The Department of Earth Science has won a Building Capacity Award in this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Awards, which celebrate public engagement work across the University. The announcement was made at an awards ceremony at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on 28 June hosted by Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson.
The Department of Earth Science’s award-winning project was a collaboration with the Oxford for Oxford Project and the Science and Teachnology Facilities Council Borrow the Moon. Year 5 and 6 pupils from selected Oxford primary school groups with very low levels of participation in Higher Education visited the Department of Earth Sciences. There they joined researchers in investigating samples of real lunar material brought to earth by the Apollo missions in the 1970s, which are rarely seen and held, even by researchers of lunar science. The project was led by Dr Jonathan Wade, NERC Research Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences. You can watch Jon talk about the project in this short video clip.
Over 180 children from three primary schools attended the sessions. Postgraduates and researchers participated as presenters and facilitators, including Pete Barry, Brooke Johnson, Fiona Jones, Frey Fyfe, Sean Hopkins and Marie-Claire Koschowitz. Since the project, members of the team have undertaken additional engagements at two further schools. The activity has also enabled the Widening Access and Participation team to build capacity by creating new and strengthening existing links with participating schools.
The Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Awards recognise and reward those at the University who undertake high-quality engagement activities and have contributed to building capacity in this area. The Department of Earth Sciences was one of three winners in the Building Capacity category of the awards.
Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor says: “I have been deeply impressed by the quality of the public engagement with research projects submitted for this year’s awards. The breadth and diversity of the activities taking place show how seriously the University takes its commitment to public engagement.”
Professor Alison Woollard, the University’s Academic Champion for Public Engagement with Research says: “Public engagement enriches both research and society and the University is committed to enabling our researchers to inspire, consult and collaborate with the public. I’m delighted that we are able to recognise and highlight the fantastic work our researchers are doing and hope these awards encourage more colleagues across the University to carry out their own public engagement with research.”
About the awards
The Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Awards recognise and reward those at the University who undertake high-quality engagement activities and have contributed to building capacity in this area. The awards are awarded in three categories – Early Career Researcher, Building Capacity and Projects. Entrants can be at any level in their career and activities of any scale are welcome.
Winning entries received recognition for their achievements at the Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Awards Ceremony that took place on 28 June 2017.