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Oxford Sparks is the University's digital engagement platform for sciences, and produces high quality media such as podcasts and videos, as well as managing social media channels. Find out how you can get involved.

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The Oxford Sparks team works with researchers to create live action video content which is shared across our website and social media channels (YouTubeTwitterFacebook and Instagram).

Scroll down to see how you can get involved or email the team!


Tell me more about these videos...

Oxford Sparks offers two types of videos:

1) Short-form videos for social media

Fun and informal videos shot by researchers and edited by us. These videos are between 2 and 4 minutes long (although ideally less than 2 minutes 20 seconds to be Twitter compliant). We will work together to develop a script and storyboard so that you have all of the support that you need to film your video clips. For anything that cannot be filmed, we can browse stock footage libraries to complete the narrative.

All ideas are welcome, but some broad categories you might like to think about are "Everyday Science", "Seasonal Science" and "Behind-the-Scenes in the Lab or Field". These videos have no associated cost.

2) Short documentaries 

These videos are longer (usually between 10 and 15 minutes) and more formal in style. The films provide the opportunity to cover a research topic in greater depth, exploring your research environment and inviting collaborators to contribute to the story. These videos are professionally filmed and edited by us, and require a subsidised fee of £1,600. Please note that from August 2024, the fee will increase to £2000.

Click here for guidance about including video funding in your research grant proposal or contact us for more information.


All of our videos are primarily aimed at an audience of 'Curious Spectators'. These are individuals who do not generally consider themselves 'science fans', and do not actively seek out science content, but will enjoy engaging with it if presented in an appealing way. They perhaps lack confidence in finding scientific content they can trust, being wary of misinformation. We aim to create transparent, open, credible and engaging content that Curious Spectators can relate to, providing a positive engagement experience.

While our primary audience is aged 30-60, we will endeavour to make sure all our video content is accessible to those aged 14+. 


How can I get involved?

If you are interested in creating a video with us, please do get in touch! Proposals are welcome from University of Oxford researchers at any career stage, including DPhil students. Anyone working on scientific or science-related research, from any Division, is welcome to submit a proposal. If you are unsure whether you are eligible, please email the team.

Submit an expression of interest here 

Proposals will be reviewed on a monthly basis, and we will be in touch via email after this point. Please note that we have limited capacity, and will therefore unfortunately only be able to produce six documentaries per year.


How does the process work?

If your video proposal is selected, we will begin by arranging an online meeting between you (and your wider research team if applicable) and the Oxford Sparks team. In this meeting, we aim to learn more about your research, and what you hope to achieve through the video (including what the key messages that you would like to get across are and is there a call to action at the end?). We can also begin to think about the creative side of things (what is the narrative, where will the filming take place?). In this meeting we can also start to map out a timeline for video production.

Short-form social media videos

For these shorter videos, we will work with you to create a narrative, script and storyboard. We will then guide you through the process of filming yourself, to ensure you achieve the best results possible - but note that an informal, unpolished filming style is very popular on social media! We will then edit the video for you, and share across our social media channels.

"Working with Oxford Sparks was an incredible opportunity for my research to connect with a wide and diverse audience. This was not only helpful for me to generate interest in what I am doing, but also is in line with what my funder (NIHR) prioritises, which is knowledge dissemination to wide audiences. The process was incredibly easy, efficient, and fun. The Oxford Sparks team lead me through everything, and was flexible with my timeline and artistic preferences (i.e., music used, visuals, etc.). In total, I probably spent an hour on the process, however the end result has allowed me to connect with more people than a typical research paper (where the process can take several months to a year). I highly recommend working with Oxford Sparks to help increase the impact of your research through an enjoyable and fun process!"

- Rakhshan Kamran, DPhil students and NIHR doctoral research fellow, NDORMS.


After the initial online meeting, the Oxford Sparks team will draft a brief, which will be presented to the research team for approval. Once the brief and production time-line have been signed off, filming dates and locations will be secured. Filming usually takes place over one day, or two consecutive days if multiple people or locations are involved. Most filming is conducted in Oxford, but we do travel further afield, if beneficial to the story. During the editing phase, a draft edit will be presented to the research team for feedback and the final version will be presented for approval before it is released across our channels.




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