Latest news and views

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.

Science & Religion – BSA Science Communication Masterclass (10-11 May)

The British Science Association and Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum, are pleased to announce a free, two-day workshop on Science Communication and Religion.

The event is particularly recommended for science communicators with an interest in religion and faith, or those working with emotive or sometimes controversial themes.

You can read more about the project here:

The event aims to:

  • Improve familiarity and literacy in communicating on science and religion
  • Explore areas of faith, trust, belief, and religion in science communication
  • Support attendees to develop new outputs, partnerships and projects

Sessions will be led by science communication practitioners and academics from a variety of disciplines researching the intersection of science and religion in public spaces. The sessions will be framed by preliminary data from the Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum project and there will be practical exercises built around case-studies, proposals and evaluation plans. The full programme will be released over the next few weeks, with sessions including:

  • Storytelling: balancing narrative and ‘truth’
  • Hosting constructive debates
  • Science and religion, past and present
  • Partnerships and participation: an external perspective
  • Beyond box ticking: The evaluation, revision, and re-delivery cycle
  • Trust in science, trust in sci-comm? Moving the conversation forward

Presenters and panelists include: Dr Alexander Hall (Newman University), Professor Fern Elsdon-Baker (Newman University), James Riley (Rising Ape), Ivvet Modinou (British Science Association), Charlotte Hale (FLUX: Moving Science), Brian Lobel (Sick of the Fringe) , and more to be announced.

The event is free to attend, including travel and accommodation costs associated with attendance. Places are limited, so early-sign-up is encouraged. A deposit of £15 is payable to secure your place on this event, which will be refunded upon attendance.

Note that this workshop is funded by the Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum project. Attendance, travel, and accommodation are provided free of charge on the understanding that participants contribute to the workshop debates and engage with the project’s research. Post workshop there will be opportunities for attendees to create science communication materials and outputs related to the workshop content and wider research findings of the project.

For information and to sign up go HERE 

Image & content: British Science Association

PERCAT Postdoctoral Excellence Awards 2017 – Public Engagement category

PERCAT are very pleased to announce the first round of the PERCAT Postdoctoral Excellence Awards 2017.  The PEA awards are for outstanding Postdoctoral/Early Career Researchers who have made excellent achievements in the following areas:

  • Public Engagement
  • Academic/Science Citizenship
  • Mentoring
  • Teaching
  • PERCAT Postdoctoral Champion of the Year

You will be able to self-nominate or nominate Postdoctoral/Early Career Researchers from within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences.   PhD students and technical staff will not be eligible to apply.  The deadline for submission of applications is Wednesday 31 May and the winners will be announced and presented with prizes of £200 per award at the forthcoming PERCAT Strategy Day to be held on Wednesday 28 JuneFurther details, along with the nomination form and guidelines will be circulated next week.

Loves documentaries? Sheffield Doc Festival opportunity for postdocs…

Doc/Fest Researchers – Applications Open!

Do you love documentary film, interactive, immersive, and virtual reality projects?

Are you a postdoctoral scientist?

Sheffield Doc/Fest is offering five researchers the opportunity to attend this year’s Festival 9 – 14 June 2017. Participants will have the opportunity to network with filmmakers and broadcast commissioners, and see some of the world’s finest documentary films being made today.

Researchers are invited to network and attend daily talks in the Doc/Fest Exchange, our dedicated public space curated by Dr Erinma Ochu, and developed with Wellcome.

– Travel, accreditation, and accommodation are covered.

– Daily networking breakfasts in The Doc/Fest Exchange

– Applicants must have a PhD in biomedical sciences.

To apply – contact with a short bio and reasons why you would like to attend Doc/Fest.

The deadline for applications is 23 May 2017.

More info here.

Public Engagement Training: Focus Group with Lunch for ECRs & PGRs [April 10th]

Public Engagement Training: Focus Group with Lunch for ECRs and PGRs

The Public Engagement with Research Committee and University Graduate School invite postgraduate research students and early-career researchers to join us on Monday 10th April for an informal focus group discussion with free lunch to gather the community’s views on public engagement training support needs. We will then use your views to help shape future plans and training opportunities.

  • What skills would you like to develop to carry out high quality public engagement?

  • What should training sessions look like? What schedule is most convenient to you?

  • What opportunities to do actual public engagement can we help arrange?

  • Do STEM and Arts/Humanities/Social Sciences researchers need different training?

  • How can we create training opportunities to help researchers collaborate on interdisciplinary public engagement?




All PGRs and ECRs are welcome to join us. You do not need to have any prior experience doing public engagement. During the session we will also hear from a couple of PhD/PostDoc researcher representatives about their experiences with public engagement. Please sign up so that we have an idea of numbers for catering purposes, thanks!

Time: 10:30 – 13:30 including a free lunch for participants at 12noon

Location: Westmere House (Graduate School – G15, green zone on map)

We look forward to welcoming you.

[Open to University of Birmingham members only]

Royal Society of Chemistry’s Inclusion and Diversity Fund

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Inclusion and Diversity Fund has grants available for up to £2000 to support projects that promote and improve the accessibility, inclusion and diversity of the STEM community.

