Public engagement

BCFN students and staff undertake a wide range of Public Engagement and Outreach activities, from Science Fairs and Festivals to longer term projects with local schools.

All students will have the opportunity to undertake Public Engagement training in first year, as well as attending more advanced courses in later years.

Schools Outreach

BCFN students engage with local schools on a number of levels – whether running workshops for year 5 and 6 students on “Seeing on a small scale” to presenting work in the classroom or supporting university wide events such as the “Women in Science and Engineering” day. However our flagship activity is our NanoX outreach programme where BCFN students work alongside pupils from local schools from year 10 to help them develop as young researchers. By mentoring these pupils in topics aligned to our research themes of Energy, Healthcare, and Innovation and Technology, puplis research solutions to global problems and have a chance to present their findings at our NanoX conference, either as a poster, or by pitching to our academics in a Dragon’s Den style competition. This extended engagement moves beyond the traditional model of school visit and has developed over the years into the highlight of our engagement calendar.

Engaging with the Public

BCFN has been represented at a number of Science fairs and festivals locally, nationally and internationally and there are many opportunities for our students to get involved in developing new ways to stimulate public interest in our research. For example, BCFN students starred in a short series of radio interviews on BBC Bristol highlighting the exciting work they are doing. Our students have also used their talents to start their own podcasts, and have helped organize Science Show Off, Pint of Science, and been selected for the Science Show Off Talent Factory. 

Latest Events

British Science Week Schools Day at Unit DX

Students from the BCFN helped celebrate British Science Week by getting involved in outreach sessions at Unit DX.

Festival of Physics 2017

First-year students from the Bristol Centre for Functional Nanomaterials led visitors through some of the weirder quirks of the light all around us at the Institute of Physics' annual festival, here at the University of Bristol.

Cheltenham Science Festival 2017

BCFN students demonstrated the effects of polarisation at Cheltenham Science Festival this year.

It's great that the BCFN provides so many other activities away from your project research that can be fun and provide you with useful skills. Being able to explain some of my science to children means that I have to have a really good understanding of what I'm doing, and it also improves the way I present to my peers.

Laura Fox, BCFN PhD Student
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