Current projects in the Science Communication Unit
Staff from the Science Communication Unit (SCU) work on a wide range of projects, as researchers and practitioners of science communication.
Our projects are organised under five themes, though they may bridge more than one category. View them below:
Science, technology and engineering
Exploring and facilitating relationships between natural science, technology, engineering and society.
In the next 20 years, we expect to see autonomous vehicles, aircraft, robots, devices, swarms, and software, all of which will (and must) be able to make their own decisions without human intervention. This EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) funded project is concerned with building autonomous systems that are verifiably correct.
Women Like Me is a new peer mentoring and outreach project aimed at boosting female representation in engineering. The project pairs senior women engineers with junior women engineers to undertake engineering education outreach in schools and at public events in the Bristol and Bath area. Engineering is a creative, socially conscious, and collaborative discipline, and this project aims to support girls and women to make a difference in society.
Health and wellbeing
Examining the ways that communication plays a role in health and wellbeing.
A Wellcome-funded public engagement project, working with UK artists and Bristol-based community organisations to creatively engage city citizens on issues around healthy urban development. SCU drives the project, drawing on the expertise of UWE health and urban planning academics, economists from the University of Bath, public health specialists, and an urban sustainability consultancy, bringing together art, economics and health science into the same space, using a range of creative consultation methods to engage a wide range of city users, both digital and face-to-face. Play the Shape Our City game.
This research project explores the visual discourse of pro- and anti-vaccine images used for advocacy on Twitter, and investigates the networks that share these pictures.
A team drawn from different disciplines – public health, urban design, economics and science communication – are developing an economic valuation model and engaging with the private sector to deliver healthy planning principles in the Wellcome Trust project 'Moving health and sustainability upstream into strategic urban development decision-making'.
Sustainability and the environment
Studying and enabling communication in areas related to sustainability and the environment
This NERC-funded project is designed to maximise the impact of UK research on drought and water scarcity. Building on the work of four major drought research projects, and employing a range of communication methods, SCU is involved in creating guidance and advice relevant to the water supply sector, the agricultural sector, environmental stakeholders, UK businesses and UK communities.
ClairCity is an innovative project involving thousands of people in cities across Europe, enabling us all to decide the best local options for a future with clean air and lower carbon emissions. ClairCity is funded by the European Union.
A multi-disciplinary team are developing an innovative drought science-narrative resource that can be used in decision-making for drought risk management. SCU is involved in two specific research projects: one explores barriers and enablers to drought communication and the other is considering how best to engage stakeholders in this type of interdisciplinary project. SCU is also involved with the citizen science and public engagement aspects of DRY, supporting researchers in developing and delivering activities.
Our objective is to understand and manipulate the in-situ biogeochemistry of waste within waste repositories (eg landfills, industrial waste, municipal solid waste, metallurgical and mining waste) to recover valuable resources by leaching and other treatments whilst the material lies in situ, thus avoiding the need to actively extract the material and thereby minimise ecological and environmental impacts.
The SfEP team of science-policy specialists manage a robust review process, producing bi-weekly news alerts on the latest, significant environmental research for policy makers, researchers and the public – especially with regard to emerging risks and new technologies. The newsletter has over 20,000 subscribers, and the team at UWE Bristol has run the service for the European Commission, Directorate General Environment since 2007.
Social science and art
Investigating public engagement in the social sciences and arts.
Careful is exploring the potential of drama to help student nurses explore and reflect on their roles as carers.
Each person in the UK throws away more than their body weight in food each year and food waste is particularly high in family households – this project explores why that is and how we can change that.
Informal and formal learning
Research and practical projects that link science communication and education.
This evaluation aims to assess what makes the Christmas Lectures successful.
UWE BoxED is a school focused outreach programme of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)-related activities. The activities take place at the school and, this year, the focus is on Key Stage 3 and 4 (Years 7–13). The aim is to support schools in delivering engaging STEM content and keep students excited about STEM subjects.
A new undergraduate module is being developed to provide student engineers opportunities to practice their public engagement skills with pre-service teachers and primary school children. To support Continuing Professional Development in this area, a new network for STEM outreach in primary schools in the Bristol region has been established, called Curiosity Connections Bristol.
A project investigating UWE Bristol’s role in festival engagement, to understand how the activities that take place within a festival setting can generate ‘social capital’.
Laura Fogg-Rogers’ DPhil aims to explore preferences for, and cultures of, science communication at live science events.
The Festival of Nature, British Science Week and Bristol Food Connections are just some of the popular science events that engage hundreds of thousands of members of the UK population each year. This evaluation looks at why audiences attend and how festivals can evaluate their impact.