Innovative Examples of Pathways to Impact

These case studies highlight some innovative examples of how Public Engagement are included in the Pathways to Impact section of grant applications.

Physical Sciences- An example of a defined target audience

Synthetic Anionophores with Therapeutic Potential - a Coordinated Two-Centre Approach (GoW EP/J00961X/1)

Brief Summary

Professor Anthony Davis and his collaborators from the University of Bristol and Southampton look to reach out and inform Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients and their relatives, as well as other stakeholders within society, on their work on anionophers and its therapeutic potential in treating the ailment. An anionophore is a synthetic way of transporting salts across cell membranes that could lead to new drug development

Public Engagement

Since CF sufferers are often segregated to prevent contagion, the group will use specific online methods of informing CF sufferers of all ages. These include the use of social networks with regard to adults and an interactive website involving cartoons for younger children. The cartoons will go about explaining to children the details behind how CF occurs and how the latest drugs are combating against it. The research also plans to disseminate information to wider networks through publicising information through press releases and on CFCenters.com, a social network for CF clinicians and healthcare professionals; attending meetings organised by CF charities and organisations; visiting both Bristol and Southampton Universities’ Chemistry events which have been shown to have a strong outreach.

Digital Economy- A festival Example

Learning Energy Systems : A dynamic innovative solution to reducing energy demand (GoW EP/K012789/1)

Brief Summary

Dr Kate Carter from the University of Edinburgh has proposed a project to develop a ‘Learning Energy System’. The aim is to reduce demand for energy through a digital system designed to align human needs and comfort with building energy systems. This will include dynamic interactions between people and the technology through innovative mobile applications. The project will initially be conducted in schools with the potential to then be used in other buildings.

Public Engagement

The Living Lab will be hosted at the Edinburgh International Science Festival in April 2014 and provide visitors with the chance to explore and work with the ‘Learning Energy System’. User Feedback will then be gathered to better understand the physical effort and thought processes. Consideration will also be taken for whether the system could be applied to a wider audience.

Engineering- A Festival Example

Integrated Molecular Design of Melt-processable Bioresorbable Engineering Nanocomposites for Healthcare (BENcH) (GoW EP/J017272/1)

Brief Summary

Professor Christopher Rudd from the University of Nottingham has submitted a proposal regarding the delivery of new methodologies for the design and manufacture of new nano-scale material that can be broken down and absorbed back into the body. These could result in new ways of fixing broken bones or delivering drugs in the body as well as longer term for advances in degradable food packaging and products requiring end-of-life disposal.

Public Engagement

Dissemination to society will be through a range of medium so as to reach a variety of stakeholders. Specifically it will involve publication in the Nottingham Vision Magazine, general media, UCAS open days and participation in the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. A webpage will also be set up containing public info as well as video footage.

Energy- A Unique Example

SAFE Barriers - a Systems Approach For Engineered Barriers (GoW EP/I036427/1)

Brief Summary

Professor Rebecca Lunn from the University of Strathclyde hopes to improve public reception of nuclear waste management through the use of interactive theatre. Due to increased demand for low-carbon energy technologies, nuclear power generation is now generally regarded in a better light. However, the public still retains a negative attitude towards its by-product: Radioactive Waste.

Public Engagement

Professor Rebecca Lunn plans to make a small contribution to this issue by commissioning a new play through Operating Theatre which will then be shown at partner institutions’ home cities as well as well as areas of the UK that have ties with nuclear industry activities both past and present. The play will also be followed by a 30 minute open discussion with the audience in which the actors will remain in character.

Healthcare- An Example of Two Way Engagement

Medical imaging markers of cancer initiation, progression and therapeutic response in the breast based on tissue microstructure (GoW EP/K020439/1)

Brief Summary

Professor David Hawkes from University College London is conducting a project which aims to help bring about a more personalised and stratified healthcare system with the long term objective being more accurate disease prediction.

Public Engagement

The plan is to disseminate the results of the work through presenting at the Café Science Dundee - events designed to engage the general public in the scientific research going on at the University of Dundee. Short talks and discussions provide an open forum for the research to be discussed and often provide fresh perspectives. As well as this, there will be discussions with the manager for Cancer Research UK regarding guidance on further engagement with both cancer charities and cancer patients. Link to Café Science Dundee: http://www.cafesciencedundee.co.uk/

Physical Sciences- A Fundamental Example

Nonclassicalities and Quantum Control at the Nanoscale (GoW EP/J014664/1)

Brief Summary

Professor Sougato Bose from University College London has proposed a project examining if there are any limits to the validity of quantum principles when applied to nanoscale objects. The aim is to expand the use of quantum physics into larger, easier to control systems.

Public Engagement

Professor Bose has previously raised the profile of his research by entering (and winning) the new Scientist and Wellcome Trust Millennium Science Essay Prize. In terms of dissemination, there exists a successful track record of giving quantum physics related talks and presentations at schools and University open days. The work will also be publicised in well-known science press such as New Scientist and Scientific American. Their intention is also to use the Imperial Centre for Doctoral Training as a platform to broadcast their work.

Maths- A Fundamental Example

Viscous fingering under elastic membranes (GoW EP/J007927/1)

Brief Summary

Professor Anne Juel from the University of Manchester is looking to observe the controlled variations in the pattern forming phenomena produced as a result of displacing a thin fluid, narrowly contained between two set plates, by a less viscous liquid.

Public Engagement

Professor Juel plans to improve society’s understanding of mathematical modelling through utilising the existing public engagement activities she is currently regularly involved in. These include holding Lectures and Masterclasses for Schools and Continuing Education Centres, engaging with the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and being a London Mathematical Society lecturer. The research in question is considered suitable for such activities as the system itself is easy to explain, the complex patterns generated are visually engaging, and the induced change is both noticeable and striking.

Physical Sciences- A Fundamental Example

Physics and Applications of Electron Vortex Beams (GoW EP/J022098/1)

Brief Summary

Professor Jun Yuan from the University of York has proposed new investigations into the physics and applications of the controlled creation of electron vortex beams. These differ from common electron beams in that they have a twisting like property resembling that of a vortex/tornado.

Public Engagement

The proposed plan for dissemination is through the creation of a website that will explain and promote the project as well as publicising project related events. Materials explaining the current challenges in the field will be given to the media, as well as the proposed plans to overcome them. Existing channels of communication will also be made use of, such as university open days, National Science Events, Open Science Lectures and coffee house presentations. The impact activities will then be reviewed half yearly alongside the review of the project itself and will be measured against criteria such as citation, download index and website statistics. Feedback from collaborators and potential end-users will also be taken into account and from which the activities will be adjusted appropriately.

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