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Schools and Public Engagement

What is public engagement and why is it important? 

The Higher Education Funding Councils and UK Research Councils use the term public engagement to express their ambition for a different, more inclusive relationship between the academic and non-academic worlds. They expect HEIs to embrace public engagement and to demonstrate how they are delivering social impact. 

Public Engagement describes the myriad ways in which the activity and benefits of Higher Education can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two way process involving interactions and listening with the goal of delivering mutual benefit.

Draft definition of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, which coordinates, captures and shares learning across HEIs and research institutes

Engaging in a meaningful way with its' various communities and contributing to the cultural enrichment of Wales and the world are key strategic aims for both the University and the School of Biosciences. The School actively follows advice given in the RCUK's Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research 

Internally we work closely with the Community Engagement Team, the Beacons for Wales and the Widening Access Team to address the expectations for us to maximise our Research and Teaching impact.


What do we do?

We engage with public, community and civic groups in a wide variety of ways to fulfill our six key strategic objectives. We have developed several resources which will support and strategically inform your public engagement activities; 

Case Studies  - inspiring examples of how our staff and students are currently engaging.

Funding Opportunities - details of various grants specifically available to support public engagement activity.

Training Opportunities - details of schemes and courses which provide either training alone or training and supported engagement opportunities.


What opportunities exist for staff & students to get involved in engagement?

The Innovation and Engagement Officer ( Fiona Wyllie) has helped to develop and embed engagement within the School and she supports and/or organises the following annual activities and engagement schemes. Fiona can advise on content and external funding, organise audiences, find additional staff/students or help develop effective evaluation and publicity to maximise engagement impact;

This website was created by Dr Sheila Dargan in August 2013 to engage with school students and teachers. 


  • "Learn About Life" event for Primary schools

This event is run in the Biomedical Building during National Science and Engineering Week for around 240 visiting 10/11 year old pupils. There are opportunities to devise and run your own short workshop or help to run an existing workshop (see Case Studies for more details). The dates for the 2014 event are 19th and 20th March.

Event Information for Participating Schools 2012


  • Internal events showcasing research to Secondary school pupils

We run regular events in the Biomedical Building for visiting secondary school pupils (generally from Year 9 [pre-GCSE to 'A' Level) which showcase our research. These events are always very interactive and can consist of one research interest only or can comprise multiple research interests (see Case Studies for some specific details). Postgraduate and undergraduate students are very welcome at these events and are important as role models to inspire the next generation of biomedical scientists. In conjunction with the Neuroscience and Mental health Research Institute we run an annual Brain Bee competition. 

  • External events showcasing events to the general public

We run activities for the Science of Me  family weekend and the After Hours events in Techniquest Science Centre

We have also run activities at the Cardiff Science Festival, the Cheltenham Science Festival , The National Eisteddfod  and the Royal Welsh Show 

  • STEM Ambassador scheme

This scheme is nationally recognised and only commits you to an initial CRB check and one school engagement activity (of your choice) per year. See Training Opportunities for more details.

  • Nuffield Bursary scheme, Monmouth Science Initiative and work experience for school pupils

There are several options for researchers who would like to engage with schools in their own research lab. The Nuffield Foundation offers research placements for 'A' level pupils to carry out a 4-6 week summer project in a research lab.  Fiona Wyllie liases with the local scheme coordinator to arrange for initial meetings between the project provider and a selection of interested pupils and she will do all the necessary additional administration. There are also opportunities to offer work experience (from half day to 1 week) to interested pupils or to be involved in the Monmouth Science Initiative  (2-3 hour defined experiment for a small number of 'A' level pupils).


There are opportunities to get involved in other new and existing projects which will be advertised by email/Biomedia (eg series of genetics seminars in schools organised by Wales Gene Park every second year). 

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