Archive for September, 2013

Public Engagement seed funds – round 2 open

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We delighted to announce that our Public Engagement seed funds are open again. The seed funds are available to support activities which embed a culture of PE with research. See the call document and application for full details: Catalyst seed fund round 2

Upcoming opportunities

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1: 9 September, Business Leaders Forum

Two key themes for discussion (I) the research findings ‘innovative interventions designed to increase women’s motivation to both enter and succeed within male-dominated professions’ and (ii) the process ‘how business and academia can engage in two- way knowledge transfer’.

Further details about the event and how to register can be found here:

2: University of Bristol Engage conference: 18 September

There are still a few places left at at Engage – the University of Bristol’s free annual conference about public engagement. The finalised timetable is now available; alongside discussions about various aspects of public engagement there will be case studies highlighting recent examples of excellent engagement – from social media to working with patients.

For more details see web: and register at:

3: British Ecological Society Outreach Grants: deadline 17 September

Grants of up to £2,000 are available to promote ecological science to a wide audience.  Project aims can include stimulating discussion about ecology and its societal implications, increasing knowledge and inspiring people, and developing skills in communicating ecology.

For more information see web:

4: Royal Society Partnership Grants scheme: deadline 1 November

The next round of the Royal Society’s Partnership Grants will open for applications in September. Through the scheme, grants of up to £3,000 will be available to support teachers, scientists and engineers help develop science projects, with the aim of making the teaching science more interesting within primary and secondary schools. Any UK primary or secondary school teacher and practising scientist/engineer can apply as long as the students involved in the project are between 5 and 18.

For more information see web:

5: 23 & 24 September, UK Community Partner Summit, Bristol. Do spread the word to your community partners and be sure to let them know that their travel and accommodation costs are covered by the grant. UK_CPSummit_Sep13_A5

Summit places are being prioritised for community partners ideally with a link to a community organisation and at least some experience of community university partnership working. The community partner working group is busy finalising the programme detail, however we know that community partners attending can expect:

– a delicious lunch to kick start the event, meet each other and relax

– an inspiring keynote speech from Ann-Gel Palermo, Harlem Community & Academic Partnership, New York about ways to create strong community university partnerships

– a showcase of projects and presentations from community partners across the UK working in a range of research, student placement, teaching and public access partnerships

– an informative outline of the Higher Education context within which we aim to build mutually beneficial partnerships

– a choice of workshops and round table discussions: Getting Started; Avoiding and Resolving Problems; Influencing National Policy and Practice; Shaping the UK Community Partner Network.

– a scrumptious networking dinner, good company and comfy hotel rooms!

Please note that in this context community partners is really broadly defined – to include voluntary organisations, charities, cultural organisations, community based organisations etc etc.

6: CFP 18 September deadline for 6 & 7 March event: Visitor Studies: it’s all about relationships

The theme of the 2014 VSG Conference will be Visitor Studies: It’s all about Relationships and will be held on 6th and 7th of March 2014 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London.

The conference will explore the relationship between cultural organisations and their visitors and the equally important relationship between visitor studies and internal and external stakeholders. How can visitor studies have a real impact on the work of colleagues, leaders, funders and other decision makers?

Want to get involved? The Conference will include a range of formats, lasting approximately 45 minutes to one hour each, and include interactive workshops, presentations of case studies with Q&A and panels sessions. Please download the call for proposals from our website for ideas of how you can contribute.

Final date for proposal submissions is Wednesday 18th September. Contact Sheena at  for

7:  Flowers Fellow for PhD students

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) is offering a three month fellowship to a PhD student from a UK university funded by the Nuffield Foundation in memory of its late Chairman, Lord Flowers of Queen’s Gate. The Foundation will fund one Flowers Fellow each year from 2013 to 2018.

The Flowers Fellow will work on a project in any area of science or technology policy and may produce a short briefing note (a ‘POSTnote’), another form of report or work with Select Committees in a way to be agreed with POST. The Fellow will be based at the offices of POST at Parliament in London.

The Flowers Fellowship is open to postgraduate students registered for a PhD in a UK University and in their penultimate or final year of part-time or full-time study, starting in 2013 / 2014 in any field of science or technology. Applicants will be required to obtain approval from their PhD Supervisor and Head of Department.

The Fellow will receive a three month extension to their PhD stipend at a rate equivalent to their current PhD maintenance stipend. Please note that this will be capped in line with the rate set for UK-EU students. For students who are based outside reasonable commuting distance of London, an extra allowance will contribute to travel and accommodation needs. The Nuffield Foundation will reimburse the University for these costs.

The Fellow will be responsible for suspending her/his university registration for the duration of the Fellowship. University fees will not be covered by this award.

The Flowers Fellowship is a competitive award and interviews will be held at POST’s Westminster offices in London in November. The offer is conditional on obtaining parliamentary security clearance. The successful applicant can take up the fellowship from January 2014 onwards.


