Chair of MRS Dr Nick Baker suggests you listen to ‘There she goes' by The La's as a fitting backdrop for this, his take on the MRS Awards 2021.


In leaving the Impact 2020 conference in March that year, little did any of us know that it was one of the last times we'd be able to gather together for such a long time. Covid-times have stretched us, our businesses and the world at large so much, but as we saw at last Monday’s MRS Awards, our sector has risen to the challenge, the need for evidence-based decision making and for impact through what we do. For that not just our nominees and awards winners, but the sector at large should be commended. It's been fantastic to see, whilst something of a long and winding road.

The judges tell me that entries were particularly strong in the areas of public policy, social research and international projects, so it’s reassuring to know that as the world continues to react to the impact of the pandemic and Brexit, research is still at the forefront of informing government and business how citizens and consumers feel.

A lucky few did get to raise a glass to our diamond jubilee in-person at The Langham in September. This, the only face-to-face MRS event held in 2021, was our Excellence Awards. Twenty new Fellows (including six from 2020) were welcomed and a much deserved Gold Medal was presented to my predecessor as Chair of MRS, and a true legend in the sector, Phyllis Macfarlane.

A series of Honorary Fellowships were also announced to mark our 75th to people outside of the usual structure who have championed the power of evidence in their work. My thanks and congratulations to them all, but in particular, I want to take this opportunity to mention John Gambles, who sadly also passed in October this year. John was a true visionary and one I had the pleasure to work with also. He will be hugely missed.

Finally, I can only echo my words of this time last year. Stay safe and well and let’s hope that in 2022 we can celebrate together in the same place again. It's been emotional.

Download the MRS Awards book to read more about all of this year’s winners and why the judges chose them

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