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Public Engagement at Manchester

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!

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