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Public Engagement at Manchester

Standing up for Science workshop – 1 December 2021

Applications are now open for our next Standing up for Science workshop taking place on 1 December at Wellcome Collection, London.

The aim of the free workshop is to encourage early career researchers (ECRs) to make their voices heard in public debates about science. Join us to find out how to contribute research findings to public discussions and engage effectively with journalists and policymakers.

The session will be made up of three panels, a researcher panel, media panel and a policy panel, where ECRs can learn what is expected of them from other researchers, journalists and policymakers, routes and pathways to engage with media or policy worlds, as well as useful tips and tricks from the panellists and each other.

Find our more on our Sense About Science webpage and complete the online application form.

The application deadline is 17:00, Monday 1 November.

Posted on behalf of Joshua Gascoyne, Policy Officer, Sense about Science

Policy@Manchester Training Sessions for Researchers – March 2021

Policy@Manchester are running online training sessions in March for researchers at The University of Manchester looking to leverage impact with a policy audience.

Places at each session are limited and will be allocated on a first come-first served basis. If you would like to register your interest for any or all of the below please do so via email to policy@manchester.ac.uk

Engaging with select committees – Thursday 18 March, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
This three-hour interactive training session will cover effective ways to engage with parliamentary select committees, including how to prepare written and oral evidence submissions, and how to support your messages with wider communication strategies.

Writing a policy brief – Wednesday 24 March, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm (Last couple of places remaining)
This three-hour interactive training session will cover best practice when preparing a policy brief, including how best to get the attention of relevant politicians and officials, and how to ensure you message and policy recommendations are clearly communicated.

Engaging with regional policymakers – Wednesday 31 March, 10:00 am – 15:30 pm
This virtual, interactive training session will cover regional and local opportunities for policy engagement, including how to influence and shape devolved decision-making and is relevant to any University of Manchester researcher looking to create impact at the local or regional level.

Posted on behalf of  Laura Jack, Events and Projects CoordinatorPolicy@Manchester

Policy@Manchester Student Academic Day – Monday 23 March 2020

Policy Training Session for University of Manchester Students – open postgraduates and undergraduates – Monday 23 March 9.30am – 4pm, Barnes Wallis Building, North Campus

Are you interested in understanding the ‘policy’ world? How decisions that affect us all are made? How research is used to inform politicians’ views?

Policy@Manchester is holding a one day training session on 23 March aimed at University of Manchester students across all subjects and disciplines. The session will be led by Andy Westwood, Professor in Government Practice with Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Public First.

This intense and interactive day is based on the UoM 2019 Policy Boot Camp format. It will begin with a mix of the theory from Andy Westwood’s An Introduction to Policy Making module interspersed with real life case studies presented by GMCA policy officials. You will then role play how policy makers might respond to example pieces of research before Public First guides you through designing your own ‘focus group’ and ‘poll’ to help answer the questions from your analysis of piece of research.

Be prepared to learn by doing and work in teams – this is not a lecture format and you will get out of this what you put in. The only prerequisites are that you interested in the policy process and willing to actively participate. You do not need to have a politics education or expertise in the case studies – this is aimed at any academic background.

Still interested?

Great! This is what we expect you to do before the session:

  • Email policy@manchester.ac.uk letting them know you would like to attend – booking is essential
  • Take 10 minutes to complete the application form that will be emailed to you.
    Skim over some of the pre-course reading that will be sent out to you after you complete the application form. This shouldn’t take too much time out of your normal routine.
  • Google GMCA and Public First – if you’re aiming to impress them, asking what they do or how they work might not help.
  • In early March, research papers that are associated with the challenge you’d like to focus on will be sent out to you. Have a read of them before 23 March – perhaps do some digging around if those papers pose any questions – this shouldn’t take more than 45 to 60 mins.

Venue: Barnes Wallis Room, Barnes Wallis Building (next to Manchester Meeting Place), North Campus.

Time: 9.30 (tea/coffee available) for a prompt 10.00 start to 16.00 [tea/coffee and lunch provided]

Equipment: Bring something to connect to the internet for research and completing some of the exercises (fully charged if possible, but there should be power points around the room) If you can’t bring a device or you run out of battery, there’ll be paper versions available.

