Archive for May, 2013

Upcoming Catalyst activities

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Catalyst activities coming up

1. British Ecological Society

Helen’s been working with a great crew of people who are going to festivals over the summer to take ecology to young people. They are piloting their activities at Imperial Science Festival (4 May) [] before going to Wychwood at the end of May, Green Man, Larmer Tree and Butserfest. The events will celebrate 100 years of the British Ecology Society. You can follow the activities of the team on their blog.

2. If the hat fits…. 9 May, 11-3pm

Drop in to this free event in the forum run by one of our Seed Fund awardees: the Lived Experience Group (LEG). The LEG work with researchers in the Mood Disorders Centre and they want share their experiences of being part of a research group as well as giving people the chance to find out a bit more about depression. There’s even free cake!

3. Falmouth Cafe Scientifique – first event and Facebook group, 8 May

We’re delighted to hear that the first Falmouth Cafe Scientifique event is going to play host to our very own Sasha Dall talking on “Unintelligent design: understanding the complexities of life”. This will be a broad introduction to the modern study of evolutionary biology with particular focus on animal behaviour. You can follow the Falmouth Science Cafe on facebook now.

4. Mental illness on film: Stigma and ‘The Soloist’ 10 May

Join Dr Susan Kelly (Egenis) and Dr Daniel Racey (University of Exeter Medical School) and Dr Helen Featherstone (University of Exeter) in the Chair for a free screening of the film The Soloist, directed by Joe Wright and starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. This event is free but ticketed – tickets from RAMM: in person, or phone 01392 265858, or .
Gallery 20, RAMM, Queen Street, Exeter. Further

5. Science Communication Conference, 19 May

Helen’s been invited to speak at the Science Communication Conference. Along with Paul Manners, Huw James and Brigitte Nerlich they will be opening up conversations about the gaps and/or bridges between Science Communication researchers, Scientists who communicate and Science Communicators. Looking at the delegate list, it’s going to be a lively debate.

What’s been happening

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1. Catalyst project update

We’ve had a busy couple of weeks with our first round of Seed Funds being awarded, our end of year report going to RCUK and our External Advisory Board meeting on 1 May. We spent a great day with the successful Seed Fund applicants and colleagues exploring key ideas for the projects. The External Advisory Board lived up to their brief of being our critical friends giving us lots to think about. Full reports to come!


2. Science at Work, Penryn College

Claire Young spent a day at Penryn College’s Science at Work day where over 200 year 8 pupils had a chance to talk to people from 12 organisations who use science at work. Kate Whetter who organised the event was delighted with how it went, with the Head of Science commenting that it was the best event he’d seen in his 20+ years of teaching. Claire commented on the day:

“I enjoyed chatting to the kids about my job and asking them what they wanted to do in the future. A lot of them told me that they wanted to do jobs that involve science, which is really positive and exciting. I think the day really inspired them and got them thinking about what they could do and how science is involved in their everyday lives.”

3. Dance Network Active research bursaries

As part of the Catalyst Seed Fund scheme Kerry Chappell has two bursaries available for dance teachers/educators to reflect on their practice and work with Kerry based on her AHRC-funded Dance Partners for Creativity Research Project. Full information here.

4. ESI open day and video

One of our Champions for Public Engagement, Caitlin Desilvey was part of the ESI launch week. She reflects on her experiences here:

“On Tuesday I spent a few hours with 10 very enthusiastic and inspired 10 year olds as part of the ESI launch week activities. The students, all in Year 5 at Penryn School, visited the ESI to talk about their favourite places in Cornwall, and what makes these places special. The students had been asked to do some research in advance of their visit, and came prepared with photos, sketches and short essays. Many of the favourite places were coastal–Gwithian Beach, Flushing Pier, Kynance Cove–but Tehidy Woods and Glasney Woods also featured, as did the Falmouth Art Gallery.