The proposal may be relevant to any audience, age groups, careers stage, geographical region or sectors.

Applications can be submitted throughout the year, but funding decisions will only be made twice a year. The next application deadline is 30 April, with a funding decision by 31 May.

For more information or to begin an application, please contact Philippa Matthews at who ishappy to have informal discussions about your current projects and ideas for new activities even if you are not yet ready to apply for funding.


Image: RSC

Activity Callout: Being Human Festival (Deadline: March 20)

BEING HUMAN FESTIVAL 2017 (17-25 November 2017)

The call for participation in Being Human 2017 is now open.  The application form can be found at

Being Human is the UK’s only national festival of the humanities. Held in November, the festival brings together universities, Independent Research Organisations (IRO) and community and commercial partners to stage activities that make leading research in the humanities accessible to non-academic audiences. The festival is a celebration of the humanities, highlighting research in this area in fun, hands-on, immersive ways to demonstrate its relevance to our everyday lives.

The theme for the 2017 national Being Human festival is ‘Lost and Found’. Applicants are invited to respond creatively and in ways that probe the rich intellectual possibilities of the theme. Possible areas of inquiry include (but are certainly not limited to):

  • Exploration and discovery (in fact and fiction)
  • Lost and found ideas, doctrines, emotions
  • Lost and found cities and civilisations
  • Lost and found languages and cultures
  • Lost and found heritage, histories, artefacts
  • Lost and found identities
  • Lost and found spaces
  • Maps, labyrinths, mazes

There are three ways to participate:

  • Small Award up to a maximum value of £2,000.  There is no demand management this year, however it is noted that multiple funding applications from the same institution are less likely to be successful.  Applications seeking additional funding to underwrite an already planned activity are also unlikely to be successful. Match funding or in-kind contributions to defray the costs will also be looked on favourably.

Deadline Monday 10th April 2017 (5 pm)

 Hub Award up to a maximum value of £5,000.  Hub HEIs will be required to commit support by means of additional funding and in-kind support, to at least match the value of the sum awarded.  Hubs are expected to play a proactive role in raising the national profile of the festival and may be asked to take part in national campaigns and collaborative projects to help promote the festival.

Deadline Monday 10th April 2017 (5 pm)

 Unfunded activities can be proposed for inclusion in the online and print programmes and will be promoted by the festival.

Deadline Monday 13th June 2017 (5 pm)

Please let Sheena Robertson know of any intended applications by 5 pm on Monday 20th March 2017.  There is no institutional selection however we need to ensure that any multiple requests for Small Awards are distinctive and complementary, and that we co-ordinate any interest in a Hub Award.

Sheena Robertson
Research Support Partner, College of Arts and Law
Room 354 Arts building, College of Arts and Law
University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT
Tel: 0121 414 7173



The Millennial Apprentice (March 11)

Join Dr Mariachiara Barzotto and Dr Paula Pérez-Sobrino (University of Birmingham) for this workshop -in quiz format- to explore the new face of manufacturing, and to find out more about how manufacturers truly design and build the future in smart factories.

Two teams of 4 contestants & audience will put to test their perceptions on manufacturing labour in the age of millennials and technology.  Teams will compete for the chance to win Amazon vouchers. There will be also a prize for members of the audience.

WHEN: March 11th, 2017


15:30 – 16:30
Full details on their website HERE

Apply for Expert Women 2017

Apply for Expert Women 2017

The BBC are looking for female experts who’d like to appear on air as contributors to BBC programmes. Find out how to take part in their London event.

The aim is to offer an introduction to the media, including practical experiences in front of a camera and in a radio studio, as well as masterclasses with industry professionals including experienced programme makers.

If you have expertise in any of the following areas, and you are interested in contributing to television, radio and online content, and you can also be at BBC Broadcasting House, London, W1A 1AA on Friday 31 March 2017, then they want to hear from you.

What they are looking for

They welcome applicants from any area of expertise, including the following:

  • International relations and politics
  • Diplomacy
  • Terrorism
  • EU negotiations
  • Local government / social care
  • Politics – particularly from the North of England
  • Policing / security / intelligence / military
  • Senior police officers
  • Law/constitution, particularly Brexit
  • Radicalisation/extremism
  • Women in music – production rather than performance
  • Economics
  • Business
  • Technology
  • Apprenticeship trades, especially building
  • Football
  • Science, technology, engineering and mathematics
  • Health
  • Classical music

If you would like to discuss whether your specialism would be appropriate for any of these subject areas or any other area then please contact us at

For full details of how to apply visit this page

PechaKucha [March 13]: Speakers Wanted

PechaKucha is an international presentation evening where speakers have just 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide to get their points across. The format is designed so that people can share stories, ideas, research and/or opinions in a fun, informal setting. The rapid-fire format means you encounter a varied array of and outlooks and never know exactly what’s up next.

For Arts & Science Festival 2017, we have teamed up with PechaKucha Birmingham and will be hosting a PechaKucha night on Monday 13th March at Cherry Reds in Birmingham City Centre.

Given the festival theme this year, the presentations will all have a land and/or water focus.

If you’re interested in being a speaker at this event or would like more information, please contact the event organiser Ben Waddington: