Perspectives 2003 – 2008
- To encourage researchers, at an early stage in their careers, to articulate their research in a social framework by exploring the ethical, social, economic and other societal implications of their work.
- To train researchers in visual and verbal communication.
- To provide an opportunity for researchers to publicise and promote their work.
- To encourage researchers to engage with a public audience and with teenagers as career models.
- To encourage scientists and engineers to visit the British Science Festival.
Summary of activity:
36 researchers are chosen annually and spend one day in London for a training workshop before preparing a poster on their work and exhibiting it at the British Science Festival. Here they use their poster as a means of engaging the public in conversation and can then gauge their views and understanding of the research
Online questionnaire; focus group; analysis of yearly evaluation reports
What went well:
1: Training at workshops is very highly rated by finalists
2: Networking and media are unintended impacts of the scheme and of great value to finalists
3: New features such as hustings at the x-change and displaying posters in shopping centre are popular and useful for target skills.
What was learned:
1: Many of the current objectives are addressed by the nature of the scheme. They are not specific or measurable enough so form new objectives that set specific achievement targets.
2: Finalists want to have more contact with the public as not many people visit the posters and talk to the researchers. Have more targeted publicity.
3: Finalists want to be informed about further public engagement opportunities so consider setting up a monthly newsletter and collect personal email addresses as uni ones expire if they leave.