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Professor David James wins Sir Hugh Owen 2022 medal to make it three in a row for Cardiff University

21 November 2022

Prof David James

Professor David James has become the third School of Social Sciences academic to receive the Hugh Owen Medal from the Learned Society of Wales in three consecutive years.

The Professor of Sociology of Education follows Professor EJ Renold and Professor Sally Power in 2021 and 2020 respectively, who also won the prestigious award, which celebrates outstanding educational research in Wales.

The third win in a row adds to Cardiff University’s history with the award, with Professor Chris Taylor winning the inaugural medal in 2017.

Professor James was awarded the medal for excellence in research and contributions to research capacity in Wales.

He was founding Director of the Wales Doctoral Training Partnership and recently chaired the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) panel assessing the quality of educational research across the UK.

On receiving the award, he said:

I’m utterly delighted and greatly honoured to receive the prestigious Hugh Owen Medal from the Learned Society of Wales. I’ve been engaged in education research for around 35 years, and easily the most exciting and productive of those years have been in Wales.
Professor David James Professor of Sociology of Education

“I’m most grateful to Professor Hywel Thomas and the committee of the Learned Society. Secondly, I’d like to thank my colleagues Professor Tom Hall and Professor Alison Bullock for nominating me. Thirdly, I want to thank all those colleagues with whom I work closely, whether it’s in teaching or research.

“It’s a joy to do these things in collaboration with people who understand that the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts.”

Professor James recently completed a collaborative research project on college governance and is part of an international team investigating digital changes in work and their implications for lifelong learning.

Professor Renold won the medal in 2021.

On receiving the award at the time, they said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be awarded the Hugh Owen Medal this year.

Winning this award meant such a great deal because it recognises and platforms the significance of innovative education research in Wales, which in my field is how creative and co-produced research with young people, teachers and youth workers can inform sexuality and relationships education policy and practice.
Professor EJ Renold Professor of Childhood Studies

Find out more about how Professor Renold’s work has made sure the views of young people are central to new legislation and policies and an upcoming event around their work.

Professor Power, Director of Education at the Welsh Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD), won it in 2020 for her outstanding educational research.

On winning the award, she said:

I feel really honoured to have been awarded this medal. I have been very lucky in working with some wonderful colleagues over the years, and am grateful for all those organisations and individuals which have funded and participated in my research.
Professor Sally Power WISERD Co-director

“I would also like to thank the Learned Society of Wales for providing a platform to showcase education research. Developing a sustainable and vibrant research community is so very important for the future of Wales.”

Professor Power is a regular speaker on the international stage and is a member of numerous panels in the UK and overseas. She has been part of successful bids for over £10 million of grant awards and has two books published with Policy Press.

A portrait photo of a Cardiff University academic.

On receiving his award in 2017, Professor Taylor said:

I am very honoured to have been awarded the first Hugh Owen Medal. It is important we recognise the importance of research in the Welsh education system. Without this we cannot be confident that our education policies and practices address the right issues or will deliver effective results.
Professor Chris Taylor Academic Director, SPARK

The Hugh Owen Medal is named in honour of Sir Hugh Owen and is awarded in recognition of significant contributions to educational research, or the application of research innovations in education policy and professional educational practice in Wales.

The award is supported by Welsh Government and fulfils the Society’s strategic objective of recognising and celebrating excellence in scholarly disciplines connected to Wales.

Find out more about the Learned Society of Wales.

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