Laura first got involved in public engagement as a physics undergraduate at the University of Liverpool, developing shows and workshops to tour secondary schools in Merseyside. While completing her PhD she also ran an outreach business from the University of Liverpool’s Physics department and has presented several high profile lecture series including the 2003 IET Faraday lecture and the 2005 Institute of Physics schools lecture, which she developed and presented with Karen Bultitude. Laura has also presented science on TV, for Discovery Channel’s ‘The Big Experiment’ which aimed to engage 19 uninterested teenagers with the wonders of science and get them through their GCSEs.
Since her early outreach work, Laura has developed an interest in what works and why when engaging audiences with science. Her PhD, entitled Comparative evaluation of science communication activities, addressed these questions and she has since spent most of her career on evaluation research. Laura approaches evaluation as a practitioner herself, which ensures the integrity and relevance of her recommendations. She has completed many evaluation projects for a diverse range of clients including the British Council, the Royal Society, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, AstraZeneca, the Institute of Physics and the Royal Academy of Engineering. One of Laura’s research interests is in developing ways to meaningfully measure impact. She uses a range of tools to help clients develop strategies and impact frameworks to capture learning and measure success. She has also developed her own seven-step approach to evaluation and has written evaluation guides for clients such as Aimhigher Greater Merseyside and the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Development Director, Science Communication Unit, University of the West of England, Bristol
Karen is directly responsible for devising, developing and managing the delivery of various projects which engage public audiences with scientific topics and issues. These multi-site and multi-disciplinary projects involve a range of audiences, venues, messages and delivery media. Recent projects have included Robot Thought, a public engagement performance event with national reach funded by the EPSRC, and Einstein at Glastonbury, a celebration of physics at Glastonbury Festival, sponsored by the Institute of Physics and NESTA.
Karen is an experienced science communicator and has been appointed one of eight national EPSRC Public Engagement Mentors. Karen is active in the direct promotion of science to school age students through a variety of entertaining science shows, including such titles as Working with Lasers – the Real Lightsabers!, Cool Science and Over the Rainbow. Karen has lectured on behalf of a variety of learned organisations, including the Royal Institution, the IEE and the Institute of Physics, and in 2005 was selected to co-present the Institute of Physics School’s Lecture, a nationwide tour reaching over 10,000 students in over 30 venues.
Karen has been invited to perform at a variety of national and international science festivals, including Sasol SciFest (the largest science festival in Africa, held in Grahamstown, South Africa), the Cheltenham Festival of Science and the BA Science Festival.
Head of Public Engagement at the Royal Academy of Engineering
Lesley Paterson is Head of Public Engagement at the Royal Academy of Engineering. Her work at the Academy is focused on building an infrastructure upon which public engagement with engineering can take place, in particular to encourage public dialogue on the impact of engineering on society and feed this into policy formation.
Lesley has worked in public engagement with science, technology and engineering for over 10 years. Prior to the Academy, she was at the Wellcome Trust, where she managed science and society grant schemes and ran a programme of events to encourage networking and shared learning between public engagement practitioners.
Previous positions include ‘PA’ to a sheep (as Dolly’s ‘scientific secretary’ at the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh) and enthusiastically trying to engage 1000s of Scottish school pupils through Edinburgh University’s schools outreach programme ‘Sci-Fun’, where she was both an exhibit designer and show presenter. Lesley started life as a marine biologist wanting to work with dolphins and ended up slightly lower down the evolutionary scale with a PhD in worms.
Research Officer, Centre for Widening Participation, Edge Hill University
Angie has worked across the educational spectrum in teaching and project management roles in schools, higher education and community based education. She is particularly interested in emancipatory and participatory research and is experienced in using action research and participatory evaluation research in education and community projects. Angie has a personal and professional commitment to anti-poverty work including challenging educational inequality developed over many years as a paid and volunteer worker in the UK, Ireland, Bangladesh and Tanzania.
Angie has led on include educational disadvantage, health inequalities, children’s participation and community development.
Managing Director and Principal Consultant, Jenesys Associates
Sarah is an experienced consultant who has undertaken projects throughout the UK for public bodies, development agencies and academic institutions. She has a wealth of experience working for a wide and diverse client base on programmes funded by a range of sponsors including several Universities, Welsh Assembly Government, Knowledge Exploitation Fund, British Council, National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA), Institute of Physics, Regional Development Agencies, EPSRC and Wellcome Trust.
Her extensive management experience has been acquired through holding board and senior management positions in SMEs and management roles in larger organisations in the private and public sectors. The extensive knowledge she has gained from working in these areas has led to her expertise being sought in areas such as programme evaluation and development; promotion of innovation and knowledge transfer programmes; and the management, use, interface and exploitation of systems, technology and innovation.
Prior to forming Jenesys Associates she was employed by Cardiff University as its Business Services Manager, where she was responsible for the management, development and marketing of the University’s services to businesses, including many EU funded programmes.
Her earlier career was spent in the private sector technology marketing roles in SMEs and multinational companies in the agrochemicals industry.