The Brilliant Club Scholars Programme – PhD tutor opportunity – 2020-21

The Scholars Programme is run by The Brilliant Club, an award-winning university access charity. They recruit and train doctoral and post-doctoral researchers to deliver programmes of university-style teaching to pupils in schools that serve under-represented communities.

The University of Manchester works in partnership with The Brilliant Club to offer you the opportunity to join The Brilliant Club’s PhD tutor community in 2020-21.

Download – Information for Researchers (pdf)

Why Become a Scholars Programme PhD Tutor?

  • Support local pupils from underrepresented backgrounds to access university
  • Get expert training and real experience to develop your teaching and other transferable skills
  • Earn £500 per placement plus an additional £100 for designing a new course, and travel expenses
  • Disseminate your research to small groups of school pupils
  • Join a nationwide community of like-minded researchers making a huge impact on university access

The Brilliant Club will be running an online webinar on 29 April 2020 at 11am and 20 Mary 2020 at 11am, where you can find out more about the opportunity of becoming a Scholars Programme PhD tutor. Come along to find out more about the opportunity. To access the webinar, please follow the following links:

Wednesday 29 April 2020, 11am –
Wednesday 20 May 2020, 11am –

Successful applicants are able to select which terms they would like to work as a tutor in and whether they would like to deliver multiple-placements.

Tutors are supported by a training programme consisting of two full-days including sessions on tutorial pedagogy, assessment and designing a course handbook. Each Scholars Programme placement then begins with tutors accompanying their pupils on a university trip, followed by six further tutorials in their school. At the end of the programme pupils submit an assignment which is marked by their tutor.

You can find out more about The Brilliant Club and the tutoring opportunity online. To apply please visit the application form.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to email The Brilliant Club at

Looking for a full-time position?

If you’re keen on working with young people and feel passionate about our charity’s aims, you can apply to our sister programme, Researchers in Schools. RIS is a full-time route into teaching for PhDs that incorporates elements from The Scholars Programme, along with a host of other features designed to get the most from your research skill set. For more information on RIS, including funding and benefits, contact us on

Standing up for Science workshop – 29 April – apply for a place by 13 April

The next Standing up for Science workshop is being held as a webinar on Wednesday 29 April 2020. Find out how to make your voice heard in public debates about science and evidence.

Apply for your free place using this link by Monday 13 April. Successful applicants will be sent a registration link.

This online event will replace the workshop that was to be held at Norwich Research Park. The webinar will be on Wednesday 29 April, 10:00-11:30.

Learn from researchers who have engaged with the media,  and policymakers about why good evidence is important for them and how researchers can help to inform policy. Respected science journalists will talk about how the media works, how to respond and comment, and what journalists expect from scientists and researchers. Get hints and tips from communications experts on how you can start standing up for science, and find out how to involve the public in communicating research.

Free for STEM and social science early career researchers, trainees and medical professionals.

For more information contact Hamid Khan:

Find out more about:

Celebrating the biological sciences for British Science Week

As part of British Science Week, 550 pupils and their teachers from schools throughout Greater Manchester were invited to take in Bio-Discovery Day. Hosted by The University of Manchester and Manchester Museum, the event featured 50 researchers showcasing the wonder of the biological sciences and engaging young people aged 11-14 years old.

Featuring 26 research and teaching stands, school pupils had the opportunity to participate in virtual reality tours, get hands on with 3D printed body parts, build human cells and explore the brains of different animals. Professor Sheena Cruickshank and Professor David Brough also delivered talks to highlight and inform pupils about career pathways in the biological sciences. School pupils also had the opportunity to chat with scientists about the biomedical and biological sciences and their area of expertise.

We wanted the children to get experience of the different subjects that they can study. What they have experienced at Bio-Discovery Day is the complete variety of biology and a lot of things that they would never have thought about before today.” – Mrs A. Handley, Curriculum Leader in Science at Saddleworth School

Organised by Dr Katherine Hinchliffe and Dr Shazia Chaudhry, Bio-Discovery Day aimed to encourage enthusiasm in science in our local school pupils as well as giving their final-year students the opportunity to gain experience in public engagement activities.

Susannah Poole, a final year undergraduate student said of the experience, “This is the first time that I have participated in a public engagement activity, I have gained a lot of valuable insight into how people react and have learnt to not be discouraged if people aren’t interested in what you are saying. When planning future activities, I would focus on making activities more interactive as well as simplifying the language that I use – generally focusing on less science and more fun!

The event gave school pupils the opportunity to see what researchers do at the University as well as what is involved with being a scientist. By hosting the event at the Museum, Bio-Discovery Day also encouraged a sense of fun and discovery, with the exhibits and collections offering an inspirational exploration of science and culture.

Esme Ward, the Director of Manchester Museum commented that “Manchester Museum was alive and kicking… thanks to everyone for a brilliant day. University museums at their best!

Science me a story – short stories telling contest now open

The Society of Spanish Researchers in the UK (SRUK/CERU) would like to invite you to participate in the 3rd edition of our contest Science me a story, an initiative sponsored by Lilly Foundation in collaboration with The University of Liverpool.