We started with the students sharing their places, and we also also talked about what we need to do to make sure these places stay special in the future. I explained that we needed their help in doing some research, and that what we do in the ESI is research places (environment) and how to keep them healthy and whole in the future (sustainability). The students took their research task very seriously, and created an amazing scroll with detailed drawings of their favourite places, populated by people, squirrels, dogs, crabs, dolphins and other creatures. Some of their work is featured an a short film about the day (, along with footage of the workshops attended by 130 older students. The ESI was buzzing!”

The feedback from the students and teachers we very positive with one student at Penair School commenting “it was fascinating to learn about what they are researching right now and to see the actual equipment they use for research – not set up as in a presentation – but actually in their labs and offices”

Upcoming events and opportunities

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Events and opportunities      

1. Research Focus Week 13-17 May

Find out what’s on offer to support you in your research career. With events linked to the Research Toolkit this is going to be a busy, fun and useful week. Come along to the Public Engagement session at 1pm, Tuesday 14, Washington Singer Labs 219 for an interactive, practical guide to getting started with Public Engagement.

2. Volunteers for the Royal Society Summer Science exhibition – deadline 17 May

If you want to see behind the scenes of the world famous Summer Science exhibition then you could volunteer to help out. The exhibition runs 1-7 July and is normally packed with enthusiastic exhibitors and visitors. They are looking for support in the exhibition and also in the online outputs. Full details are in this document. If you follow the PSCI-Com email list then you’ll know this offer has not been without controversy. What’s your opinion on volunteering?

3. Social Enterprise Business Idea Competition – Prize £1000, deadline 24 May

The University of Bath’s School of Management and the Volunteer Centre (Bath and North East Somerset) are looking for business ideas to enable the Volunteer Centre to identify viable income streams so it can move away from relying on grants to fund its work.

To enter the first round of the competition put together a 250-word article and submit it by 24 May. Shortlisted entries will then have to put together a short video. The winning entry will present their idea at a gala reception in Bath and receive a cheque for £1,000. Full details here: Volunteer Centre competition.

4. Standing up for Science – 14 June (deadline for applications 31 May)

Free workshop for PGR and ECR at the Society for Biology. Run by Sense about Science the workshop will cover what journalists are looking for, how statistics get use (and abused) and plenty of top tips. Places are limited and it’s competitive: send a CV and short cover letter to Victoria by FRIDAY 31  MAY 2013.

5. ESRC Festival of Social Science call for applications, deadline 3 June (event 2-9 November)

This year the festival will run from 2-9 November.  There are two types of application:

•           You are able to apply for a maximum of £2,000 support from the ESRC to run an event (deadline Monday 3 June 2013).

•           You are also able to hold an event but not apply for funding.  Applications are being invited notify us of your event, which you would like to be included in the Festival programme (deadline Friday 7 June 2012).

The Festival targets non-academic audiences including young people, third sector, the public, business or government.   Please note that organisations external to the ESRC are also welcome to apply for support and to participate in the Festival. For more information about the Festival or to make an application please visit

6. Creative Writing Competition – Stem Cell Stories, deadline 30 June

EuroStemCell and the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine have just launched their first ever non-fiction writing competition. There are categories for imaginative science writing, graphic non-fiction and non-fiction poetry. Prizes include €300 for first prize and €50 for runners up. Full details here

7. British Ecological Society Outreach Grant, deadline 17 September

The British Ecological Society encourages its members and others to promote ecological science to a wide audience. To this end, we offer Outreach Grants of up to £2,000.

8. Do you like science writing?

Look here for some sage words of advice – key science writers discuss their work.

9. Save the date: 6th Living Knowledge Conference, 9-11 April, Copenhagen, Denmark

An Innovative Civil Society: Impact through Co-creation and Participation

The conference will seek to explore experiences with research and innovation for, with and by civil society, and develop policy recommendations and articulate research needs within community-based research and research focusing on societal challenges.

The call for proposals is open and you can find out more at their website

10. Save the date: International Public Communication of Science and Technology 5-8 May 2014, Salvador, Brazil

Follow them on Facebook and check out their website.


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