We believe that engaging society with research is an integral part of what it means to be an academic. It generates mutual benefits for both the public and researchers, enriches the academic experience, and enhances the quality, reach and impact of research.
Reuben College focuses on areas of research that explore challenging issues, pose thought-provoking questions, and hold potential for bringing wide range of benefits to society in the future. This is why at Reuben we promote a unique flavour of pubic engagement: interdisciplinary public engagement that involves both basic and translational scientists, life sciences and the humanities, social sciences and the public, creating a new vision of how our research can address 21st century challenges.
While many of our fellows already run a range of engagement projects, two Official Fellows in Public Engagement with Research (PER) - – Janet Stott (Deputy Director and Head of Public Engagement at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History) and Catarina Vicente (Science Strategy and Projects Manager at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology) – provide the expertise and leadership that ensures all our students, whether in taught or research-based courses, have the opportunity to receive training in public engagement, and run or participate in their own initiatives if they wish so. We also benefit from our strong links with the University’s Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM), which are facilitated both by our excellent location, and our interim Official Fellow for GLAM Liaison, Janet Stott (Deputy Director of the Museum of Natural History).
For the 21/22 academic year, we are launching the new Reuben PER Innovation Fund, allowing teams of two or more students from different subjects to apply for small and large grants to run their own public engagement projects. This will allow the students to develop their leadership and public engagement skills, as well as starting to build a funding track record. The students will be fully supported in the application process and subsequent projects: all students will have access to an introduction to PER interactive session, a funding workshop to help them put together their application and successful projects will be mentored by Reuben Fellows. Throughout the year all students, whether or not participating in the Innovation Fund, will have the opportunity to benefit from the expertise of Reuben’s PER Fellows, and to participate in termly events on best practice in PER centred around our termly event themes.
It is our hope that when students eventually leave us, they are equipped with the skills and experience that will allow them to become engaged professionals, whether in academia or in the broad range of other careers paths available to our graduates.