The aim of the contest is to promote science using stories as a tool to communicate and engage primary school children. The success obtained in term of participants and media in Spain and United Kingdom with the first and second editions encouraged us to organise it again.

We are very excited about this third edition and want you to participate creating magnificent scientific stories to inspire the curiosity about science in a new generation of young readers.

Moreover, you could win one of the three money prizes worth £150, £100 and £50. If this wouldn’t be enough the awarded stories will be published in a science communication magazine and/or other written media. You will be able to participate in the closing award ceremony that will be held in United Kingdom next Autumn.

What are you waiting for? The contest is open to everyone over 18 years old who wants to write a short scientific story for children (aged 6 to 12 years old). There are two categories, Spanish and English. Send us your manuscript by email to before the 20 April 2020 to be evaluated by a jury.

Find the competition rules here:

DNA Day – a public festival of events celebrating and investigating genetics

In April 1953 Francis Crick and James Watson published the first paper to describe the structure of DNA. In 1993 the Human Genome project began.

DNA Day is a public festival of events celebrating and investigating genetics. Marked around the world, DNA Day is a chance for us all to think carefully about genetics now and in the future.

The festival runs 23 – 35 April 2020 –  there are film screenings, workshops, lectures, and family activities including:

Find more about these opportunities and all of the forthcoming events at:

For more information contact:

Beetlestone Award ­for leadership and legacy in Informal Science Learning

The Beetlestone Award – for leadership and legacy in Informal Science Learning

The purpose of the Beetlestone Award is to recognise a leader in the field of ‘informal learning in science’ – someone still in post in the UK, not a retiree – who has already made or is clearly creating a significant legacy for the field.

Professor John Beetlestone (1932-2017), the founding director of the UK’s first purpose-built science discovery centre, Techniquest in Cardiff, was one of the ISL pioneers of the 20th century.  Who is following in his footsteps?

Now in its third year, this Award has been made possible through the generosity of the Beetlestone family and some other private donors.  Details of how to nominate someone, or to apply yourself, are now available on the BIG website.

The closing date for nominations and applications for this year’s Award is Friday 1 May 2020.

Creating Accessible STEM Outreach Activities

On Wednesday the 19 February, Engagement@Manchester hosted a best practice event centred on creating science outreach activities that are accessible and engaging for young people with sensory impairments.

The session was chaired by Emma Nichols, Public Engagement Manager, Department of Physics and featured guest speakers Robyn Watson, a teacher of the visually-impaired from Thomasson Memorial Sensory Support Service and Sam Tygier from Tactile Collider.

Attendees participated in hands-on activities with some of the tactile resources, explored what makes for accessible science, and found out about opportunities for getting involved with accessible science events planned for summer 2020.

What activities did the attendees try?

Robyn set up some activities so that attendees could step into the shoes of the children with sensory impairments by experiencing everyday tasks blindfolded. Attendees had to slice vegetables, guess what was inside of different tinned goods, match socks and put toothpaste onto a toothbrush. Having had a go at the activities, Robyn challenged attendees to consider how this experience could help shape the development of their own science outreach activities for the visually impaired.

Attendee Dr Naomi Curati said of the activities, “I found the workshop fun and thought-provoking. It has prompted me to think critically about how accessible the engagement activities I am putting together are to people with sensory impairments, and given me some ideas about developing tactile props.

What did Robyn say about creating accessible science outreach activities?

Robyn opened the event by exploring what is needed in creating accessible science outreach activities for children. Her key considerations included:

  • Children with sensory impairments come to science outreach sessions to be excited by science, not just to learn about science. Particularly when working with children with sensory impairments or complex needs, enjoyment is key as this is often not accessible in schools and at events.
  • As a scientist or engagement practitioner, don’t assume any prior knowledge on behalf of the children. Ask questions to gauge their knowledge and experience and think carefully about how you describe research, concepts and activities, without patronising the children.
  • Make sure that demonstrations are simple enough for someone with no prior knowledge or experience with science to understand and keep a steady pace as children with complex or sensory needs can take a longer time to process information.
  • The level of sensory impairment will vary between children as will academic ability so build in time for the children to do the activity to completion – it may take longer than you think.
  • Reflect on how you can adapt your activities by using a range of different sounds and making them visually exciting with use of different colours or bright lights etc. Aim for fireworks – i.e. short bursts of wow!
  • Delivering activities is about how you frame things – you don’t need to have any prior knowledge of science, making topics exciting and accessible is key.

What did Sam say about Tactile Collider?

Tactile Collider is a project that aims to teach children with sensory impairments about particle accelerator physics and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Launched by Dr Robert Appleby in the University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, the project is also led by Project Managers Dr Chris Edmonds and Robyn Watson. Funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the project attempts to create a new model of scientific communication for the visually impaired and directly tackles the issue of communicating with under-represented audiences about science.

