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Deputy Chief Operating Officer recognised at Pride of Newcastle University Awards

The Pride of Newcastle University Awards recognise student and alumni achievements and contribution to university life and the wider community.

This year, the university introduced a special category – an award that recognises Outstanding Alumni Support during the Covid-19 Pandemic. This category is to recognise those students and alumni who have made a real difference in combating the virus in the past 12 months.

Chris Speed, Deputy Chief Operating Officer for NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria was recognised in this category for his outstanding work in ensuring COVID 19 vaccine research has been accessible to a range of communities who to date tend not to be included in mainstream health research. These are the communities with the poorest health outcomes and therefore stand to gain most from taking part in the research.

On the night it was announced that all of the nominees in this category were winners, the host said “We had so many impressive nominees that it was impossible to draw up a finalists. All of our nominees for the COVID 19 heroes in our alumni group are winners and we want to recognise everyone one of them.” 

Chris continued: “To be recognised for this work is an honour. As a community of health and social care professionals we have come together to respond to COVID 19. My colleagues in the NHS and various voluntary organisations have given their time and good will to support our work to ensure that we continue to drive forward inclusivity in health and social care research. Thank you to Newcastle University for this award and congratulations to all of the other winners in this category.” 

Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health at Gateshead Council and Local Authority Representative on Partnership Group for NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria was also recognised. During the pandemic she has spoken on local radio (Radio Newcastle) and TV (Look North), giving updates on Covid restrictions and clarifying their meaning. Her contributions have been widely praised. 

Professor Caroline Wroe, Clinical Director for NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria said: “I am delighted that both Chris and Alice have been recognised for their work, Chris for his invaluable contribution to improving access to information and enabling participation in COVID-19 vaccine research and Alice for her strong and clear leadership in the Public Health Sector. We are proud that they are both members of the Clinical Research Network family in our region.”

You can view the videos Chris worked on and read more about the work here: Reaching diverse communities for COVID-19 vaccine research

You can watch the full awards here: Link to awards ceremony on Facebook