Exeter researcher receives distinguished Philip Leverhulme Prize

Posted on 3rd November 2022

A University of Exeter researcher has been named among the winners of the 2022 Philip Leverhulme Prizes.

Dr Sarah Bell, a Senior Lecturer in Health Geography at the University’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health, is one of the winners who will each receive a £100,000 award from the Leverhulme Trust to support and advance their research.

The Philip Leverhulme Prizes are offered to researchers at an early stage in their research career whose work has had an international impact and whose future career is exceptionally promising. This year, 30 prizes were awarded to researchers recognised in the Archaeology; Chemistry; Economics; Engineering; Geography; Languages and Literatures field.

Receiving an award in the Geography category, Dr Bell’s main research focus explores the links between disability, wellbeing, and the physical, social and cultural environments encountered through the life course.

In response to her award, Dr Bell said: “I’m incredibly touched to have been considered for the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Geography, let alone awarded it!

‘’Most of my research over the last ten years has explored experiences of ‘nature’, wellbeing and disability. This work has challenged the ableist assumptions that often underpin prominent discourses around nature and wellbeing while developing collaborative opportunities to curate new disability-led nature narratives and encounters.

‘’More recently, it has felt increasingly important to understand not just how people are interacting with the world as it is now, but also how to cope and adapt in the face of accelerating climate change. As I started to look into this, it was clear how little had been done around climate change and disability, particularly climate adaptation – beyond the somewhat homogenised ‘single story’ of climate vulnerability.

“I’m excited that this award will enable me to build on this early scoping work, in collaboration with some fantastic people both within and beyond academia!’’

Professor Anni Vanhatalo, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research and Impact at the University of Exeter’s Medical School said: “A huge congratulations to Dr Sarah Bell on winning such a prestigious award. The University of Exeter is delighted to have hugely talented researchers such as Sarah who is making major contributions in our Public Health and Sport department.’’

To learn more or find the full list of the Philip Leverhulme Prizes, click here

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