Full details on the Nuffield Foundation website:


8: STFC Public Engagement Symposium – free, 25 November 2013

STFC invites all those interested in public engagement (PE) with STFC science and technology to this free one day Public Engagement Symposium, being held on the University of Birmingham campus on 25th November 2013.  Online registration is now open.

The main aims of the symposium are to share best practice; discuss the STFC programme and the UK national ‘context’ for PE; hear of new developments, e.g. in the new & social media; to better understand the benefits of PE to researchers; and to further  build a community of practitioners including networking.   There will be fully interactive workshops on getting funding for PE, new & social media, PE made easy & evaluating your PE work etc.

All researchers who engage with STFC and its supported Laboratories/Facilities are welcome.  We particularly welcome participation by early career researchers, and attending can contribute to researchers’ continuing professional development.  STFC can pay up to £100 towards reasonable actual travel and subsistence costs for STFC-funded PhD students, PDRAs and postdoctoral fellows to attend. Please contact Jane Butt, to check your eligibility.

Champions news

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Our next round of Champions have been announced today:

Ewan Woodley and Stewart Barr, Fran Martin, and Tim Kendall all join the fold. We’re delighted to reveal that we’ve joined forces with the Fellows of the Centre for Leadership Studies in Business School. The CLS Fellows are going to mentor our Champions offering them support and guidance on Leadership.

Caitlin, Sharon and Helen visited the University of Manchester. Manchester was a Beacon for Public Engagement and we wanted to see how they made the transition from a funded project to one where public engagement is embedded in the institution. As with our other visits to UEA and Brighton, it was really inspirational to meet people who are have made the journey before us. We heard about their pitfalls and successes, as well as what is now supporting and maintaining the culture of engagement. We also had a lovely lunch.

Catalyst project news – Summer 2013

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We took a break from the newsletter over the summer thinking there wouldn’t be much to share – how wrong we were!

We’ve had a busy couple of months. Helen helped Jodie West with a creative workshop on apps, new technology and citizen science at the ESI. Read the report here: Outcomes from the Citzen Science. The Catalyst project team had an away day (OK, it was an afternoon in Byrne House, but it worked for us!) where we looking forward to the second half of the Catalyst project and beyond. Lots of great ideas, lots still do, but we feel like we’re well on the way.


All the Catalyst universities got together in July for a quarterly meeting (we’ve another one soon). As well as sharing our ideas and experiences we also talked directly with RCUK and the other research councils and hosted a seminar for the wider RCUK seminar about culture change.

Helen’s been talking with Debbie Myhill and Alison Black about evaluating engagement activities in schools for another RCUK funded project: Schools University Partnership Initiative. We’ve been coming up with interesting, novel and non-intrusive ways of gathering feedback from students.

An important part of engagement is knowing who’s engaging. UWE, Bristol have a research project which is exploring ways of mapping relationships with external partners. Helen participated in a focus group as part of the research project. It was pretty clear there wasn’t going to be a quick and easy answer as relationships are diverse, change in time and space, happen at many levels within institutions and serve many purposes. How do you map something that is constantly in flux?

Over the summer we’ve started to think about how we present our Case Studies of engaged researchers and also what we should include in the Researcher Toolkit. Do let me know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see in the toolkit that could help you with your public engagement work.

Lizzie Dridge is supporting a group of undergraduate bioscience students who are entering the iGem competition. As part of this international competition the team have to undertake a public engagement activity. Helen ran a creative workshop with the team who came up with several great ideas. They could only take one forward which will be an evening event for photography enthusiasts where they will showcase their iGem project: a synthetic biology camera and talk about photography. Let me know if you’d like a similar workshop to develop your own PE activities.

Helen’s also been supporting the British Ecological Society with their centenary celebrations: Sex and Bugs and Rock and Roll. We heard from Sarah Dalesman about her experiences at Wychwood, this time we were rockin’ out at Green Man in the beautiful Brecon Beacons. Over 1500 festival goers came to the tent to talk with the ecologists and take part in the activities. Everyone had an amazing time which even the rain couldn’t spoil.

We worked with the local University of the Third Age (U3A) group to take part in the BBSRC dialogue about bioenergy. Tom Howard joined in the fun and talked about why bioenergy is important and about the research happening in this area at Exeter. There was a lively discussion which was wide ranging: covering topics including cradle-to-grave carbon mapping, population growth, maintenance of soil quality and energy reduction/efficiency.

Coming up we have our annual Catalyst Gathering. We’ll be hosted by Queen Mary University, London and will be spending time discussing the values of our institutions and how they affect our commitment to public engagement. Should be interesting.

Later in September we have an Operational Board Meeting where we’ll be discussing how we reward and recognise publics’ involvement in our research. Here’s the paper outlining the issue: 2013 09 03 Catalyst briefing paper – paying people HF v1. Do let us know if you have any thoughts or comments.

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