Academic Ideas Lab

Ideas Lab Training Day

Academic Ideas Lab is an innovative new project originally funded through the Higher Education Innovation Fund. Ideas Lab help TV, radio and multimedia producers find and use the latest research, facilities and expertise in their programmes and web sites. In addition, they can provide academics at University of Birmingham with the contacts and know-how they need to reach audiences with the fruits of their research. One of the great examples is Prof Janice Thompson’s (College of Life and Environmental Sciences) appearance on BBC’s “Trust me I’m a Doctor”.

Here are some of the areas the Ideas Lab can support you with:

      • Give you ideas and useful contacts for knowledge transfer (KT) and public engagement projects.
      • Represent your research to radio, TV and multimedia producers who may wish to feature it in their programmes.
      • Advise you in any dealings with production companies, particularly if you are approached by producers for help developing a programme idea or asked to participate in filming as an interviewee.
      • Help you apply for media-related funding and fellowships.
      • Provide advice when you are commissioning a company to produce a video or a short film for you, and make sure you get value for money.
      • Screen test you if you’re interested in TV presenting, and help you come across at your best.

Smart Talkers – email alerts from The Academic Ideas Lab

The Academic Ideas Lab is regularly approached by producers looking for experts as potential new presenting talent, to work on programmes as paid consultants behind the scenes, and for other roles. If you are interested in finding out about such opportunities, you can sign up to receive our new Smart Talkers email alerts.

Who is it for?

Academics, researchers, medical professionals of all flavours, and people with a research element to their jobs, e.g. scientists in industry, archaeologists, curators and historians. It may also be of interest to members of university professional services working in public engagement, press, impact and related areas.

What happens when I sign up?

We’ll send out a simple email whenever we get an enquiry suitable for a general alert. They won’t necessarily be regular – there may be two in a week, and then nothing for a couple of weeks. If you sign up you will get all alerts (they won’t be tailored by subject). If the alert isn’t relevant for you, but you have a friend or colleague who may be interested, feel free to forward it on.

What about data protection?

We only ask for your email address. We have no plans to sell any email addresses to third parties, however we reserve the right to reconsider should our office Hob Nob fund become perilously low.

How do I sign up?

Email us at with ‘Subscribe to Smart Talkers’ as the subject.

For more information get in contact with Lucy Vernall from the Academic Ideas Lab team.