Public Engagement

Bristol March for Science 2017

Public engagement work is an integral part of our graduate training programme.  Public engagement activities help students develop transferable skills by allowing them to make deeper connections both with their own subject and with other subjects and with society at large.  The government has already highlighted what the benefits are for postgraduate students in the Joint Statement of the UK Research Councils and the Concordant to Support the Career Development for Researchers. 

Bristol contains a unique concentration of opportunities for public engagement, both as a science city and as a centre for green living and policy development. 

Why engage?

The transferable skills that students typically develop include writing, constructing coherent arguments and articulating ideas clearly and sensitively to a range of audiences, defending research outcomes, contributing to public understanding, and directly supporting learning and teaching.

Training postgraduate students in public engagement will help them to:

  • Develop transferable skills in communication
  • Engage in activities that will improve CVs as well as stimulate students' interest
  • Create potential for public engagement to contribute to research, including publications
  • Give students a broader view about the context of their work; it is a good challenge to think about the bigger picture
  • Extremely positive feedback has been received from postgraduate students who have been involved in previous public engagement activities

Students will be prepared to deal with public engagement activities in their future careers and a central requirement of the Research Councils in their future career as academics.


Work Experience

The School of Biological Sciences offers a work experience placement to students between the ages of 14 – 18 years old who would like to work within a science setting as Laboratory Technicians or Technical Support. Please note that our programme is not aimed at students wishing to become Doctors, Vets or working within the Forensic Science sector.

The placement will be based mainly in the Teaching Laboratory, although some aspects of research work may be included depending on availability of staff involved. Our main focus of the week will be general laboratory activities and developing some field skills which may be dependant on weather.

We run a one-week work experience programme with up to 6 places available that will be awarded by a competitive selection process.

The School of Biological Sciences is offering a choice of 3 weeks for our Work Experience Programme 2017. Only one of which will be chosen to suit the best candidates once the applications have been received.

The dates available are: 25-29 June 2018; 2nd-6th July 2018 and 9th-13th July 2018

 Atrium and Teaching Lab Teaching lab

How to apply

• Send a completed version of the Work Experience Application Form (Office document, 59kB)‌ to April Moody
• A covering letter explaining a little bit about yourself, outlining why this type of work experience would be beneficial to you and any plans you have for your future career.

Deadline for applications is Wednesday 31st January 2018


Pint of Science

Romain Costil is a PhD student at the University of Bristol, co-coordinating the Bristol chapter of an international public engagement event for science; Pint of Science. They organise multiple events where researchers from the University of Bristol are invited to a Pub where they speak about what they do in a relaxed and fun environment, bringing their work closer to the general audience. They are currently looking for sponsors and would like to know if there is any scope to collaborate! Particularly, they have a series of nights called “Our Body” with a particular focus on Life Sciences.

What's in it for you?

- Promote the School of Biological Science on our website and at the events!

- Exposure to Bristolians of all backgrounds and ages, we have a mix of scientific and non-scientific audience (infographic (PDF, 267kB))

- Depending on how involved you'd like to get, we're happy to accommodate speakers from your School to talk about what's going on there!

We would be looking at a financial contribution around £200-500 from your side, depending on what level of exposure you'd like. If you're interested, please get in touch - this is negotiable!

Upcoming events for 2017

  • Science cafes, Greenbank pub, Easton (third Thursday of each month from 8 to 10 pm.
  • 19 October: Lyme Disease - The Great Imitator – My Ongoing Search for the Truth.
  • 16 November: Flood simulation - how scientists are helping to forecast extreme weather events.

'The science behind coffee'

Jennifer Freer, PhD student in Biological Sciences, is organising some public engagement events with the societies of Charles Darwin House in London, including the British Ecological Society and Royal Society of Biology.  The theme of the events are "the science behind coffee" and will explore everything from sustainable production, the role of microbes in coffee, coffee tasting, human health and coffee, and even how we can create energy from coffee waste.  They promise to be exciting events with support from experts in the coffee industry and coffee researchers at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Not to mention there will be plenty of free coffee (and coffee cocktails!) to be enjoyed.  Follow us on Twitter

Get involved

  • Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition
  • Hollow (Hollow video)
  • Seed of Change
  • BrisSynBio will formally open its Public Engagement funding scheme at this year’s Annual Conference 11/12 September, with deadlines in October 2017 and January 2018.Applications will be welcomed from all permanent academic staff, independently funded research fellows, PDRAs andPhDstudents at the University of Bristol and our collaborators at the University of West England. Applicants in receipt of BrisSynBio project funding are eligible to apply, however, this is NOT a requirement.  External collaborators are welcome, however, all projects must have a University of Bristol or University of West England lead.  We expect applications to be in the region of £500 - £1000, however in exceptional circumstances we will consider higher value applications where the costs can be clearly justified. 
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