Site icon Think: Public Engagement with Research

Reflective Blog Post

By Wanlong Zhao

(1) Why public management is meaningful?
Public management is a very useful communication tool to convey our purposes, processes, and final results of research. It is meaningless for researchers to do public participation and information disclosure poorly for spending public money. I participated in a public engagement activity about introducing why fuel cells were important for human beings which was held by our group member Mr. Hart in February this year at a petrol station because the biggest potential commercial use of fuel cells was automobiles. His purpose was to recommend fuel cell vehicles to fossil fuel vehicle owners. It was helpful to decrease carbon dioxide emissions and alleviate the energy crisis in the world.


(2) What is my impressions and experience form this public management activity?
Firstly, he prepared some printed leaflets and key chains to attract people. The printed leaflets were about the principles and positive effort used for cars of fuel cells. From my perspective as an ordinary viewer, this way was successful to make people gather in his booth and discuss the performance index of fuel cells with Mr. Hart. Secondly, he showed the audience many kinds of fuel cells and operation steps for improving interest of the public management activity. In the meantime, it was a useful method to impress the vehicle owners. Finally, he gave them a short speech whose content was about challenges of commercial application and extended use for fuel cells. From a perspective as an organizer, this public management was definitely meaningful because some people expressed that they would think seriously to choose fuel cell vehicles rather than fossil fuel vehicles. What impressed me most was that a few people spent a lot of time to take a closer look at every different kinds of fuel cells and asked Mr. Hart many technical questions. I think the place held the public management is very fit and his professional knowledge. The most important was that he has a rich driving experience for those kinds of cars, so he could through the short speech to persuade them to choose fuel cell vehicles. It makes me clear a successful organizer of a public management activity should have rich experience about his/her research products. His activity process could be simply described as follows:



(3) What is the shortcomings of his public management activity?
Although this activity was successful to make his purpose come true, there were also some shortcomings. Firstly, he did not record the feedbacks from the audience seriously. As far as I am concerned, he could design a questionnaire about his research project and then collect and process the data. I think that this way could quantify some questions for example if you will change your mind about using fossil fuel cars after the public management activity? Secondly, I think that to build a long-term relationship between the lab and the audience is a useful method to complete two-way communication. Finally, It is meaningful to make academic terms more colloquial for improving communication skills.

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