Ambassador: Joanne Tipper
- Current role:
- Academic (teaching and research)
- University of Leeds
I was awarded a PhD in Microbiology in 1994. In 1996 I joined the Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (iMBE) at the University of Leeds. I have since played a key role in the integrated biomaterials/biological research approach to joint replacements, with particular interests in wear, wear debris analysis and functional biocompatibility of joint replacement prostheses. I was awarded an EPSRC Advanced Fellowship in 2002 and have subsequently been appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Medical Engineering, at the iMBE at the University of Leeds. Part of my role is PE academic lead for the institute, and I am also the School Liaison Officer for the School of Mechanical Engineering.
What motivated you to engage with the public?
I am always interested in developing new materials for a different audience or age group, and I am currently working to develop additional resources to support our Great Bones workshop, and am currently in the process of developing a workshop for primary school children. In addition, I am offering “Science in Society” undergraduate projects for Biological Science and Microbiology students, which will culminate in the delivery of both primary and secondary school workshops on joints and tissue engineering, respectively.
Describe the public engagement work you have done
Since joining the iMBE in 1996, I have regularly participated in a variety of different public engagement (PE) activities, first as a facilitator and now as PE academic lead for the institute. I also have a role as the School Liaison Officer for the School of Mechanical Engineering. As an institute we have participated in NAGTY workshops, have held two EPSRC Public Awareness Awards and in March 2005 opened an exhibition at the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds “New Joints for Old”. This has attracted over 70,000 visitors and continues to support a programme of study sessions and workshops for school children aged 14 to 16. As academic lead I now regularly organise and deliver a hands on practical workshop, Great Bones, in schools throughout the Yorkshire region. I also host visits practical workshops on campus, and work closely with the widening participation officer for the Faculty of Engineering. These workshops are aimed at Key Stages 3 & 4 (see attached flyer) and are very popular with children of all abilities. Recently we have delivered Great Bones at Skipton Girls High School, an engineering specialist school, and as part of a programme of events for National Science Week, Leeds Festival of Science, and the Reach for Excellence Scheme. In addition to these events I also organise an exhibit at Otley Science Fair, a one day annual science festival attracting >800 visitors.
As an institute we have participated in the Royal Society Summer Exhibition in 2005, and were invited to Buckingham Palace in 2006, and featured on the BBC news. More recently (March 09) we were invited by the EPSRC to participate in Pioneers09 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qv6rOMEV9c) and the NHS Health Innovation Expo (June 09) in order to showcase EPSRC funded research to the public, NHS and government, which generated global publicity.
In addition, I am currently liaising with Patricia Gray, the Faculty of Engineering Research Training and Development Officer to develop ideas for a PE funding application, and to devise and judge an internal competition, “Best Personal Contribution to Public Engagement”, which is open to all researchers in the Faculty of Engineering.
Name: Joanne Tipper