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Advisory Panel for Public Engagement

The Panel provides advice to Council and the STFC Executive on strategy, policies and programme balance for public engagement with STFC's science and technology, and provides new ideas for programme development. The work of the Panel covers the full STFC public engagement programme, delivered between STFC’s national laboratories and the Council’s head office in Swindon.

Members of the Advisory Panel for Public Engagement demonstrate expertise in the strategy, planning, delivery, and evaluation of a range of public engagement programmes. The panel draws from all disciplinary backgrounds, with members understanding the UK landscape of public engagement with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Panel membership

June McCombie
(Credit: University of Nottingham)

June McCombie is an academic chemical physicist / astrophysical chemist at the University of Nottingham where her professional activities encompass teaching and learning, research, public outreach, diversity and science communication.

She engages in outreach activity that runs from schools talks to' Pint of Science' events in local pubs to talks to amateur astronomical societies.

She feels strongly that engagement has to be a two-way process involving as much listening as talking, whereby the outcomes of HE and research are shared with the public. She proposes key questions to ask ourselves – who are your public? Which public are you part of?

Helen Bridle
(Credit: Heriot-Watt University)

Helen Bridle is an Associate Professor at Heriot-Watt University researching lab-on-a-chip systems, in which liquids are manipulated in microchannels the size of a single human hair.

Her research group use these systems to process drinking water samples to detect pathogens as well as in the purification of stem cell products for medical applications.

She won the Royal Society of Edinburgh Innovator’s Prize for Public Engagement in 2016 and has been involved in numerous outreach activities, including science festivals, schools projects and festival shows as well as organising activities with the British Science Association Edinburgh branch.

David Berman
(Credit: David Berman)

David Berman has been working on string theory for over 20 years. After graduating from Manchester, he completed his PhD in Durham with a stay at CERN before carrying out postdoctural research in Utrecht, Jerusalem and Cambridge where he was a fellow of Clare Hall.

His research focuses on the highly conceptual aspects of theoretical physics. He has a long held interest in public engagement and bringing science to artists and making contemporary science part of a general fine arts culture in the UK.

He has worked with Turner prize winning sculptor Grenville Davey over an extended period and has been part of numerous art/science collaborations involving various media.

Sophie Duncan
(Credit: National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement)

Sophie Duncan has worked in public engagement for over twenty years. She is currently the deputy director of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, a role that includes overseeing NCCPE projects and communications.

Originally trained as a physicist she started her career at the Science Museum in London where she was involved in exhibition design and public events. She then became programme manager with Science Year – a government initiative to promote science to teenagers.

Following this, Sophie spent 7 years working at the BBC – leading the creation and delivery of national learning campaigns including Breathing Places which sought to inspire people to do one thing to help wildlife.

A skilled facilitator and trainer, Sophie is particularly interested in the role of evaluation to develop quality engagement. She is passionate about engaging with the public, and committed to finding more effective ways to support public involvement in higher education.

Richard Holliman
(Credit: Open University)

Richard Holliman is Professor of Engaged Research at The Open University, UK.

Through his teaching and engaged research, he explores relationships between academic researchers and non-academic stakeholders.

He is particularly interested in the interplay between digital technologies and different forms of knowledge and expertise, and how the practices of engagement shape and frame contemporary research.

Richard has been a member of APPE since 2016. Prior to this, he contributed to the STFC working group that produced the PEACE Report.

Ben Johnson

Ben has been involved with science communication and education for over fifteen years and is Managing Director of Graphic Science Ltd, one of the most innovative and influential consultancies in the field. He has worked extensively in schools researching, devising and delivering drama based projects on topics as diverse as Robotics, Bio-ethics, Climate Change and currently, Engineering.

His portfolio also includes media campaign work funded by the OSI and the European Union, bespoke evaluation and scoping research for the Wellcome Trust, Cheltenham Festivals Ltd and the Royal Society and a variety of science communication projects delivered throughout the UK and in Eastern Europe, Russia, China, and South Africa.

