Beyond the Thesis: Engaging the Public & Reaching Out
The Chair of RCUK states that public engagement, “enhances research so that it contributes positively to society and results in greater relevance” and that it should be, “part of every skilled researcher’s portfolio”. But what is public engagement? Why has the UK’s central funding body invested so much in promoting it? Is it the same as Outreach? And, as a researcher with an ever increasing workload, fixed term contracts, decreasing budget, the REF, the TEF and everything else going on…what’s in it for me? In the week after the return of the university’s ‘You Are More Than…’campaign, join Jess Spurrell, the university’s newly appointed School-University Partnership Officer and continuing Engineering PhD student, to find out about where your research can take you – outside of the university, in and around the local community and beyond.
Jess is about to submit her thesis on Cryogenic Engineering & Superconductivity. After discovering how excited people are by liquid nitrogen and the science behind it she has given over 30 talks, workshops and demonstrations around the UK including at Winchester and Brighton Science festivals, Researchers’ Café, The Science Room @ the Art House and more. In the true spirit of procrastination, in 2015 she co-founded Bright Club Southampton and was an accidental performer at the first show. Since April 2016 she has also been managing the RCUK-funded Talk to US! school-university partnership initiative and since January 2017 this role has morphed into the university’s first School-University Partnership Officer.
 ‘What’s in it for me? The benefits of public engagement for researchers’, RCUK, http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/documents/scisoc/rcukbenefitsofpe-pdf/