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Public Engagement at Manchester

I’m a Scientist, Stay at Home

UK Research and Innovation is excited to be funding I’m a Scientist, Stay at Home! which is running throughout the summer term until 20 July.

The I‘m a Scientist, Stay at Home! project is enabling school pupils to engage with active researchers and staff to provide inspiring STEM lessons for pupils as they are taught at home during the school closures. Pupils engage in online text chats where they can ask scientists questions and find out about their work. Pupils then vote for their favourite researcher at the end. UKRI funding is enabling I’m a Scientist to expand its online platform to reach over 1,200 schools and 140,000 pupils over the summer term.

We’re looking for UKRI-funded researchers and staff to take part. It’s a great way for you to hone your communication skills and inspire the next generation about research. If you would like to find out more and sign up to take part, please visit https://imascientist.org.uk/stayathome/scientist-signup/ukri/.

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 – https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/995686677
Wednesday 20 May 2020, 11am – https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/810030517

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 apply@thebrilliantclub.org.

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 apply@researchersinschools.org

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!

Registration now open for the 2020 Alan Turing Cryptography and Mathsbombe Competitions!

Alan Turing Cryptography Competition
Now in its ninth year, the online competition is open to secondary school children up to Year 11 (England and Wales), S4 (Scotland) and Year 12 (Northern Ireland). Run by the Department of Mathematics at The University of Manchester, it is a great way for children to develop their mathematical and problem-solving skills while having fun. The competition will begin in January 2020.And the best bit? There are lots of opportunities to win some great prizes, which have been sponsored by the flight search company Skyscanner. Skyscanner was set up by two former computer scientists from The University of Manchester – two people who directly benefitted from Turing’s contributions to Manchester and computing.

The competition follows the story of two young cipher sleuths, Mike and Ellie, as they get caught up in a cryptographic adventure ‘The Tale of the Bouncing Bombe’. New chapters of the story will be released every 1-2 weeks, each with a cryptographic code to solve. There are six chapters in total (plus an epilogue). Points can be earned by cracking each code and submitting the answers. The team that solves each chapter the fastest will win a prize, and there will also be a number of spot prizes chosen at random from all the correct entries.

At the end of the competition, the University will host the Alan Turing Cryptography Day at the end of April 2020. You will be able to register for this event from Saturday 1st February 2020. We anticipate plenty of code-breaking action, from a live cryptography challenge to a prize ceremony for the competition winners. It’s not to be missed!

For more details, including how to register, please visit:

Mathsbombe Competition
MathsBombe is an online competition aimed at students up to Year 13 (England and Scotland), S6 (Scotland), Year 14 (Northern Ireland). Every fortnight a new mathematical puzzle set will be released. There are prizes for the first team to submit the correct answer for each puzzle, as well as “spot-prizes” for three teams drawn at random from all the correct solutions every fortnight. The puzzles will be quirky, fun and cover the full spectrum of Mathematics; they will not be directly related to the A-Level syllabus and will be unlike problems in, say, the UKMT. Instead students will need to use their problem-solving skills and be able to ‘think outside the box’ – valuable skills for students going on to study STEM subjects at university. The competition is supported by the Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw Trust.

For more details, including how to register, please visit: https://www.maths.manchester.ac.uk/mathsbombe/

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at: cryptography_competition@manchester.ac.uk

Engaging with Schools – Training for Researchers

Are you passionate about your subject area? Are you interested in taking your research or an activity into the classroom? Want to develop your public engagement skills? Then this free schools engagement training opportunity is for you!

Tuesday 19 November 2019, 9:30 – 16:30, The University of Manchester

SUPI: Engaging with Schools. This one-day, interactive workshop for researchers explores the why, what and how of engaging with secondary schools. This one-day, interactive workshop is for researchers from any discipline who are interested in communicating their research to a secondary schools audience. It explores the why, what and how of engaging with secondary schools. Full details about the course can be found here.

Open to: Postgraduate Researchers, Postdoctoral Research Associates, Research Staff and New Academics with little or no experience of school engagement. Open to all disciplines.

What do previous participants say?

  • “This workshop was a great the opportunity to share my ideas for activities with other people.”
  • “This session helped me in gaining an understanding of what schools, students, and teachers are looking for in engaging with academics/university research.”

And there’s additional funding and support: But we don’t just want to inspire you with great ideas. We want to help you develop those ideas into concrete plans! This course is all about developing confidence, networks, and experience in engaging with local secondary schools. Following the one-day workshop there will be the opportunity to access funding and support to deliver your activity in school.

Registration: Book your free place here: https://app.manchester.ac.uk/FFSES8000

What was the School-University Partnerships Initiative (SUPI)? A scheme providing opportunities for schools and universities to bring contemporary research to life for young people. Find out more here. Though the external funding has come to an end, the legacy of SUPI continues at The University of Manchester through collaboration with a variety of schemes such as The Brilliant Club, a charity that exists to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly selective universities through sharing the expertise of the PhD community with state schools.

For enquiries please contact Roz Webster in the Widening Participation Team: roz.webster@manchester.ac.uk