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Engaging the public in research

Public engagement workshop

Increasingly, researchers are being encouraged to share their work with public audiences to raise awareness of research through hands-on activities, discussion and debate. Opportunities are wide ranging, including science festivals, museum events and café scientifiques.

In January 2015, the NIHR Royal Brompton Biomedical Research Units organised a public engagement workshop for research staff and patients. 

The workshop was run by Dr Jenna Stevens-Smith, outreach and public engagement manager in the bioengineering department at Imperial College London. Jenna’s background in both bioengineering and science communication meant that she was able to inspire and inform participants through her hands-on experience in this area as a researcher.

Jenna says: “Advances in research can change lives but often the public may not believe these innovations are accessible to them. Through public engagement researchers can inform, consult and collaborate with the public about their research often being inspired themselves”

The workshop looked at how researchers and patients can design a public engagement activity as well as measuring impact through evaluation.

It was well attended by medical, nursing and scientific researchers, patients and research administrators. Feedback was extremely positive. 

Dr Mohammad Moghal, a respiratory BRU research fellow, said “It was great to see real examples of engagement aimed at a variety of different audiences. The workshop helped me realise the value of including patients and the public in developing engagement activities”

To find out more about similar events in the future please email us.

January 2015

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