Registration: Email policy@manchester.ac.uk


  • I can’t attend the whole session, can I still come along? The course is designed as a sequential session so priority will be given to those who can do the whole day. If you can’t attend for the whole session, let us know and if there’s space, we’ll let you know.
  • Will there be a certificate at the end of the course? No, this is not a certified module. It’s aimed to give you some practical experience. Stelify or UCIL (if you want something accredited) are both great initiatives to get involved with too.
  • Are you running the course again? We’re not planning on running this course again, but if there’s strong demand we will consider it
  • Will you be circulating the course material or be recording the session? No, this is an interactive session and the materials and any recordings will not make sense as standalone materials.
  • Can I select a different research paper to look at during the course? No. The papers will be associated with each case study. We’re specifying which ones so we can be prepared to help you analyse it.
  • Is this different to the 2019 Policy Boot Camp? The morning will be based on some of the elements of the Policy Boot Camp. The afternoon will focus on practicing developing a focus group and polling methodology rather than a policy briefing.
  • I’m a reflective, rather than instinctive thinker and this session sounds too fast paced. Will it be useful for me? Definitely! If you are a reflective thinker, then you might find it helpful spend more time reading over the research paper. The pre-course work is also developed for reflective thinking.
  • Where’s the application form? Email policy@manchester.ac.uk letting them know you would like to register and they will send you one out.
  • Will there be internship opportunities available on completion? No, not through this one day session.The 2019 Boot Camp was designed to provide participants with insights into the policy process in order to apply for internships. This one day session is designed to provide you with an insight on how research is used in a policy context, and this will stand you in good stead for an application for a policy organisation. Public First do take on interns, and they’ll outline how to apply at the end of the session.

Fanaroff Lecture – 19 February 2020, 6pm – with Dr Marga Gual Soler

If you are interested or involved in science communication and policy, then you won’t want to miss out of the Fanaroff Lecture – 19 February 2020, 6pm – with Dr Marga Gual Soler.

Find out more and get your free tickets at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fanaroff-lecture-2020-tickets-91803078479

About the 2020 Fanaroff Lecture
The 2020 Fanaroff Lecture will be held Wed 19th Feb at 6pm in the Samuel Alexander Building on the University of Manchester campus. This lecture has been organised through the DARA Big Data project, led by Prof Anna Scaife. The Fanaroff Lecture honours scientists who have been instrumental in developing policy and working with policy makers. It is a public lecture and is intended to raise the importance of science communication for policy within the scientific community.

About the speaker – Dr Marga Gual Soler
This year we are delighted to have the inspiring Dr Marga Gual Soler as the speaker for the Fanaroff Lecture.Dr Gual Soler will talk about the role that scientists have to play in international relations and policy, her own career path and her vision for how the global science community can most effectively engage with policy makers.

Following her PhD in Molecular Biology, investigating the role of protein trafficking in organ development and cancer, Dr Gual Soler joined the United Nations with an ambition of bridging the worlds of science and international policy. Since then Dr Gual Soler has led the development of science diplomacy globally, advising multiple national governments and the EU on science diplomacy strategy and training thousands of young scientists and diplomats around the world in this emerging field. Notably, Dr Gual Soler was responsible for overseeing the landmark cooperation agreement between the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Cuban Academy of Sciences after full diplomatic relations resumed between the USA and Cuba in  2015. She has recently returned from the largest-ever all-women expedition to Antarctica to promote the role of women in science diplomacy and climate action.

Free Training: Engaging with Select Committees and MPs – 9 May 2018

Engaging with Select Committees and MPs – Wednesday 09/05/2018 13:00 – 16:30, Kanaris Lecture Theatre, 2nd Floor, Manchester Museum

Run in conjunction with the Royal Society

In the last Research Exercise Framework, 20 percent of impact case studies outlined substantive engagement with Parliament, while Parliamentarians are often cited by researchers as being among those they want to influence. Arguably, technology and a drive towards more ‘open policy making’ now makes it easier to connect with policy actors.

But do you really understand what these policy actors want from academics? How is academic research and evidence viewed – and used – by your target audience? And what are the secrets to getting your messages across, to shape debates and decisions?

This session is specifically designed for researchers who intend to actively engage with politicians and policymakers in the near future.

Contributors to this session include;

  • A member of staff from a Parliamentary Committee
  • A former Parliamentary Assistant to an MP
  • A member of the Royal Society’s Public Affairs Team.
  • Academics who have engaged with Parliament and policy

Places are limited and are expected to be in high demand, so please only book if you can definitely attend. Please note we may charge for non-attendance or restrict your ability to book onto future training if you book a place and do not turn up. (Please note that lunch is not provided.)

Register: https://app.manchester.ac.uk/TP45MP


Learn the basics of UK Policy Making and Influencing – Free Training!

Policy@Manchester is offering researchers a chance to get a basic grounding in public policy and policymaking; with the aim of helping them better understand opportunities for impact.

Introduction to UK Policy Making and Influencing, run by Policy@Manchester, will run on Wednesday 28 March, 2.00-4.30pm.

Register: https://app.manchester.ac.uk/TP45P

This session is designed to be a primer on what is meant by public policy and policymaking, the environment in which national and regional policy is made, and the policy actors who have the ability to influence decisions.

It is suitable for those with no or little public policy experience, who want to understand more about the policy environment and landscape regionally and nationally, and how they might use their research to engage. This session is aimed primarily at researchers, but will also be of relevance to PSS support staff working in engagement and knowledge exchange, who need to facilitate academic and policymaker interactions.

