I have recently joined AstrobiologyOU as Lecturer in Astrobiology Education.
My PhD (completed 2012) considered the potential of open science practice to be a medium for public engagement with research. In my post-doc research with the Open University Catalyst for Public Engagement with Research, as part of a multi-disciplinary team, I focussed on how researchers use digital media and tools for planning, enacting and evaluating public engagement with research and developing the concept and practice of engaged research. I developed my interest in engaged research in my time at the Wellcome Centre for Cultures & Environments of Health (University of Exeter); the Centre’s vision was to conduct transdisciplinary engaged research focussing on collaborations and co-creation that bring together professional researchers and people with first-hand experience of the issues being researched to create innovative engaged research communities.
I spent two years at the University of Western Australia as a Lecturer in Science Communication (focussing on science writing, science and the media and applied engagement with research) and before that contributed to teaching on the University of the West of England, Bristol’s MSc in Science Communication (focussing on digital engagement and science performance), and led the development of UWE’s new online Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Science Communication.
The core of my new role will be to build, implement and evaluate development, teaching and training resources and opportunities across the varied academic interests of AstrobiologyOU. I will be engaging with a wide range of publics and stakeholders, including researchers, teachers, educators in ODA countries, special interest groups and members of local, national and international communities, and I hope to contribute to scholarship in teaching and learning, evaluation and impact.
Outside academic life, I’ve been a volunteer in the international Café Scientifique movement since 2003. Since 2010, I’ve been the closest thing the network has to a leader; I advise, support and mentor café organisers around the world and maintain the network’s website.