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We help universities engage with the public

National schemes

There are a few national schemes that can offer you an opportunity to engage with the public. Here are the ones we know about - but do get in contact if you know of any others.

Scheme: STEM Ambassadors

What’s it all about? The STEM Ambassadors scheme is organised nationally by STEMNET, and run regionally by appointed management contract holders. Ambassadors are an invaluable and free resource for teachers and schools.  They offer their time voluntarily to enthuse and inspire students within schools about STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).  They can do this through a variety of activities such as clubs, careers talks, helping with school events, lessons, competitions, and much more.

What do they expect from you? At least one activity in the first year of registration.

What’s in it for you? The opportunity to interact with, inspire and be inspired by young people; extensive experience of talking about your research, in an engaging way, to non-experts; and expert Public Engagement training contributing to your professional development. You will also receive a free CRB check.

When does it take place? All year round. You can participate as often or as little as you like. You will be expected to attend an induction.

Get involved: To find out more, and to register, visit the website

Scheme: I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here

What’s it all about? ‘I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here’ is a Wellcome Trust funded project which describes itself as ‘school science lessons meet the X Factor’. Over the course of two weeks, participating scientists use the ‘I’m a Scientist’ website to talk to school students. Students then vote for the scientist they would like to win a £500 prize, with which to communicate their work. Scientists with the fewest votes are eliminated until only the winner remains.

What do they expect from you? You must be available to participate in discussions with students over the designated two week period.

What’s in it for you? A £500 contribution to run further public engagement activity, the opportunity to interact with, inspire and be inspired by young people; experience of talking about your research, in an engaging way, to non-experts.

When does it take place? Events take place a couple of times a year. The next event takes place in June 2011.

Get involved: To find out more, and to register, visit the website

Scheme: Famelab

What’s it all about? Famelab is an annual competition to find the next ‘new voice’ of science and engineering. In the UK it is run in partnership with NESTA. There is also a Famelab International competition which is run in partnership with the British Council. Contestants take part in regional heats, where they give a presentation or intriguing demonstration about science or engineering. 10 finalists are chosen to receive training before competing in the final.

What do they expect from you? You will need to be available, both for your regional heats and for the UK final if you are lucky enough to get through. You will also be expected to attend the training provided.

What’s in it for you? You will get the opportunity to take part in a fun event, practice presenting your science to public audiences and if you get through to the final you will also receive special training which will contribute to your professional development. If you are lucky, you might also get the kudos of being a Famelab winner!

When does it take place? Famelab occurs once a year. Heats take place from April onwards, in the run up to the UK final, which takes place in June every year, at Cheltenham Festival of Science.

Get involved: To find out more, and to register, visit the website

Scheme: British Science Association Media Fellowships

What’s it all about? British Science Association Media Fellowships are intended to create a greater awareness and understanding of the workings of the media among practising scientists, social scientists, clinicians and engineers. Media Fellows spend 3 to 8 weeks working with a national press, broadcast or internet journalist, and learning to work within the conditions and constraints of the media to produce accurate and well informed pieces about developments in science.  They then attend the British Science Festival.

What do they expect from you? You will need to be available for a 3 to 8 week placement and to attend the British Science Festival as a representative of your host organisation. You will also be expected to submit a report on your placement and to attend a debriefing session.

What’s in it for you? The opportunity to gain first-hand experience of how the media works and to gain experience of writing for different audiences.

When does it take place? Applications should be submitted between January and March. If successful, you will be matched to a media host. Placements will last 3 to 8 weeks, and will take place between July and October.

 

Get involved: To find out more, and to register, visit the website