The Tactile Collider project has been the recipient of many awards, including the 2019 European Physics Society (EPS) Outreach Award, the 2019 RNIB See Differently Awards and our own Better World and Making a Difference Awards. The communication frameworks used by Tactile Collider can be used for all audiences and represent an innovative approach to encouraging diversity and outreach in science activities.

Sam detailed how Tactile Collider coordinates its engagement activities:

In performing outreach activities and giving students access to scientists, Tactile Collider aims to inspire students to see physics as a viable career option. Students take part in four participatory workshops which start with particles and magnets, using equipment such as 3D jigsaws with embedded magnets. Students then go on to explore the science behind particle acceleration and the Higgs boson. Tactile Collider also have an embodied learning session where groups of students are given a sentence that they have to act out, such as ‘Protons in the Large Hadron Collider go around the ring at 11,000 times a second’.
Some of the other accessible activities created include the CASSIE model accelerator, where students get to see how different components fit together by feeling a five metre diameter scale model of the accelerator, and the ‘sonic collider’ which allows users to experience, for example, particle collisions and acceleration through sound.

Sam also shared what he has learnt about delivering accessible science:

The biggest surprises that Sam has found in delivering accessible science are making assumptions about a sensory impairment as there are a wide range of them as well as how genuinely excited the children are about physics.

To deliver science outreach, effective communication and clear instructions are key in making activities more accessible as well as building formative evaluation into the process. Also, you have to be prepared to adapt by having backup activities and spare materials as there may be missing people and equipment on the day as well as being prepared to accommodate a range of needs and abilities in your students.

Tactile Universe and Emma’s tips for creating accessible science:

Finally, Emma introduced us to some of the 3d-printed galaxy models from Tactile Universe – an award-winning project at the University of Portsmouth Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation to engage the visually impaired community with astrophysics research.

Think about different ways you could explain your topic – those pretty space pictures in your talk might be lovely to look at but are they really crucial? Robyn and I put together an event last year for a small group of children with visual impairments, and my brief asked for no Powerpoint presentations, worksheets or information handouts, but lots of hands-on activities and things that engaged different senses. Rather than those constraints limiting people, the activities they came back with were really varied and brilliant, and would have been great with any schools group.”

An opportunity…

Emma and Robyn have been awarded funding from STFC Wonder Match, which provides opportunities for community organisations and researchers to meet together and develop ideas for engagement activities. As part of their award, they are planning to deliver engagement activities for primary and secondary school pupils with sensory impairments in June.

If you are interested in finding out more about this opportunity and/or would like to take part in a workshop run by Emma and Robyn in April/May to help you craft your own accessible science activity, then get in touch with Emma at

Nominations open for The Josh Award 2020 – Science Communication (closes 14 April)

Applications are now open for the Josh Award, which celebrates the fantastic work being done by science communicators across the UK.

If you have an idea for a show-stopping science communication activity, the Josh Award can provide the platform, experience and support to help you bring it to reality.

What is the Josh Award?

The Josh Award is a national prize for early-career science communicators who are passionate about continuing to work in this field in the future, including students, volunteers, researchers or creatives. The winner of this year’s Award will receive up to £2,500 to develop and deliver an activity for Manchester Science Festival in October 2020, along with a personal prize of £2,000 from the Josh Award Foundation, a year’s paid membership to the BIG STEM Communicators Network and access to professional development opportunities. Last year’s winners, Ben and Fred, wowed festival audiences with a science-themed juggling show.

Find out more and apply

Further information about the Award can be found on the Science and Industry Museum website.

You can submit your application through the online form or visit the website to access a downloadable form.

Audio and video submissions, as well as written applications are welcomed.

The deadline for applications is 10.00 on Tuesday 14 April 2020.

SciComm Summer School in Malta – Grants Available

Are you looking to develop your skills in science communication? Do you want to learn the most innovative techniques that combine science and art? Would you like to build an international network of science communication contacts?

Registration to the fifth STEAM Summer School in Science Communication is now open and a select number of grants are available! The summer school provides an online course combined with a 9-day face to face programme in July. We cover a wide-range of science communication topics, including journalism, social media, event management, arts and performance. What makes us unique is the combination of the Arts with STEM subjects for creative communication approaches. The course will be comprehensive and no previous experience is required.

The school is hosted at the University of Malta and will be a fantastic opportunity to hear from international experts and mix with science communication enthusiasts from around the world. Participants will be able to explore ways to engage various public groups with research and will have a chance to improve writing, speaking and other transferable skills for career development. Through the course, students will also organise their own public-facing event, putting theory into practice.

Watch our video: for a glimpse of what to expect from the 2020 school or head to our website to see some testimonials: from previous attendees.

When: 18 – 26 July 2020
Where: University of Malta, Malta
Who: Undergraduate and postgraduate students, established researchers, educators and SciComm professionals.
Price: €700 until 31 May, €800 until 18 June
Grants: We have early career, international and Maltese grants. Deadline 6 April 2020.

For more information go to:

Posted on behalf of Amanda Mathieson, STEAM Coordinator