Researchers at the University of Oxford have been engaging the public with their research for many years. Have a look at some of the short films below for excellent examples of Public Engagement with Research (PER) activities which Inform/Inspire, Consult and Collaborate with the public.
Symmetry of Sound
Professor Marcus du Sautoy and his team have developed activities to engage young people and adults with sound and symmetry while exploring the mathematics behind the emerging patterns and how it is relevant to instrument design, quantum physics and the theory of prime numbers. In this film, Marcus also discusses on the benefits of Public Engagement with Research and the importance of evaluation. This project was funded by the University's Public Engagement with Research Seed Fund.
Good germs; bad germs
Invisible to the naked eye, yet a constant presence, microbes live in, on and around us. Good germs; bad germs highlights an innovative Public Engagement with Research project that is taking place at the University of Oxford. The researchers collaborate with members of the public to experiment on the microbial life in their kitchens and explore what we really mean by 'clean' and 'dirty'.
Inform / Inspire
LiveFridays (Social Animals)
Purposes / objectives: To explore new ways to engage the public with the University’s cutting-edge social sciences research, and bringing new insight to the Ashmolean collection
Target audiences: Adult Oxfordshire museum goers
Methods: Interactive displays, talks & demonstrations, usage of Ashmolean collections as basis for discussion and interaction.
What makes you tick: Circadian rhythms
Purposes / objectives: Inform and entertain the public about sleep research being conducted at the University of Oxford
Target audiences: Young people/ school students in the UK
Methods: Short animation, hosted in Oxford Sparks website and the University YouTube channel.
'Smart Glasses' offer help to near-blind people
Purposes / objectives: To consult with relevant publics, for whom this research is most relevant, about the direction and use of research on vision enhancement.
Target audiences: Vision impaired individuals who could benefit from improved vision technology, i.e. those who still have minimal sight left
Methods: Conduct research trials with the public, consulting on the direction and progress of the research
Mobilising against hypertension
Purposes / objectives: Consult with patients about their health behaviours in order to tailor research and medical help more effectively for the target population
Target audiences: Individuals in South Africa with high blood pressure
Methods: Using mobile phones to help with adherence to blood-pressure monitoring & disseminating relevant medical advice
New parenting programme promises to reduce child abuse in Africa
Purposes / objectives: Create evidence-based child prevention program by consulting with relevant publics about issues surrounding child-abuse in this particular community
Target audiences: Individuals in South Africa at high risk of child-abuse
Methods: Randomised control trial on different intervention techniques, based on consultation with the relevant publics
Big Cat Conservation in Africa
Purposes / objectives: To confer with the local community to design a suitable program, with local input and buy-in, for harm reduction for local lion population
Target audiences: Young men of the Barabaig tribe, Tanzania, as well as other tribes on the vicinity
Methods: Consultation with local tribes to create attitude change and conservation programs to reduce lion hunting in the area
Stopping floods on the cheap: A success story from Yorkshire
Purposes / objectives: Manage flood risk using local community knowledge to inform research and implementation.
Target audiences: Local residence in areas in the UK at high risk of flooding
Methods: Work with local communities to inform research practice in controlling flood risk
African honey bees change lives and save elephants
Purposes / objectives: Use local knowledge to find alternative ways to protect Kenyan farmers and farms from elephants.
Target audiences: Farmers in Kenya in elephant roaming zones
Methods: Using local knowledge that elephants are afraid of bees to inform research on utilising beehives as a natural elephant deterrent – one which is appropriate to the target audience and sustainable.
Translating ancient lives
Purposes / objectives: Recruit relevant publics to collaborate in research translating ancient Egyptian texts
Target audiences: Amateurs, professionals, school children and others interested in Egyptology, with internet access and spare time
Methods: Use citizen science methods to participate in research translating ancient Egyptian texts
Purposes / objectives: To allow for collaboration on astrological research with hundreds of thousands individuals, enhance research and understand how galaxies form
Target audiences: Amateurs, professionals, school children and others interested in astronomy, with internet access and spare time
Methods: Create a platform to allow for ‘citizen science’ participation in the research process, and use it to improve research on the classification of galaxies
Purposes / objectives: To invite audiences to collaborate with researchers in the process of analysing data gathered in the Antarctic about penguin colonies.
Target audiences: Audiences with internet access, an interest in antarctic ecology, and spare time to contribute to research
Methods: Engaging with interested audiences to take part in conducting research by tagging research images (Citizen Science)