Public engagement and outreach

Inspiring the next generation of researchers and supporting colleagues’ career development through inclusive outreach

Outreach and engagement, particularly with those from underserved groups, is one of our key priorities. We want to make sure that we are inspiring the next generation of young scientists at the earliest possible opportunity, helping to shatter the myth that scientists are all men in white coats, and offer a realistic view of careers in biomedical science.

We’ll utilise the University of Exeter’s Access and Participation Plan to help widen participation for groups experiencing barriers in higher education. As well as using this framework we’re working together with our partner NHS Trusts to keep our initiatives and aims front and centre of all we do. We’re doing this is in a variety of ways, including; hosting festivals to showcase our research, running fun and engaging activities; hosting open days for young people to see our facilities and take part in mini research experiments. We’ll also be offering work experience placements.

We encourage as many of our BRC members as possible to get involved in these outreach opportunities for a lasting impact on upcoming generations of scientists and to help with our colleagues professional development, especially around communication and leadership skills – key attributes in a research career. Impact and research output recording is becoming increasingly recognised by funding bodies when assessing grant applications, so involvement in these activities will put colleagues in a positive position as their careers progress.

People dressed as scientists welcoming visitors to the interactive Killer Fungus activity at The Bristish Science Festival hosted by the University of Exeter in 2023

The interactive Killer Fungus activity at The British Science Festival hosted by the University of Exeter in 2023

Science Festivals

Highlighted below are a range of science festivals taking place on an annual basis across the South West Peninsula. We encourage all our members to get involved in as many outreach events as possible to disseminate their research findings and are happy to support our members’ involvement. Get in touch to find out how we can support you.

  • Pint of Science – an international festival which aims to bring the latest scientific research to the general public by presenting straightforward talks and fun interactive activities in local pubs around university cities. The ‘Exeter’ festival is run by PGRs and ECRs and takes place over a few days in May with occasional events in other months. If you are willing to help with any aspect of planning and organising the various events, or to present your research in a fun and understandable manner, please contact
  • Soapbox Science – this feevent showcases the research of women who are making significant contributions to the scientific community. It follows the format of London Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner, transforming a part of Exeter (in June) into an arena for public learning and scientific debate; creating a dynamic and bustling atmosphere and learning environment for all.
  • Sidmouth Science Festival – this event takes place in October each year, with organisers working with local and national organisations to deliver a week of high quality events in the South West for both the public and local schools. The main theme is Science in our Lives. It aims to inform, educate and inspire all parts of the community and show how Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) impact on everyday life thus giving people a better understanding of the world around them. In addition, the Festival team run a monthly Café Scientifique.
  • Somerscience Festival – an exciting annual science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) family festival that takes place across Bruton and Castle Cary in South Somerset. A stimulating blend of shows, workshops, talks, and our interactive science fair full of exhibitions and demonstrations. The 2024 event will take place on the 6th May.
  • Futures – this festival of discovery celebrates research and researchers from all backgrounds and disciplines, providing a chance for curious minds to meet scientists, historians, doctors, mathematicians, and more – this festival takes place across Bath, Bristol, Devon, Exeter, Plymouth and Cornwall.
  • British Science Festival – Europe’s longest standing science Festival, travelling to a different place in the United Kingdom each year. Our Festival aims to connect people with scientists, engineers, technologists and social scientists. Each year they bring an inspiring programme of free events to the public over four or five days, bursting with exciting opportunities to get involved in.

Work experience

  • In2STEM – we are delighted to be supporting this programme that provides 16 – 19 year old students from low income and disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to participate in both online and in-person activities to help them gain the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to take the steps in their STEM journey. We will host hands-on work experience placements each year, giving students the opportunity to interact with and learn from researchers across our five themes. It should be noted that students wanting to take part in this scheme should submit their application via the In2STEM site.
  • Devon Virtual Schools – we are delighted to be supporting this initiative which aims to ensure all children in care in Devon enjoy their education and have opportunities available to support their career development. We will host hands-on work experience placements each year, giving students the opportunity to interact with and learn from researchers across our five themes.

Taster sessions

  • Exeter Scholars – we are delighted to be supporting this initiative at the University by offering year 12 students from across the South West, the opportunity to take part in hands-on activities that give a taste of what it may be like to work within the field of translational biomedical research.
  • INSPIRE – the NIHR Exeter BRC are proud to be supporting a range of taster sessions offered via the INSPIRE programme. Taster sessions to be offered this year are outlined below. These are now full but we hope to offer more in future.
    – Clinical Mycology Research (Led by Professor Adilia Warris)
    – Research on Digital Rehabilitation (Led by Dr Mae Mansoubi)
    – Clinical research in diabetes and related long-term conditions in the Clinical Diabetes Research Group (Led by Dr Angus Jones)

Events our members have got involved in:

People involved

Dr Sophie Gould

Training & Events Manager

Jess Smith

Patient & Public Involvement Engagement Manager

Hat Porter

Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Officer