Announcing… the Bake Your Research winners 2021!

It's the day after the Great British Bake Off final and we're reeling from the result, but did you know that the OU has it's very own baking extraordinaires?


Last week (Thursday November 18 2021) saw the return of the much loved annual Bake Your Research competition for OU post-graduate research students and staff.

At the in-person competition on campus, twelve postgraduate research student competitors from across the faculties produced amazing showstopping bakes that communicated their research topic. 

We were even lucky enought to try a few – and they were as delicious as they were creative, innovative, and informative. 

They were judged by Professor Marcia Wilson (Dean for EDI) and Professor Lindsay O’Dell (Graduate School Director) who were delighted by the quality of the research communication and bakes.

The winners of the judged in-person event were:

  • 1st prize Anna Madeley (WELS) for her gingerbread masterpiece ‘Morning sickness? Have you tried ginger?’, pictured below.

Speaking to The Hoot, Anna said:

“I’m utterly blown away to have been chosen as the winner of this years face to face competition. It means so much to be able to share a collaborative space with PGRS from a huge variety of disciplines… 

Bake your research is such a unique way of disseminating often complex and challenging subjects and methods- mine focussing on choices in childbearing- that compliments more traditional methods, demonstrating the innovative approach the Open University has to supporting and sharing its students work”

  • 2nd prize David Elliott (STEM) for his amazing ‘Plastic Fantastic’ bake, pictured below.

  • 3rd prize Annie Lennox (STEM) for her delicious cheesecake depiction of craters on Mercury, pictured below.

Speaking to The Hoot, Annie said:

‘Bake Your Research’ was a welcome opportunity to unwind and have some fun. 

Having started remotely with the OU, it was so exciting to meet people and do some socialising after a long period of isolation. 

I think good public engagement and being able to effectively communicate your research are some of the most valuable skills, and this allowed you to practice these skills while enjoying a slice of something sweet. 

It was a surprise and a delight to have been placed.

Online competition

One of the good things to come out of the campus closure was that we got our online community involved with things that had up till then been campus-based, and Bake Your Research was no exception. 

Following on from 2020’s extremely successful online competition, this year saw a gallery of nine splendid online entries that the OU staff and student community were able to judge.

By the end of the voting period, 161 votes had been cast and Katie Jones’ (WELS) exquisite depiction of her research ‘Postpartum Anxiety risk factors, triggers and trajectories’ was crowned Community Choice!

Speaking to The Hoot, Katie said:

I feel honoured to have won the ‘People’s choice’ award for Bake Your Research 2021 and been given the opportunity to get people thinking about perinatal mental wellbeing. 

This is an incredibly important topic as rates of perinatal mental health difficulties have increased dramatically in the UK during the pandemic. 

It has been wonderful to receive so many positive comments regarding my cake, particularly from people with lived experience of mental health difficulties during pregnancy and following childbirth, as these families are at the heart of my research. 

Thank you to everyone who liked, commented, or voted! If anyone would like further information about perinatal anxiety and distress please do get in touch!


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Gabby Willis

Gabby is a member of the Students Association staff team.

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