A new prize at the MRS Awards 2019 will honour one of the sector’s most prominent female pioneers, Dr Liz Nelson OBE, by celebrating research as a force for good.

The Liz Nelson Award for Social Impact has been named for the Taylor Nelson Sofrès (TNS) founder and the judges will be looking for projects that have benefited deserving causes, had a positive impact on society and demonstrated the power of research outside of the commercial sphere. 


Dr Nelson was educated in the USA and London, where she gained a PhD in clinical psychology and founded and chaired Taylor Nelson Sofrès (TNS) from 1965 until 1992.  She was awarded an OBE in 1997 for services to ecolabelling and holds honorary doctorates from City University and the Open University. 

Throughout her career Dr Nelson has held a number of prominent positions including chairman of the Marketing Group of Great Britain, chair of the South West London National Health Service Trust, chair of Stargate Capital Investment Group Ltd and vice-chair of the Open University.

A recipient of the MRS Gold Medal in 1993 for exceptional service to the profession and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women Who Make a Difference International Women’s Forum in 2011, Dr Nelson is currently executive chairman of Fly Research and serves on the Catalyst Fund for BBC Media Action. She is also deputy chairman of the Cambridge Alumni Communication Committee and an MRS Board member. 

Jane Frost CBE, chief executive of MRS, says: “We are delighted to launch this new award that recognises the positive impact of research beyond our sector.  At a time when negative news threatens to overwhelm us, it is more important than ever to shine a light on these important projects. Throughout her career and time spent as an MRS Awards judge, I have seen first-hand Liz’s passion for promoting worthy and socially beneficial work. It feels more than fitting that her name will now be a mark of excellence for those that follow in her trailblazing footsteps.”

The winner of the Liz Nelson Award for Social Impact will be chosen from the finalists in the other awards categories and announced at the MRS Awards ceremony on Monday 2 December.

You can listen to an interview with Liz Nelson about her life and career which was recorded as part of the Oral History of Market Research initiative.

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