STFC Spark Awards 2017 (Deadline Oct 26th, 2017)

STFC Spark Awards 2017-B call is now open  for applications until 4.00pm on Thursday 26th October.

The Spark Awards scheme aims to support high quality programmes of public engagement that inspire and involve audiences with stories of STFC science and technology. Grants of up to £15k are available.

Proposed engagement programmes must clearly focus around the remit of the STFC science programme (astronomy, solar and planetary science, particle physics, particle astrophysics, cosmology, nuclear physics and accelerator science) or clearly and demonstrably align to the science and technology work of STFC’s national and international laboratories and facilities.

Applicants should make clear how their application relates to the aims of the STFC Public Engagement Strategy

Applicants may choose which audiences to engage with and the methods of engagement. However, applications that propose engagement with audiences considered to have a low ‘science capital’ are encouraged. In addition, applications that highlight the social, ethical, and economic benefits of research are welcomed.

Before submitting your application you are encouraged to contact the STFC Public Engagement Team  to discuss your ideas.



Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious public engagement awards now open (Deadline: Mon 18 Sept)

The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious public engagement awards are now open for applications. The deadline for applications is Monday 18 September at 4pm.

Ingenious is an awards scheme for projects that engage the public with engineers and engineering and aims to

  • Inspire creative public engagement with engineering projects
  • Motivate engineers to share their stories, passion and expertise with wider audiences and develop their communication and engagement skills
  • Raise awareness of the diversity, nature and impact of engineering amongst people of all ages and backgrounds
  • Provide opportunities for engineers to engage with members of the public from groups currently underrepresented in engineering

Funding is available from £3,000 to £30,000.

The awards prioritise projects that reach diverse and underrepresented audiences including communities in the top 25% most deprived neighbourhoods in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and that engage with engineers and publics of different genders, ages and ethnic backgrounds.

Find out more on our website


Public Engagement posts at UoB

The University is recruiting two public engagement posts within the Research Planning team:

The Research Engagement Officer

The Public Engagement with Research Officer 

These two posts support activities to enhance Public Engagement with Research at the University, working closely with each other within the wider Research Planning team in the Planning Office. They operate within the context of the increasing importance placed by research funders such as RCUK and Wellcome on PER, and complement a long track record of cultural and research partnerships with external organisations, as well as a growing internal culture strengthening PER activities and opportunities. Duties are varied and involve providing advice, support and training to colleagues around PER; the development of partnerships with external organisations to facilitate the delivery of PER; organisation of events and activities; supporting and developing systems for management information and data capture; and taking on specific projects as required. The Research Planning team is part of a larger University wide team supporting research and postholders will work closely with key individuals from the academic Colleges and Professional Services, including Directors of Research and Knowledge Transfer, Principal Investigators and other academics involved in delivering PER, Research Support Partners and teams who support research bids and grants, colleagues from Cultural Engagement and other teams involved in engagement activities, Marketing and Communications and the Graduate School. It will be particularly important for the postholder to understand the wider context within which Engagement activities are delivered at the University, and to develop an active and effective network with colleagues working in similar and contiguous areas.

For specifications and further details, see individual job descriptions in link above. Closing date for both posts: July 31st, 2017

The University is one of the largest and most diverse employers in the region, with around 6000 staff working in a range of academic, professional, technical, manual and clerical roles.

We promote equality and celebrate our diversity and provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of the University community, from support for students who are parents to being Stonewall Diversity Champions, we also offer dedicated disability services, a wide range of support groups and a multi-faith chaplaincy. The University holds a Bronze Athena SWAN Charter award and is actively seeking to improve the number of women in STEM subjects.


Designated Collections MUPI Match event (June 14)

MUPI Match Designated Collections, Arts Council England Offices, Birmingham, 14 June (10am-4.30pm)

Are you:

  • A postgraduate, postdoctoral or established researcher, keen to explore the rich possibilities for working with collections that are a vital part of England’s artistic and cultural heritage;
  • An academic whose students would like to research designated collections?

If so, this MUPI National Sandpit could be just what you are looking for! The event is interactive and free to take part in. Bring your ideas, your energy, and your expertise and prepare to be challenged and inspired.

