Effective communication is at the heart of good science. For as long as humans have tried to understand the natural world they have shared information and ideas, with a view to improving our collective understanding.
With the widespread adoption of digital tools for communication the potential for citizens to contribute to the sciences has never been greater.
The Open University has recently published a new Open Learn course that will help you to explore the evolving landscape of science communication, developing skills in critical evaluation, communication and engagement, whilst exploring a range of contemporary topics in science.
Are people with learning disabilities regularly excluded from decision-making processes which may have a direct impact on them?
I’ve recently published research that explores this important issue (Carr, 2018), with the aim of contributing to wider discussions about how we build capacity to ensure that citizens have access to, and agency within, research (Holliman, 2017).
Ann was a part-time Research Associate on the Catalyst project. She is now based at the Univeristy of Western Australia where she lectures in Science Communication.
Ann investigated aspects of researchers’ practice in digital engagement and how public engagement with research can be supported and facilitated through digital technologies. During her time at the OU Ann was based in the Institute of Educational Technology, working with Dr Anne Adams, Dr Trevor Collins, Dr Richard Holliman and Prof Eileen Scanlon.
Anne is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Educational Technology. As a co-investigator in the Catalyst project she utilised her breadth of experience in public and industrial technology research to support digital engagement in the project. In particular this included supporting the Catalyst digital engagement researcher, Ann Grand.
Hilde was a Research Associate on the OU’s Catalyst project. She is now based at the University of Westminster where she lectures in Sociology.
Hilde’s role on the Catalyst was linked to two projects: to the Catalyst and to Creating Publics. Through her contributions to these projects explored new ways of conceptualising and enacting public engagement with social science research.
Hilde contributed to the delivery and development of a Creating Publics research ‘pilot’, called Participation Now. This involved translating the research aims of the project into a specification and design for a new digital platform for public engagement with research. She then helped translate insights drawn from this research pilot into the context of the Catalyst project and to others beyond.
Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Jane Perrone.
Richard is Professor of Engaged Research at the Open University and Principal Investigator on the Engaging Opportunities Project. Prior to this he was the Open University’s Champion for Public Engagement with Research from 2012-2105. He was both the academic lead and a co-investigator on the OU’s Public Engagement with Research (PER) Catalyst (Holliman, et al. 2015).
Richard had overall operational responsibility for co-ordinating and leading all aspects of this action research project, and helping to shape strategic objectives for OU public engagement with research.
As the university’s champion, Richard was based on secondment in the Research Scholarship and Quality Unit. Alongside his role in co-ordinating and leading the research phases of the project, he was also responsible for connecting the work of the PER Catalyst with the university’s decision-making forums and senior managers, including the Faculty Deans and Associate Deans for Research, and Research Centre Directors.
Richard was a Co-investigator on the Catalyst team, responsible for guiding the project’s approach to working with organisational and cultural change, and the use of action research approaches for achieving change. He is based within the Department for People and Organisations within the Faculty of Business and Law.
Trevor was a co-investigator on the OU’s Catalyst project. He co-ordinated the learning work package within the project, and is also involved in the communication and digital engagement packages.
The learning work package was concerned with identifying the existing development opportunities for research staff and students across the university with regard to public engagement, as well as identifying gaps where additional support could be provided by the university or external sources (e.g. the UK research councils, Vitae, JISC or the NCCPE).
Fiona was the project manager on the Catalyst project. Her main role was to provide project support to the principal investigator, catalyst champion, advisory board and wider project team, and monitor progress to plan.