IHE Impact Fellows show off their science research in public event
21 June 2021
Over two afternoons, our cohort of IHE Impact Fellows took a brave leap into the world of science communication.
Hosted by podcaster and comedian, Steve Cross, ‘Science Showcase’ was a relaxed, public event aimed at teens and above. The event was designed to give the public a glimpse into ways researchers are changing the world, and give the Impact Fellows an opportunity to put their engagement skills into action.
The IHE Impact Fellowship scheme was launched in October 2020. Since then, we have been training and guiding our cohort to develop their engagement skills, and build a network beyond university walls. The Impact Fellows have received bespoke training sessions and advice from science impact and communication stars like Dr Kevin Fong, and Professor Sophie Scott CBE. They’ve covered topics from social media through to engaging with policymakers.
‘Science Showcase’ was a culmination of all the training and hard work they have been putting in these past few months. The Fellows were challenged to communicate why their research matters and the impact it’s having in just five minutes. Oh, and they had to keep the language simple and jargon-free. No easy task for researchers used to sharing their work with their academic peers, instead of the general public!
This was the biggest learning curve for many of the Fellows. What’s ‘understandable’ and interesting to someone not steeped in academia? Steve Cross and the IHE communications team helped the cohort workshop their ideas, and the Fellows were fantastic at offering each other their own advice based on what they’d learnt.
Peter Wijeratne said the enthusiasm and support from the other team members got him through the difficult planning stages of trying to make his abstract research come to life. “Hearing other Fellows talk about what they’re trying to achieve was really motivating”.
We were blown away by quality and the diversity of the Fellows’ talks. The talks were humorous, moving and informative – covering topics from why Calpol taste so good through to monitoring COVID at the 2021 BRIT Awards.
You can watch the full sessions below:
Tuesday (with Rupy Matharu, Karen Lloyd, Nazia Mehrban, Anika Kaura and Julia Bailey)
Thursday (with Matthew Wilson, Neel Desai, Emma Wilson, Sara Abad, Helen Matthews, Peter Wijeratne and Reza Motallebzadeh)
Reflecting on her experience, Emma Wilson said “Everyone can learn to be a better communicator. I always thought that engagement was for others, but this year has shown be differently”.
Karen Lloyd expressed a similar sentiment; “I applied for this Fellowship because I didn’t think I’d be very good at impact and I wasn’t very confident at doing any of these things. What I take away from this experience, is motivation and inspiration. I’m jazzed to get going on some projects of my own”.
We’d like to say a big ‘well done’ to our amazing Impact Fellows for all they’ve achieved over the last few months, and putting on a fantastic, entertaining show.
"It has been such a pleasure to work with the Fellows throughout the year and see their evolution. Their ability to tell the story of their research accessibly, whilst retaining excitement and enthusiasm, has been brilliantly demonstrated during their Showcase talks. They are moving forward from the Fellowship with perspectives of engagement that are measured, thoughtful, and, above all, driven by genuine conversation and collaboration with those they are engaging. I cannot wait to see what they do next.” - Georgie Cade, IHE Communications & Impact Manager
If you’re a UCL researcher interested in learning more about impact and engagement, keep your eyes peeled for more in this space. We will be opening another round of Impact Fellowships in September 2021. You can sign up for our newsletter to be first in the know when applications open.