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)
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.
The Pay-it-Fwd cohort has written a short piece for the January 2016 BIG newsletter describing their experience of the training they received at the ‘How to Train Researchers in Public Engagement’ workshop held in Newcastle in November 2015.
How to Train Researchers Workshop: Reflections from University of Birmingham’s Pay-it-Fwd cohort!
Caroline Gillett, University of Birmingham
The University was recently awarded the RCUK Catalyst Seed Fund to create momentum for culture change around PE at the institution. Our bid placed a clear emphasis on training and workshops for our researchers and as part of this I’ve decided to pilot a small-scale project that was a little different. Having already been impressed by the Little Event 2014, when I heard about the How to Train Researchers Workshop in Newcastle I knew I wanted to go, but I wanted to give others the opportunity to come too! This is how the ‘Pay-it-Forward with Public Engagement Programme’ was born.
A callout for five researchers enthusiastic about PE was sent out across the University and we received lots of interest, making it a hard task for the University’s Public Engagement with Research Committee (PERC) to select our cohort. However, I am really happy with the researchers we selected as together they span the breadth of our University’s research disciplines from arts and humanities through to social, medical, physical and life sciences.
Also joining us on this venture is colleague and sci-comm maverick Jon Wood whose involvement with the pilot has been real asset thanks to his vast PE experience and can-do attitude. The Pay-it-Forward programme has two stages.:
Stage 1: Training – All seven of us got trained at the BIG How to Train Researchers Workshop!
Stage 2: Paying-it-Fwd – Our researchers will bring back the activities and training learned to together develop a practical public engagement workshop for UoB staff and students in early 2016, putting the training they have received at the BIG workshop in to real world practice and paying-it-forward to fellow colleagues and students.
Personally, I found the training day incredibly useful and it was a fantastic opportunity to meet other practitioners. More importantly though here’s what our researchers had to say:
Ruth Wareham: “I approached the BIG event with a modicum of trepidation; as someone whose science education ended some time ago, and with a background firmly rooted in the arts and humanities, I wasn’t entirely sure how well I’d fit in with a room full of self-professed ‘STEM Communicators’! I needn’t have worried – the event was informative, interesting and lots of fun. Perhaps more importantly, all of the activities suggested could be used in a range of disciplinary contexts. The presenters had clearly thought carefully about the sessions and adapted them to suit the experience level and needs of the delegates.”
Elizabeth Randall: “I came to the BIG workshop with no experience of training researchers in public engagement…I felt somewhat lacking in confidence at the start of the day but after talking to a number of people about what makes a good trainer I now feel well-equipped to design and deliver a workshop to researchers at my university.”
Sophie Cox: “At the start of the training session I put myself at the bottom of the cohort when asked our levels of confidence to train others in public engagement. By lunch I’d taken some steps forward and at the end of the day I’d leapfrogged my way to the top and was bursting with enthusiasm to get started with bringing loads of inspiring ideas back to the University”
Katherine Eales: “As a doctoral researcher I am still at an early stage in my career and so it was great to get the opportunity to network with such a diverse range of experienced PE communicators. I also am thankful for the Pay-it-Forward scheme as I got to meet and work with some great and diverse researchers from UoB whom I wouldn’t necessarily have got to engage with! I am really looking forward to using the skills I gained at the BIG workshop to develop and deliver our introductory workshop to a wide range of graduate and early career researchers!”
So there you have it! To find out how we get on in Stage 2 check out our blog and follow us on Twitter @UOBengage. Big thanks to BIG, all those who shared tips and tricks at the event and the others we met there.
LEADING TO ENGAGE (L2E) is a pilot programme that will recruit enthusiastic, forward-thinking College representatives with a passion for public engagement with research, civic responsibility and peer-to-peer mentorship. Mid-career candidates are invited to nominate themselves for inclusion in the cohort. Nominations will be reviewed by the Public Engagement with Research Committee (PERC) who will confirm the appropriateness of candidates with Heads of School/College and Directors of Research, who will make final decisions.
Expressions of interest should be sent to Public Engagement with Research Officer, Dr Caroline Gillett email@example.com ideally by December 22nd, 2015. Please put ‘L2E’ in the title of your email and provide a brief paragraph explaining your motivation for applying as well as any relevant experience you might already have doing public engagement. [The opportunity is not suitable for PhD/Masters students or Teaching Only staff].
The programme will take a maximum of four candidates per College, therefore candidates are encouraged to get in touch as soon as possible to allow sufficient time to seek approval from DORs etc. The L2E cohort will be announced in early-mid January.
The Programme is designed to catalyse culture change for public engagement with research within the Colleges, using a sustainable model which will enable candidates to take ownership of public engagement with research strategy within their College, helping lead College direction in this area with support from PERC and other relevant parties. The cohort will be invited to join PERC and it is hoped that PERC minutes will feed into Research and Research & Knowledge Transfer Committees.
Candidates are reminded that participation in the Programme will require a definite time commitment which they should be aware of before applying. There will be different phases to the Programme:
This is just a short update to notify you that we have had to change venue due to an issue with our original booking clashing with rehearsals that we’d been unaware were happening nearby. The Role of Engagement in Research events this June 12- 13 will now take place at 52 Pritchatts Rd – Lecture Theatre 1 – Building G9 (Red) on the campus map. All sessions will be held here.
Thanks to everyone who has signed up already, we look forward to seeing you there. Keep spreading the message to your colleagues in the meantime, as we’d like as many people as possible to benefit from these sessions!
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