Register for this event

A key element of the Arts Council England Designated Collection scheme is that the collections meet the Research Value criteria – so that the collection is, or has the potential to be, an essential research collection; and the collections makes a major contribution to the public understanding of the subject. One of the major challenges faced by museums developing academic partnerships is networking with academics, and having sufficient resources to plan effective and mutually beneficial projects.

 The ACE funded MUPI project aims to address this by bringing together museums and academics in a series of focused and facilitated networking events; which will help academics explore the research potential of designated collections, meet potential museum partners, and have the opportunity to apply for seed funding grants to help develop project ideas. The MUPI Match event on Wednesday 14 June is dedicated to museums with Designated Collections.

To find out more about the Designated Collections scheme, click here.

There are many benefits to museums and universities working together, from improving audience understanding to developing more effective collections knowledge or interpretation; from inspiring museum audiences with cutting edge research to developing new exhibits and exhibitions; the opportunities are endless; and networking within and between the sectors can help museums and academics realise the research potential of these nationally important collections.

However, finding a partner and having the resources to explore how you might work together can be challenging. This MUPI National Sandpit draws upon a tried and tested methodology, which brings people together to develop new partnerships. Each session involves museum staff, volunteers, and academics working together to find mutually beneficial ideas that they would like to develop together. This event focuses on unlocking the research potential of designated collections.

 A small grants fund of £6000 available; the MUPI Match event includes an opportunity for teams formed at the event to bid for funding (of between £500-£1500) from the MUPI Match fund. This ‘thinking funding’  will enable people to do desk research; have conversations; travel and attend site visits/meetings; test ideas; and work together to plan their potential project. This thinking funding provides a critical part of the process, helping people to work out if and how to work together and refine their ideas. Teams will be supported to develop their partnership, and find effective ways to fund their project in the future.

Please note that booking is essential. You can apply for a place using the registration link above.

MUPI Match events are delivered through the Museum University Partnership Initiative, funded by Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund and developed in partnership with the Share Academy project and Paddy McNulty Associates.

Pathways to Culture Change Report

The University of Birmingham is pleased to have contributed to a new report from the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). The Pathways to Culture Change report focuses on learning from the 10 Catalyst Seed Fund projects (CSFs), including UoB. The report seeks to ensure that other HEIs can benefit from the insights of all institutions involved by sharing the journeys they have travelled, the learning they have done, and the tools they have generated.

The ten CSF projects were established in 2015 and have evidenced significant impact within their host universities. The Pathways to Culture Change report tells an encouraging story of what can be achieved relatively quickly with a limited budget. The CSF Pathways report provides useful insights for others wanting to develop their own project.

Read it here: Pathways to Culture Change Report

STFC/IoP “INTERACT” Symposium this September on campus (register by June 30)

Are you a physical scientist or do you engage with STFC or use STFC facilities and undertake outreach, public engagement and science communication? If so then the “INTERACT” Symposium is for you!

What it’s all about: The STFC, IOP and SEPnet are organising a one day conference at the University of Birmingham that promises to be both useful and fun! We want to  help you share your enthusiasm for science. This lively one day event offers you the opportunity to be inspired by experienced outreach/public engagement champions, share your experience and good practice, take part in hands-on interactive workshops and parallel sessions. In addition there will be a marketplace showcasing engagement in practice  that offers you a chance to see what resources are out there to help you.

Themes of the day are:

·         Evaluation and impact: How to do effective evaluation and
demonstrate impact, sharing case studies, what worked for REF and what
didn’t. Looking forward to REF 2021

·         Reaching traditionally hard-to-engage and underserved audiences: Working with the right  partners, raising  your skills and working with STEM influencers to reach low science capital audiences

·         Schools outreach: How to work with young audiences  and
inspire them

·         Sharing both good practice and a safe space for “what not to
do”s: Understanding your audience, reflective practice and what
constitutes high-quality public engagement

Who can attend: The symposium is open to all Physical Science researchers including engineering and facility users. Attending can also contribute to your continuing professional development.

This event is free to attend but  you will need to register in advance. Please register at by Friday 30 June. Registered delegates will be invited to submit ideas for running a session or workshop  that address the key  symposium themes  and there will  an opportunity to  demonstrate your outreach activities.

Registered delegates will also be asked to vote on the final conference programme.

We all look forward to seeing you there.