use of freely available online satellite images. Researchers use the images to identify representative clusters of potential participants.

Forcier Consulting & Catholic Relief Services used an innovative mixed-methods approach to broaden the understanding of the barriers menstrual hygiene presents to the education of girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their findings provided vital insight for organisations tackling the specific challenges that girls face in living in healthy ways and receiving an education across the country, including in camps for displaced persons.

Since 1996 Groundswell have been working with homeless people to help them take control of their lives and have a greater influence on the services they need. Having found that many of the participants they gather insight from mistrust ‘formal researchers’ who represent authority figures, they train people who have experienced homelessness themselves to work as peer researchers. This gives them a unique grassroots insight into the realities of homelessness.

StreetInvest, who won the President’s Medal in 2015 for their Growing Up on the Streets project, are now recognised for their work with Big Sofa. Their ethnographic research project used video to explore street children's realities. A state-of-the-art online platform provided a visual insight system, a shared resource where interviews could be organised and searched, with detailed themes or dialogue from individual interviews aggregated into a series of macro ideas.

The final nominee  arose from Paragon Partnerships. Launched at Impact 2016, the MRS Annual Conference, by Stan Sthanunathan of Unilever in response to the UN’s 17th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), Paragon Partnerships calls on the private sector to help the UN achieve the SDG’s by 2030.

The UN SDG Action Campaign, sponsored by Kantar Public and Lightspeed, developed and tested a question library of almost 100 SDG questions. This huge project constituted the first step to enable countries to measure their journey to the accomplishment of the SDGs in a consistent way. Data from the library was presented at a UN High Level Political Forum in July 2018 and is also publically available for any government organisation or NGO to use.

The winner will be announced at the MRS Awards on 3 December at Old Billingsgate, London. Tickets can be purchased here.

A full list of finalists for the other MRS Awards can be found here.

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