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What is the new science engagement programme and what does it set out to achieve? Here is a brief overview of the programme's scope and objectives.

A child trying out a virtual reality headset
A child trying out a virtual reality headset with a researcher.

What is the new science engagement programme?

MPLS and the Medical Sciences Division are rethinking the resource available to support local engagement in consultation with internal and external stakeholders. Our new science engagement programme will provide a platform and support for researchers to work alongside local communities with high quality, effective public engagement with science research. Through this we will deliver mutually beneficial outcomes for both University of Oxford researchers and our local communities; developing skills, sharing knowledge, building capacity and exchanging perspectives. We make use of expertise within GLAM (Gardens, Libraries and Museums) to build community engagement best practice into the heart of our programme. Importantly we will give community partners genuine agency and enable them to participate meaningfully in the research agenda, recognising our responsibility as a civic institution to channel our influence and resources towards not only what we are good at, but also towards what we can be good for.

In so doing we will build sustainable partnerships across Oxfordshire, increasing the scale and scope of opportunities for people who live and work in the region.


What is the scope of the programme?

The science engagement programme will encompass the research activity of any science, technology, engineering, medicine or maths discipline, history and philosophy of science, and social studies pertaining to the impacts and implications of any science discipline.

Our partnerships will be broad, bringing in researchers, community organisations, industry groups and public engagement with research professionals from across Oxford and Oxfordshire.


When is this happening?

We are currently in the scoping and consulting phase, due to run until Spring 2021. The subsequent timeline is subject to change depending on the insights gained from our scoping and consultation, but we are aiming to plan throughout Spring 2021, undertake enabling works in Summer 2021, moving to small scale pilots in Autumn 2021 and launching the first parts of the new programme in 2022.


How do I get involved?

Have you got a brilliant idea for public engagement with research? Do you know someone that we should talk to? Or are you just keen to find out more?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, please get in touch with Oliver Moore (Science Engagement Facilitator).