The MRS President's Medal is awarded annually to an organisation or individual that has made an extraordinary contribution to research, but does not have the institutional framework to be recognised by the standard MRS Awards programme.

“This is the tenth year the President’s Medal has been awarded,” says Jan Gooding, President of MRS. “When it was established I’m sure nobody guessed quite what extraordinary times we’d end up living through, or the extraordinary things those working in research and insight would have to do to adapt to those times.”

“So many projects could have been contenders for the Medal this year, but in the end Nick Baker, Chair of MRS, our CEO Jane Frost and I settled on four truly deserving finalists.”

The finalists are:

akt for the lgbtq+ youth homelessness report


LGBTQ+ youth homelessness is treated as a marginalised issue because not enough data exists around the housing outcomes of LGBTQ+ young people. Service providers, funders and policy makers needed data to fully understand the scope of the issue, so in April 2021 LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity akt launched their Youth Homelessness Report.

It’s the first report of its kind to document the impact of homelessness specifically on LGBTQ+ young people and their experiences of familial and partner abuse and discrimination faced when accessing different services. It directly resulted in new guidance being published by Homeless Link, the national membership charity for homelessness organisations, on how services can better support young trans people in homelessness settings.

You can read the report here:   

Edda Humprecht (pictured) and Frank Esser, University of Zurich, and Peter Van Aelst, University of Antwerp for their paper Resilience to Online Disinformation: A Framework for Cross-National Comparative Research


The massive spread of online disinformation, understood as content intentionally produced to mislead others, has been widely discussed in the context of the UK Brexit referendum and the US general election in 2016. However, in many other countries online disinformation seems to be less prevalent. Citizens in these countries are better able to adapt to overcome challenges such as the massive spread of online disinformation and their exposure to it.

Humprecht, Esser and Van Aelst identified the structural conditions that are theoretically linked to resilience to online disinformation, which relate to different political, media and economic environments. To test these expectations, they identified quantifiable indicators for these theoretical conditions, which allowed them to measure their significance for eighteen Western democracies.

You can read the paper here:

Professor Yvonne Jewkes, University of Bath, for research into the impact of penal architecture on prisoners and prison staff


Professor Jewkes examined all aspects of prison commissioning, procurement, planning and design through a comprehensive qualitative research programme involving prisoners and prison staff spanning more than seven years.

Her research resulted in nine new prisons in England and Wales, the Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand being designed with rehabilitative goals being given at least equal priority to punishment and security objectives. Her findings that ‘normalised’ and more humane living spaces encourage rehabilitation and potentially less recidivism underpin 12 prison refurbishment projects in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

You can read more about the project here:

The Research Department of Behavioural Science and Health at UCL, led by Dr Daisy Fancourt and Professor Andrew Steptoe (pictured), for the Covid-19 Social Study


The Covid-19 Social Study tracks the everyday experiences of more than 70,000 people around the UK through regular online surveys – as well as depth qualitative interviews with 200 participants. The research has found that someone’s experience of the pandemic is largely dependent on their life situation prior to the lockdown, and in particular that ethnic minorities, those who are financially vulnerable, those who come from lower socioeconomic positions and young people are struggling much more than those with greater social privilege.

As well as widespread national media coverage, the Study has provided evidence for many government departments, charities and social businesses - such as Catch22, to whom it offers insights on vulnerable groups, including women who have experienced domestic abuse, those facing financial difficulties and those dependent on drugs or alcohol.

You can read more about the study here

The winner will be revealed during the MRS Awards broadcast on 6 December. Register for free here.

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