Katherine Leech
(Credit: University of York)

Having completed her degree in Physics and Philosophy at the University of Oxford, Katherine Leech trained as a secondary school science teacher - specialising in Physics - through the Teach First scheme.

She taught for nine years at schools that included inner-city comprehensives, international schools and boarding schools before moving to the University of York as their Physics Outreach Officer in 2013.

Katherine is passionate about public engagement and works with organisations including the Ogden Trust, Institute of Physics and Isaac Physics to create and deliver a varied programme of events for diverse audiences.

Shaaron Leverment
(Credit: Shaaron Leverment)

Shaaron Leverment has an academic background in applied neuropsychology and over 20 years’ experience working in informal science engagement and education.

She is the Deputy CEO of the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres, the founding director of a space and physics outreach organisation, and the former president of the British Association of Planetaria.

Shaaron currently directs three audience-focussed STEM engagement programmes across the UK, and works nationally and internationally to promote core values of equity and inclusion in science and science engagement.

Chris Lintott
(Credit: Sky at Night)

Chris Lintott is a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford, where he leads the Galaxy Zoo and Zooniverse projects.

Zooniverse is the world’s leading online citizen science platform, providing more than a million volunteers with the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to research.

He is best known as the co-presenter of the BBC’s Sky at Night program, and has a long-standing interest in informal engagement which has led him to work at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, serve as a Trustee at Royal Museums Greenwich and to a current position as a Visitor to the Ashmolean.

Peter Marshman
(Credit: Peter Marshman)

Peter Marshman is a Community Outreach Manager and Computing Champion for the National Centre for Computing Education.

He works in an advisory role for the Royal Society and the Digital Skills Panel for Computing education, especially with regards to gender and diversity.

Peter is also head of Computer Science and ICT at Leighton Park School in Reading and formally an Assistant Headteacher at Park House School in Newbury.

Dr Krishna Mooroogen
(Credit: National Physical Laboratory)

Krishna Mooroogen, formerly a Solar Astrophysicist, obtained his PhD at the University of Northumbria Newcastle and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He worked at the National Physical Laboratory as a Higher Research Scientist where his researched focused on multi-scale image analysis to support non-destructive testing for structural health monitoring and medical imaging applications.

Krishna has spent seven years collaborating extensively with organisations that promote excellent engagement, including the Institute of Physics, Engineers without Borders, South East Physics Network, Royal Holloway University and Maths Buskers.

Sarah Roberts
(Credit: S Roberts)

Sarah Roberts is currently a senior lecturer at Swansea University. Her main role is Inclusivity lead in the College of Science, where she drives the Inclusivity, Learner Success & Widening Access agenda across the College.

After completing a PhD in Astronomy at Cardiff University, Sarah began working for the Faulkes Telescope Project, where she is now Director of Education. Sarah is passionate about outreach and public engagement and regularly gives English and Welsh talks, workshops and exhibits at both public events (such as Swansea Science festival, Cheltenham Science festival, Eisteddfodau, and Pint of Science) and in schools.

Charlotte Thorley
(Credit: Charlotte Thorley)

Charlotte Thorley is a freelance public engagement and involvement consultant. Now based back in the UK, for the last three years Charlotte has been working out of Brussels, building a better awareness of public engagement into a variety of policy, business and research collaborations. Prior to going freelance, Charlotte was Executive Officer for Public Engagement at Queen Mary University of London, where she established their Centre for Public Engagement, and achieved the first Gold Engage award for the institution.

Charlotte currently works with research institutions across the UK to support their public engagement culture change projects and is passionate about creating a positive environment for high-quality, effective engagement approaches. Alongside her work at QMUL Charlotte undertook her doctoral studies at the UCL Institute of Education, where she looked at the impact of taking part in outreach and engagement activities on physicists. She particularly enjoys applying her astrophysicist-turned-social scientist approaches to all her work.

Terms of Reference

APPE ToR (PDF, 146 KB)

Last updated: 29 July 2019


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