Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Early Carreer Award for an Affiliate Member of the UoN Social Psychology Lab by Sylvie Graf

On 2nd June, Sylvie Graf - an Affiliate Member of the UoN Social Psychology Lab - received an Otto Wichterle Award from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, her home institution. You may not know Otto Wichterle but you probably do know about his invention – soft contact lenses. Otto Wichterle lent his name to an honorary recognition for “selected, exceptionally outstanding, promising young scientists at the Czech Academy of Sciences for their remarkable contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge in a given area of science”.

Sylvie describes the festive event:
"The laureates attended Vila Lana, a representative building of the Czech Academy of Sciences, to receive the Award during an official ceremony. Unlike Oscar winners, we were not given space to thank those who contributed to our award. Here, I would like to express how much indebted I feel to two UoN academics – Dr Stefania Paolini and Dr Mark Rubin. I was lucky to collaborate with Drs Paolini and Rubin during my 9-month stay at the University of Newcastle, starting in October 2012. The collaboration has decisively boosted my knowledge, skills and orientation in the field. Drs Paolini and Rubin were always prepared to contribute with an immense share of work to our joint projects or help with key advice. I am sure I would not have been a candidate for the prize without their continuous kind support.

Our collaboration has not ended with my departure from Newcastle and I’m happy to continue with exciting joint projects. Currently, we are preparing an article about the role of intimate contacts in the effect of negative and positive intergroup interactions on prejudice reduction, another article about ambivalent contact experiences and a book chapter about valence in intergroup contact. Our collaboration has generated many thrilling ideas and the Otto Wichterle Award is yet another indicator of how fruitful it has been."