Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences


Public Engagement Projects

The Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences work across a wide range of public engagement activities, from patient advisory groups and co-produced patient events to national festivals and artist-led workshops.

While we can't provide summaries of them all, this page features case studies and articles about a range of different activities the centre are involved with. If you're interested in suggesting or developing a project with WEISS research just let us know.  

Case Studies 

Science of Surgery

In April 2023, we welcomed over 500 members of the public to ‘Science of Surgery’, a fun-filled, interactive afternoon of activities demonstrating how science and engineering at the Centre are changing surgery. 

Researcher demonstrating an activity to children

In Theatre

In Theatre was an interactive pop-up installation which explored how AI and robotics will revolutionise surgery now and in the future. In Theatre ran from 17 October - 6 November 2022 in Brick Lane, London.

Image of In Theatre pop up exhibition

SURGE Art-Science Gallery

July 2021

The Surge project invited UCL healthcare technology researchers and postgraduate artists at UAL to come together and consider the role of data in health, and the public, ethical and societal effects of surgical technologies. Together they sought to overcome the barriers of communication put in place as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and engage with members of the public to contribute to the creation of new work. You can watch the online launch on our YouTube channel. 

The Doctor's Assistant

March 2021

In a collaboration between WEISS, UCLH and Fast Familar, we have developed The Doctor’s Assistant, a scenario game exploring near futures of data-driven healthcare. The experience presents participants with different cases of the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare settings, increasing the complexity, both procedural and ethical, each time and inviting people to consider questions around explainability, interpretability and responsibility.

The Aorta: The River Within Us

February 2021

Launched in 2021 after a year of development, the Multiscale Cardiovascular Engineering Group created The Aorta: The River Within Us, an online experience to explore our anatomy and the techniques we use to understand it. This was developed in collaboration with Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland, a patient association for people affected by aortic dissection and their families, and the design studio Cellule.

SURGE Art/Sci Partnerships Announced

26 January 2021

After a matchmaking workshop, followed by joint funding round for collaborative artist / scientist pitches, we announced three final projects that will be funded for short partnerships to develop responses to themes and topics of public interest related to WEISS research. 

The Surgical Science Stand Off II 

24 November 2020

Following the success of our first Surgical Science Stand Off, on 18 November 2020 a new group of six WEISS researchers took to the virtual stage to convince us that their research is the most essential, all in a bid to avoid being mercilessly voted out of the competition. 

Operative Birth Parent Group

18 November 2020

In November we held a 'pilot' for a new series of parent workshops, bringing together people who work and have experience of operative birth to co-design a group that will shape research in this area together. Read how the group was set up and delivered, as well as the personal experiences of parents and WEISS PhD Student Carmen.

The Surgical Science Stand Off

21 September 2020

This public digital event pitted six WEISS researchers against each other to pitch their research to 38 members of the public and a panel of six esteemed judges in an attempt to win the first Surgical Science Stand Off. 

SURGE Sci/Art Partnerships Research Call Launched 

26 August 2020

In August we launched a call inviting researchers at WEISS and artists from the University Arts London to take part in matchmaking workshops and short projects to consider the public, ethical and societal implications of surgical technologies. We had 52 responses and the project starts proper in late-2020.

NeuroSAFE PROOF Public & Patient Involvement Session

21 July 2020

On 21st July the NeuroSAFE PROOF clinical research team conducted their first ever virtual Public & Patient Involvement Session, talking to over 35 men with prostate cancer about their research and discussing patients' priorities for future 

Tomorrow's Home 2050: Visions of Home-based Healthcare

June 2020

In June 2020 we announced successful Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious funding for a collaborative project with UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering, creating an immersive and interactive space to imagine what home healthcare will look like in 30 years’ time, to be delivered in Winter 2021.

Digital Science SciComm Training 

May 2020

This short series took 30 staff and students through the essentials of breaking down and presenting research online using videos for public audiences. Led by professional science communicators, participants could try out and get feedback on their own videos.

Science Museum Lates

29 January 2020

Two teams at WEISS took part in the Science Museum Lates, talking to over 600 curious adults about robotics and imaging in healthcare under the theme of ‘Medicine’. This was followed up with family half term sessions and a lunch event for older people, all in their new Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

Nerve Injury Community Day

16 November 2019

Co-produced between researchers, medical professionals, people with nerve injury and their families, this event brought all these groups together to explore experiences of living and working with nerve injury through workshops, talks and stalls.

Read full details of the event in our Nerve Injury Community Day Evaluation Report 2019, featuring full event details, pictures and feedback from contributors and attendees.

Bowel & Cancer Research Big Bowel Event

4 October 2019

Peter Mountney from the WEISS spin-out Odin Vision was a contributor at Bowel & Cancer Research's Big Bowel Event, giving a short presentation before hosting a table for 'round table' discussion sessions.

Petchey Academy Science Festival

7 August 2019

Staff and students from WEISS shared their research with pupils at Petchey Academy in Dalston, following a programme of workshops and activities organised by Daniil Nikitichev and a team from across UCL.

Science of Surgery

12 April 2019

We welcomed over 300 members of the public to ‘Science of Surgery’, a fun filled, interactive afternoon of activities demonstrating how science and engineering at the centre is changing surgery. 

Case Study: Science of Surgery

See full details of our flagship community open day on our dedicated webpage, with a full report, videos and images capturing the aims, activites and action of the day!

GIFT-surg Patient Information Videos Co-created with Charities

6 December 2018

UCL / KCL staff and students meet regularly with patient and charity representatives on a patient involvement group for the Wellcome/ EPSRC funded GIFT-surg Fetal Surgery project. As one of the many outputs from this group they co-created a set of patient information videos explaining the core conditions that the project seeks to develop and improve surgical procedures for. 

Exploring Under the Skin

21 November 2018

Since the beginning of time, humans have strived to understand what we’re made of. Taking place last Wednesday in Wilkins Building, ‘Exploring Under the Skin’ was an interactive exploration of how humanities and science have intersected to answer this question.

WEISS/IHE Ideas Generation Workshop 

25 July 2018

Researchers and students from WEISS and IHE came together for a productive one-day workshop which aimed to generate public engagement ideas linked to their UCL research areas.

UCLH Research Open Day

5 July 2018

A team of WEISS researchers participated in UCLH Research Open Day to showcase the cutting-edge research and innovation taking place at UCL and UCLH and to celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS, winning a prize for best stall.

The WEISS SmartLiver team won a prize for best stall at the UCLH Public Open Day (2018)
Award Winners

This stall, developed and delivered by the COMPASS group, won the UCLH Open Day's award for 'Best Stand', out of more than thirty other participants.

New Scientist Live 2017

28 September – 01 October 2017

WEISS research and members were front and centre as we took part in the UCL Insitute of Healthcare Engieering stall at the massive New Scientist Live, with approx. 3,000 visitors to the stall over 4 busy days! Our team were inspired by the diversity of questions and the interest shown.

Smart Surfaces at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition

3-7 July 2017

Ivan Parkin's lab took part in the annual Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, with an interactive stall exploring their work creating antimicrobial and self-cleaning surfaces and their real world applications to reduce infections in hospitals.