Working with Nuffield Research Placement Scheme co-ordinators, Dr Pallavi Anand promoted the scheme across STEM to host nine ‘A’ level students during the summer of 2022. Students were placed in various academic schools in the STEM Faculty.
My placement was evaluating the application of data science and machine learning in different research areas (e.g. identifying transaction fraud in finance, or identifying patterns in lifestyle or medical records in patients with a specific disease or illness), and exploring it through Python.
During the summer holiday, I took part in a research placement with Dr Pallavi Anand in the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at the Open University, organised by the Nuffield Foundation. The placement involved coding a MATLAB toolkit to a more accessible program such as Python that would use paleoclimate data to solve for past seawater temperature, oxygen isotope and salinity.
The project was to assist in a calibration of results obtained from deep-sea core sediment samples from two different sites around the Bay of Bengal.
The calibration is part of a wider project that my colleague, Emmeline Gray is working on for her PhD. This is looking at how the Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) behaved during a past warm period (similar to predicted future conditions) by observing how certain parameters in the sea floor sediments at these sites vary over time. This could give an insight as to how climate change might affect our oceans over time.
This year, The Open University celebrates its 50th anniversary. Happy birthday to us!
As part of this celebration, the university is hosting an exciting programme of events and activities.
Yesterday I watched my colleague Martin Weller discuss the ongoing (and increasing influence) of openness in education. (You can access a recording of Martin’s lecture from the link in the previous sentence. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to watch the recording.)
It seems fitting, given the complementary nature of our work, that I was scheduled to deliver my inaugural lecture in this programme shortly after Martin.
Watching the lecture
If you’d like to attend the lecture on 12th March (6-7pm GMT) in person, select How to register. (It’s free to attend, but you need a ticket.)
From 5pm on the day, colleagues will be demonstrating various examples of engagement outside the lecture theatre.
To watch the lecture online, select Watch the webinar. The link will become live shortly before the start of the event. You can submit questions via email or Twitter from the same page.
The lecture will be recorded and made freely available after 12 March.
Pathways to Excellence in Public Engagement (STFC, 2018).
Recent STFC-sponsored research explored how physical science researchers in the UK are responding to the requirements to plan for, assess, monitor and report impact (Holliman et al. 2018).
The STFC-sponsored research found that the current system of Pathways to Impact Planning is struggling to consistently deliver rigorous, well-resourced programmes of impact-generating activity, including public engagement.
Upstream planning for pathways is a key requirement for improving the overall quality of the peer review system that underpins impact. How might this be achieved?
‘Navigating pathways to research impact’ is a short video offering entry-level advice on how to plan upstream for Pathways to Impact within the context of an application for research funding.
To access a copy of the transcript for the video, select: Navigating pathways to research impact’ is a short video offering entry-level advice on how to plan for Pathways to Impact (Transcript).
I’ve recently had a paper published as part of a collection that explores professionalisation in science communication (Trench, 2017). In the paper, I review the purposes, definitions and criteria designed to embed ‘engaged research’ as a strategic priority with universities, and explores some of the challenges of implementation (Holliman, 2017).
I argue that surveys of academics have shown various understandings of, and attitudes to, the practices of engaged research, but also impediments to realising the aspirations it expresses.
Drawing on my experience as the academic lead for engaged research at the Open University, I go on to explore questions of professionalisation, for example, through training, support mechanisms and measures of recognition for engaged research.
I conclude the paper by arguing that, if done well, engaged research can promote epistemic justice. So what is epistemic justice, and how can engaged research deliver what Medvecky (2017) calls ‘fairness in knowing’.