Swansea University has pioneered a new way to connect with the community through science. Oriel Science takes the University’s research and packages it into interactive and thought-provoking exhibits to increase the public’s awareness and interest in science. Oriel Science is particularly keen to enthuse, excite and encourage younger people to make educational choices, which can lead to STEMM careers, especially those from communities under-represented in higher education.
Oriel Science received STFC grant funding including a Public Engagement Leadership Fellowship for Director, Chris Allton, and two smaller grants to help build and run the exhibitions. The funds have been crucial to support “Student Ambassadors” - University students who are the key public faces of the exhibits and workshops and are role models for younger visitors. Professor Allton said, “We began our public engagement project with a great deal of enthusiasm, but little budget. STFC’s grants have provided absolutely crucial seed-funding for Oriel Science to start our journey and the endorsement that has led to other funding opportunities.”
The University opened a pop-up science exhibition centre in Swansea’s city centre showcasing it’s research and welcoming 17,000 visitors over 100 days. Exhibits included a mock-up of the Large Hadron Collider, provided by the STFC public engagement team, and an animation of the history of the Universe from the Big Bang to the present displayed on a 30-metre “time wall”. Since the pop-up, Oriel Science have been involved with around 50 events per year, from school visits, to secondary school careers fairs, public events and lectures in the city centre, and their annual “Super Science” events in Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum which attract several thousand visitors. Oriel Science’s success builds on the publics’ innate interest in cutting edge research, being done today, in their local university.
For further information: Oriel Science: http://orielscience.co.uk/
Public Engagement grants: https://stfc.ukri.org/public-engagement/public-engagement-grants/
Last updated: 13 May 2019