Researchers responsible for powerful University of Exeter studies showing discrimination in the French maternity system and the lack of BAME volunteers in UK charities have been honoured for their work.
Millie Urquart and Mathys Reiss have both won this year’s Hutton Prize for Excellence, awarded annually to undergraduate or postgraduate students in either the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences or Business School.
The Hutton Prize rewards, encourages and inspires those who put ethical conduct and transparency at the forefront of government, business and the professions. Recipients are given one Troy ounce of gold formed into a medal.
Millie’s research showed how African migrant women experience unsatisfactory perinatal care and health outcomes in the French maternity system. She explored the roles of discrimination, the biological effects of social stress, and the enduring effect of outdated practices and teachings on perinatal care.
Mathys’s research shows how third sector institutions lack BAME volunteers and sets out recommendations about how to improve diversity and participation across the sector. The research is already influencing practice in Cornish charities, and within the University of Exeter, where Business School students must undertake a compulsory 3rd year work placement in the third sector.
Dr Urquart said: “I was so thrilled to find out that my dissertation was awarded the gold medal for the Hutton Prize for excellence. The recognition of my work accorded by this prize is rendered all the more valuable by the specific nature of the issue as lacking in attention, as African migrant women are chronically underrepresented and disregarded within French institutions and society overall.”
Her supervisor Robin Durie said “Millie Urquhart’s outstanding dissertation addresses a glaring example of unfairness in French healthcare system. Millie has been able to show not just data that indicates that migrant black African women are being discriminated against in the nature of the maternal care that they are receiving, but that their own lived experiences of this discrimination are real and profound. She allows voices to be heard, and descriptions of practices to resonate, which are routinely ignored or overlooked.”
Dr Reiss’s supervisor Constantine Manolchev said: “Mathys research presents worrying instances of volunteering barriers with lack of awareness, time, finances and lack of representation being among them. Issues abound but they are not insurmountable. Academic institutions can, should and must make a difference and failure would be costly.
“Working with Mathys has been a privilege. I have enjoyed and have been challenged by our extended conversations.”
Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Global and Engagement in the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Science, Professor Li Li, said: “The Hutton Prize of Excellence is to recognise and inspire the next generation of young professionals to put ethical conduct at the forefront of their professional practices. It is exciting to see students increasingly conduct projects focusing on appropriate ethics, and I am delighted that we can award two projects this year. Both projects are excellent and ambitious in raising people’s awareness of ethics in practice, offering outstanding contributions and implications. I hope there will be more student projects that demonstrate, propose, and promote high standards of ethical conduct for the tangible benefit of society.”
Associate Dean for Education in the Business School , Professor Beverley Hawkins, said: “The aims and scope of the Hutton Prize are ideally aligned with the University of Exeter’s ambition to create socially responsible graduates who will work to make our social and economic communities greener, fairer and healthier. The recipients of this year’s award are fulfilling these aims before they even graduate, producing work of the highest academic quality, ambition and impact. I am so proud to see our students demonstrating such profound awareness of the centrality of ethical practice to their respective disciplines and to our collective future.”