Places are free, but are limited and must be booked here; https://app.manchester.ac.uk/TP45P.

The session will take place on the 5th Floor in the Roscoe Building on the Oxford Rd campus. Please only book a place if you can definitely attend on that day.

Research Council Policy Internships Scheme for PhD Students (Closes 10 Aug)

The Research Council Policy Internships Scheme provides the opportunity for Research Council-funded PhD students to work for three months in one of a selected group of highly influential policy organisations.

You can find out more about the scheme and application process here (closing date 10 August).

Policy@manchester are happy to offer support and guidance with applications so please do get in touch with jess.lishak@manchester.ac.uk if you’re considering applying.

The Research Councils organise internships for current Research Council-funded PhD students to work at partner host organisations on one or more policy topics relevant to both the student and the host. The student will be expected to produce at least one briefing paper, participate in a policy inquiry and/or organise a policy event, or equivalent piece of work. Internships are awarded to a number of Parliamentary, Government Departments and Non-Governmental Bodies, Learned societies and organisations.

The 22 Hosting Partners for the 2017/18 competition round are:

  • Department for Education
  • Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
  • Food Standards Agency
  • Government Office for Science (GoS)
  • Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC)
  • HM Courts & Tribunals Services
  • Home Office
  • Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)
  • National Assembly for Wales Research Service
  • Natural England
  • Northern Ireland Assembly (RaISe)
  • Northern Ireland Housing Executive
  • Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST)
  • Public Health England
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe)
  • Scrutiny Unit
  • Sentencing Council
  • The Royal Society
  • The Royal Society of Biology (RSB)
  • Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP)
  • Youth Justice Board for England & Wales

Call for applications: Royal Society Pairing Scheme 2016

Royal Society Pairing Scheme for Scientists, Parliamentarians and Civil Servants

The Royal Society Pairing Scheme aims to help MPs and civil servants establish links with practising research scientists and to help research scientists understand political decision making and its associated pressures.

The scheme offers scientists the opportunity to understand the policy process and explore methods of sharing their knowledge with Government. Scientists will be paired with either an MP or civil servant. They will spend time together in their Laboratory and in turn in their paired MP’s constituency or Civil Servant’s Government office. All scientists will participate in a ‘Week in Westminster’ providing a valuable insight into how science policy is formed.

Applicants are required to have at least two years postdoctoral research experience. Applicants should also be able to demonstrate good communication skills, and in particular, an ability to communicate their research to a lay audience.

The scheme is now open for applications from scientists until Wednesday 9 March.

Find out more and apply at: https://royalsociety.org/grants-schemes-awards/pairing-scheme/

Posted by Dee-Ann Johnson, Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences, The University of Manchester

Early career researchers – take your research to Westminister

SET for BRITAIN Poster Competition 2016 – now open

Applications are invited from early-career research scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians who wish to exhibit at the SET for BRITAIN poster competition.

Awards are made on the basis of the very best research work and results by an early-career researcher (MSc/PhD/Post Doc or similar, either in academia or industry) together with their ability to communicate their work to a lay audience.

SET for BRITAIN exists to raise the profile of Britain’s early-stage researchers at Westminster by engaging Members of both Houses of Parliament with current science, engineering and mathematics research being undertaken in the UK, especially that by their local constituents and in their local University.

The competition is divided into five subject areas:

  • Biological and Biomedical Science
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics

There are 3 poster exhibitions and judging sessions during the day, each ending with a reception and prize-giving. The competition currently attracts around 500 entrants, of whom approximately 35% are selected to present their work in Parliament.

Previous winners – Last year’s Gold Award winner in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences, was Dean Lomax, from the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester. Take a look all the 2015 winning posters.

Applications for submission close 21 December 2015 – You will need to submit (i) the online application, (ii) an abstract of the poster in PDF and (iii) a letter of reference from a senior colleague in PDF. (Application is solely by electronic submission.)

For full application, eligibility, and competition details see: http://www.setforbritain.org.uk/index2016.asp

Take chemistry to Parliament

If you’re a Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) member with or currently working towards your PhD, you can apply to get directly involved in communicating science for and to parliamentarians through the RSC Westminster Fellowship scheme.

Two successful applicants will spend three months working at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), an office of the two Houses of Parliament that provides balanced and objective analysis of science and technology issues, where they will:

  • Brief MPs on science and technology issues
  • Aid scientific research into public policy areas
  • Help raise public awareness.

The closing date for applications is 15 May 2014 and candidates should be available to start between October 2014 and May 2015. Each successful fellow will be funded by a £5,000 bursary from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Find out more and download an application form here – www.rsc.org/science-activities/parliament/westminster-fellowship-scheme/index.asp

You can also read about the Westminster Fellowship and hear from past fellows in the latest issue of RSC News (pages 10-11). Download the digital edition here – www.rsc.org/AboutUs/News/RSCnews/