FEATURE7 December 2017

Young Researcher of the Year: Amy Jones and Mathilde Leblond

Awards Features People Public Sector UK

At this year’s MRS Awards, Amy Jones of 2CV and Mathilde Leblond of FreshMinds were named joint winners of the Young Researcher of the Year award.

Young researcher of the year_MRS_crop

The award recognises new ambassadors for the sector who make an impact in market research beyond their day jobs.

Amy Jones, evidence manager at 2CV, is part of the agency’s team working on Girl Effect and TEGA (Technology Enabled Girl Ambassadors), an initiative which enables girls worldwide to become qualified market researchers.

As part of her role, Jones has travelled to government red zones across Nigeria and Rwanda to deliver training she has designed, helping girls gain MRS accreditation. She also built the Nigeria & Rwanda Girl Effect team, and evaluated a phone line providing advice for girls in Nigeria, ‘Girls Connect’. Jones designed the approach and managed the project, which involved observation, diaries, cultural scoping, data integration and workshops with girls and parents.

Natalie Au, global gender director at Girl Effect, said Jones’ leadership of the research for Girl Effect has produced “insightful, thorough and applicable results”. She added: “The work she’s led has truly helped us to evolve and develop the product to be more effective and relevant for girls.”

Other recent projects include work on 2CV’s integrated TfL account – including the evaluation of tactile paving for those with visual impairments and the user experience of a new ticketing app – after which TfL requested Jones to join the company on a six-month secondment.

Mathilde Leblond, meanwhile, joined FreshMinds in September 2016 as an entry-level associate and has since been promoted twice, to her current role of consultant at the firm.

Recent work includes a project utilising WhatsApp for retrospective analysis and Nest Cams for ethnography to passively film participants at home. She also recently worked on an insight-led prototyping project for Just Eat, and oversaw the development of a placebo app to test young adults’ attitudes towards passive tracking on behalf of BARB.

Leblond was also named winner of Google’s Startup Weekend event, in which she developed a startup from idea to pitch in 54 hours.

Chris Thompson, head of innovation at FreshMinds, praised Leblond’s ability to “combine lateral and commercial thinking”, adding: “She doesn’t just analyse what people say, she extrapolates this to what it means for product and commercial strategy execution.”

The judges said: “Mathilde has a flair for new methodologies and has made some great contributions on the conference platform, while we were incredibly impressed by Amy’s work worldwide to bring the benefits of research to vulnerable communities.”

Pictured from L-R: MRS Awards host Susan Calman; Amy Jones; Mathilde Leblond; Research Live editor and chair of the judges Jane Bainbridge