It is that time of the year again when new students join postgraduate courses or PhD programmes to continue their training to become the researchers of tomorrow.
It is a good moment for you, young researchers, to consider public engagement in science, why it is important and what you can get out of participating in it. Undergraduate students are joining science courses too and might have the possibility to get involved!
You will find below accessible pieces of reading materials that might help you to make this decision.
"What is public engagement?" according to the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement in the UK
"Why is it important ?" according to the NCCPE.
"What's in it for me? The benefits of public engagement for researchers" is a short booklet well conceived by the Research Councils UK to present the benefits of public engagement by real scientists involved in it, who explained why they did and how they benefitted from it.
"Researchers: share your passion for science!" You can have an idea of what activities to start with (see figure above) by reading the short review written by Cell EXPLORERS coordinators Dr Claire Concannon and Dr Muriel Grenon. The review will take you through the main considerations of participationg in public engagement in Science and importantly, it will provides you with a table of where to start, both in Ireland or the UK, depending on your interest and the skills you want to develop (see table 1: Activities suitable to getting researchers started with public engagement in science).
For the lucky ones starting at NUI Galway, you will find below a selection of NUIGalway programmes that will welcome you if you contact them. If you run a programme and want to be featured, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another option is to join a science-themed society involved in public engagement. Examples of societies include AstroSoc, Biomedical Science, Botany Soc, NeuroSoc, Paediatric Soc or Slainte Soc. More information on NUIGalway societies here.
"Like training to be a scientist, achieving effective and rewarding PE involves a learning curve. It requires dis- covery of what you are most suited to and development of your skills. Like any new technique, it requires practice. What is important is that you take the first step and get involved."
Concannon & Grenon. Biochem Soc Trans. 2016 Oct 15;44(5):1507-1515.