Under EPSRC's Royal Charter, one of our objectives is to "generate public awareness; communicate research outcomes; encourage public engagement and dialogue; and disseminate knowledge".
As well as encouraging researchers to engage with the public, EPSRC works in partnership with a number of organisations to ensure that we too communicate with a wide public audience. Below are some examples of how we engage with the public;
Cheltenham Science Festival
EPSRC has been a partner of the festival for four years and in 2013, was involved in a range of activities from supporting four events on topics covering advanced materials and energy, to partnering with the Cyber Security Conference, and having exhibit stands in both the Discover Zone and Area 42.
For more information please visit the Cheltenham Science Festival website.
Edinburgh International Science Festival
EPSRC has been a committed supporter of the Edinburgh International Science Festival since 2010. During this time, it has provided exceptional science, engineering and technology events for over 60,000 people.
In 2013, EPSRC supported the Future Cities programme, a key theme of the 25th Anniversary Programme, which explored urban expansion and the future possibilities. This support aligns with a significant area of EPSRC sponsored research, with current investment of around £350 million in research projects dedicated to improving infrastructure.
For more information please visit the Edinburgh International Science Festival website.
Big Bang Fair
EPSRC showcased a successful presence at the festival in March 2013, in the form of an exhibit themed around Advanced Materials. The materials covered included Gallium Nitride, Metamaterials, and Graphene with researchers from the Universities of Cambridge, Southampton and Manchester helping to shape the overall exhibit and man the stand during the Fair.
For more information, please visit the Big Bang Fair website.
Partnership with the Science Museum
EPSRC and the Science Museum are working together to show how the work of scientists contribute to UK manufacturing and growth. The exhibit entitled ‘3D: printing the future’ will open on the 8 October 2013 and will showcase the latest 3D technology and its potential future uses. Visitors will have the chance to view live demonstrations, as well as design and create items.
If you are interested in finding out more about the 3D printing exhibit, please visit the Science Museum Event Page.
Partnership with the National Gallery
EPSRC has entered into a partnership with the National Gallery which aims to highlight the contribution made by science to the world of art. An exhibit will be held, using a micro-positioning easel to examine “colours and pigments”. This will involve exploring the use of colours and pigments in art, how pigments are perceived and how perception can change under certain conditions.
Royal Institution Christmas Lecture
EPSRC had an agreement with the Royal Institution of Great Britain last year to support the 2012 Christmas Lectures. Dr Peter Wothers, an EPSRC senior media fellow, delivered the lecture series entitled “The Modern Alchemist”.
The aim was to deliver lectures that would help inspire the next generation of scientists.
SPHERE- Public Engagement
Sensor Platform for Healthcare in a Residential Environment (SPHERE) is a technology being funded by EPSRC and developed as part of an Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration. The technology intends to provide 24/7 digital home health assistance which relays information directly to your doctor.
As part of the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute launch in July 2013, an audience was shown a presentation of SPHERE which included a short ‘Creature Comforts’ style animation film by Aardman animations. The creatures within the animation voiced opinions which reflected public reaction to SPHERE. The presentation also involved a panel discussion as well as a question and answer session with the audience.
For more information on SPHERE please visit SPHERE's website.
Addressing the public can require a certain set of skills, in particular for communication via the broadcast media, written media and/or high quality presentations or debates.
EPSRC would like to make grant applicants aware of the fact that funding can be requested for media training and should be included within the grant application.
In the past, public engagement has directed researchers to areas and opportunities as well as having the added benefit of aiding career development.
The following are two recommended media training providers:
Impact Media Specialists
Established by David Martin, Impact Media Specialists (IMS) are an experienced production company providing consultancy, coaching and media training to broadcasters, educational organisations, government, government agencies and business specialising in radio, TV and web services. David Martin previously spent 20 years at the BBC as a producer, editor and presenter. He was also a Senior Instructor for BBC News Training for six years and still coaches for the BBC College of Journalism.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07595899386.
Boffin Media are specialist science, environment, space, health and technology journalists producing radio programmes, podcasts and videos. They offer expert training, broadcasting and writing services for clients such as the BBC, Government, research councils, charities and universities. Recent and ongoing productions include the Radio 4 documentary ‘For All Mankind’, the award-winning Space Boffins podcast, the Planet Earth Podcast and TV reports for the European Space Agency. The aim is to prepare people for media interviews as realistically as possible through practice, feedback and expert advice.
For more information contact email@example.com or call 01582 831326.