Home Of The Brave

This is a post about Valentine’s Day, which falls this year on March 19th.

What? No, no, not that Valentine’s Day. I’m talking – of course – about the day we’re getting together with the Research Liberation Front to present the second annual Ginny Valentine Badge Of Courage Awards.

Ginny Valentine

Ginny Valentine was a pioneering semiotician who fought on behalf of her discipline for decades. It’s largely thanks to her that semiotics has a prominent place in the UK research industry, and she was a well-known, much-loved and deeply inspiring individual. When she died, in 2010, her friends and colleagues wanted to remember her with an award. But not just an award for semiotics, or qual research  – something wider. An award recognising Ginny’s most famed (and feared!) quality – her bravery.

So last year, in London during the MRS conference, there was a little ceremony handing out the first annual Ginny Valentine Badges Of Courage. The award winners ranged from entrepreneurs who’d fought to get their companies started to bold clients who’d broken free of mandated rosters to get the best research. The most shocking and moving story came from Afghanistan, as the awards remembered field workers for ORCA research who had been shot by the Taliban for polling.

As that list of examples shows, there are many definitions of bravery. The awards aren’t looking to put them on an equal footing, but want to reward all forms of courage in the research industry. Bravery, like curiosity, is one of the traits which shows our business at its best.

The awards are decided by public nomination, and we need YOUR help to make sure the bravest get the recognition they deserve. We’d love it if you would nominate or post for someone you feel has shown bravery in the research industry. You can even nominate yourself (which at least proves you have guts!).

The ceremony this year will be in New York, at the GRIT Party alongside the ARF conference, and you’re more than welcome to attend – even if, like me, you’re on the timid side!


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