PER Team recently heard about a new project being developed by Research Physicist, Matt Ward, and went to chat with him about it. Matt has been musing on the peculiar issue of early career researcher ‘invisibility’; that is the phenomenon by which the public have a tendency to only see science as either a school subject or a professor’s job, and very little in-between. It’s not a new issue and has previously been highlighted by others, such as Sense About Science with their Voice of Young Science network. However, the public exposure to and understanding of early research remains limited. One key reason behind this probably comes from within; researchers tend only to put the most experienced member of the group forward and for a number of reasons often shy away from pushing (or allowing) younger researchers into the limelight. So Matt is launching a new blog to host interviews with younger researchers, to bring the human stories of research to the public and help bridge the gap in public understanding of research. But he needs your help. Read for more details and for your chance to land a spot as an interviewee…
“My name is Matt Ward and I am a research scientist in Radiation Oncology at the QEH. I have recently started a blog which aims to communicate cutting-edge scientific research to the public, with the noted difference that my `interviews’ are all with early-career academics (senior academics get enough attention as it is!). The blog is yet to go live, but I have already been receiving lots of input from various research teams around the UK, and it has captured the interest of science correspondents at the BBC.
“The blog is an initiative to break down the barriers between the celebrated academics (Professor Josephine Bloggs, MSci MSc PhD MD FMedSci FInstOfPostNominalLetters…) and the ambitious kid on the street. In my Athena Swan ambassador work, I discovered that it’s well-known that a lack of self-belief (particularly in young women) is a deciding factor in many students not entering University level education in the sciences, and again not continuing on into research. I believe that, by highlighting the process in-between early academia and emeritus professor – the work being done by us – we can show that it is in fact normal people doing this work, normal people who just happen to be very passionate about a particular subject.
“For those who are interested in submitting something please get in touch. The questions are straight-forward and the style is colloquial and chatty; I am more interested to find out why you are so interested and passionate about your work than to be an expert in the matter after reading it (though if you can write on two-sides of A4 and get a lay person to completely understand what your research is about, then kudos!).
“So, if you are a scientist passionate about your work and you are able to spare 10-15 minutes to write about why, then I would love to hear from you!”
Interested researchers should contact Matt at Matthew.Ward2@uhb.nhs.uk
Matt will also be part of a free event of talks and Q&A with researchers working on the future of cancer treatments that is being held in the ThinkTank museum on 29th September. The event is called Front-line: The Future of Cancer Told by the Next Generation of Scientists where Matt will discuss his work on medical physics, joined by Agata Stodolna (organoid technologies) and Oliver Pickles (immunotherapy). Register free here.
Image Credit: Matthew Ward and Cancer Research UK.