Image of the Radcliffe Camera building; part of the University of Oxford
Image of the Radcliff Camera building; part of the University of Oxford

Engaged research at Oxford

Have a look at some of the short films below for excellent examples of Public Engagement with Research (PER) activities that take place at Oxford which Inform/Inspire, Consult and Collaborate with the public.

Featured Films

Bacterial World - Exhibiting Research

Researchers from across the university worked with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on their exhibition 'Bacterial World'. Incorporating more than 55 exhibits – spanning monumental art, geological and deep-sea specimens, film, and digital interactives – Bacterial World demonstrated how these tiny organisms wield huge influence over us, shaping the past, present and future of life on our planet. In this video you can hear from some of the lead academics on the project on the benefits of working with the museum.

Mediating modern German poetry

Professor Karen Leeder has worked with individual poets, translators, musicians and artists to explore modern German poetry. She has reached out to new public audiences – across the country and further afield – through festivals, workshops, masterclasses, readings schools visits and even poetry duels.

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)

PER Background:

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

PER Background:

 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

PER Background:

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

PER Background:

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

PER Background:

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

African lionHalf the lion populations in key regions of Africa will be lost over the next two decades, according to a new study.

Image credit: South African Tourism (Flickr), Creative Commons

PER Background:

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

PER Background:

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

PER Background:

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.


PER Background:

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

Penguin Lifelines

PER Background:

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)