Archive for January, 2014

January news

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Welcome to the New Year Catalyst blog (can we still get away with saying it’s New Year?). Lots to report despite the seasonal break:

Catalyst news

1. Seed funds – round 2

We’ve announced the next round of Catalyst Seed Funds which includes a really mixed range of activities. We’ve got projects that have been initiated from outside the university; Professors, PhD researchers and undergraduates are getting involved; and all campuses and colleges have something going on. The range of projects and activities is really exciting.

Coming soon: summaries from the first round of Seed Funds. Nearly all of the first round projects have finished and reported. We’ll be creating short case-studies to share with you.

2. Quarterly meeting with cream tea

Don’t forget that all the Catalyst universities are descending on Exeter shortly. Join us for a cream tea on Monday 27 January at 3.15 in the Forum if you want to meet PE folk from University of Bath, Institute of Education, Queen Mary University, London, University of Sheffield, University of Nottingham, Aberdeen and the Open University. If you haven’t already, email so we know how much cream to buy!

3. Impact award

It seems a long time ago (last year!) but the Impact Awards were a great event. It was a real celebration of all the work we do with partners and collaborators from outside the university. This was the first year we had a PE category and we were really chuffed when we heard we’d had the most number of entries. The winners are here and big congratulations to Rachel Purtell and the Folk.Us team with: Past Caring: A study of bereaved carers, by carers, with carers, for carers.

4. PPI Conference

At the end of November PenCLAHRC Patient and Public Involvement Team organised and hosted the PenCLAHRC Public Patient Involvement conference. Check out the Twitter comments online via the Storify story.



1. PE competition

The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement has a competition to find and celebrate high quality public engagement with research projects. The overall winner will be offered £2,500 to develop or share their engagement work with others. Find out more and access the entry form . For more information email

2. Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellows

You have until 21 February 2014 to apply for an Engagement Fellowship, which provides the freedom, resources and environment to enable exceptional people to develop their skills and practice in encouraging the public to examine, explore and debate the big scientific challenges that society faces.

We are looking for individuals with a strong track record of engaging the public with ideas around biomedical science and/or medical humanities, who want to make a step-change in their careers. Engagement Fellowships

3. Fancy being on the radio?

The Science Hour on XpressionFM is looking for early career researchers (PhD and first postdoc) to take part in a radio show based on their research and the group they work with. The show is on every Tuesday from 6-7pm where we would interview you live for around 20 minutes broken up with songs of your choice and pre-recorded sections of the research conducted in your department. The section aims to get the audience up-to-date on the basic concepts of your research. The audience is mostly made up of undergraduates normally with little to no science background s if you are interested in public engagement and work in scientific research we want to hear from you.

Please contact Hannah Wakeford at for more information or if you want to take part.



1. NCCPE training FREE

The NCCPE have teamed up with Universities Week to offer three free training days for people wanting to develop their engagement skills. With a choice of sessions for beginners, and more experienced engagers, these days are a great opportunity to hone your skills, and find out more about Universities Week. The events will take place in Bristol (18 February), London (4 March) and Manchester (11 March). Places are limited, so book your place here to avoid disappointment

2. UK Council for Graduate Education workshop 27 February, Surry

This event is aimed at supervisors and Doctoral researchers who would like to get involved with Public Engagement but are not quite sure of how to go about it; the event is also for those who have experiences and examples to share, and for those who are simply curious and would like to know more about engagement.

2. PCST Post-Graduate Conference for Science Communication researchers

The Catalyst family are heading to PCST Conference in Salvador, Brazil, 5-8 May 2014. If you’re a PGR in PE with STEMM then get in touch. This meeting will be an opportunity to hear what has been going on in postgraduate research in our sector and to share experiences and information with fellow postgraduate researchers

To register (free of charge) for this pre-conference meeting, send an email to containing a description of your own research in 200 words; name of your institution, department and supervisor(s); stage of research, e.g. year 3, PhD.

3. Cultural Value – have your say

The Warwick Commission is aiming to develop new policy thinking and practical recommendations related to the long-term sustainability of culture in the face of tough economic challenges.

4. Cybersummit 20-22 February

If you’re interested in Citizen Science projects then this is the place to be: the Cybersummit.



1. RCUK inspiration to engage

Inspiration_to_engage celebrates the 3-year anniversary of the launch of the Concordat. It showcases compelling examples of public engagement practice across the higher education and research sectors, how public engagement is being embedded in policies and practices, as well as the benefits to researchers and their institutions.

2. British Science Association have released their ebook from their 2013 conference

“Science Communication: State of the Nation 2013” – a collection of essays inspired by the 2013 Science Communication Conference which features Helen and Paul Manners (Director of the NCCPE).

3. TREE article for Sex & Bugs & Rock n’ Roll

Helen had a lot of fun during the summer of 2013 with members of the British Ecological Society as they talked all things ecology with festival-goers. We’ve written up some of our experiences and they’ve just been published in TREE: Sayer et al 2013 Sex and Bugs BES.

4. BBSRC Bioenergy

We took part in the national dialogue on Bioenergy last year. The BBSRC have recently published their report.

5. Environmental citizen science

A report exploring environmental citizen science has just been produced by the Science Communication Unit at UWE. It’s free to download.


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