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Insight blog: Posts tagged with public engagement

Stories about the people, science and research of the Medical Research Council.

Stem cells, face paints, and Highland shows

29 Oct 2013

Members of the public at T in the Park: the festival atmosphere lent itself to open discussions about stem cell research

Members of the public at T in the Park: the festival atmosphere lent itself to open discussions about stem cell research (Image copyright: Hope Beyond Hype)

Often communicating science is about going where people are, rather than expecting them to come to you. The people behind Hope Beyond Hype, a project based at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, took that advice to heart this summer, touring Scottish festivals with their tales of stem cell biology and medicine. Here Public Engagement Manager Cathy Southworth reports back.

Some time ago, while working during the summer as a play leader, I became quite adept at painting butterflies and tigers on the faces of young Liverpudlians. Who would have thought that two decades later an opportunity would arise to hone these latent skills on the festival-going Scottish public? It turns out that face painting was ideal for setting up a relaxed context for some interesting chat about stem cell biology.

Engaging people with stem cell research was our aim this summer as we embarked on a five-festival run across Scotland, taking in The Royal Highland Show, T in the Park, Tiree Music Festival, The Wickerman Festival and The Cowal Highland Games. [...]

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Introducing patients to animal research

21 Oct 2013

Laboratory mouse (Image credit: Wikipedia/Rama)

Laboratory mouse (Image credit: Wikipedia/Rama)

Researchers work with animals to make discoveries about disease and develop treatments, but how much do patients know about animal research? Here Julian Walker from Genetic Alliance UK describes a project putting patients and carers face to face with animal research, and reports on their reactions.

There is a voice that’s often missing when we talk about research using animals. While those for and against such research debate the ethics and practicalities, the people animal research aims to help — patients — are rarely heard from.

That’s something we want to change, and why we teamed up with Understanding Animal Research and six UK universities to give 25 members of families affected by genetic conditions an insight into the role of animals in building knowledge and improving treatments for their own conditions. We did this by running ‘discovery days’ at local universities. [...]

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Science and Story: creative engagement at the Francis Crick Institute

22 Aug 2013

A snapshot from one of the books

A snapshot from one of the books (Image copyright: The Crick Institute)

Building work on the Francis Crick Institute in central London is continuing apace, but how much do local residents know about the institute and the huge building which will be their new neighbour? Here Lex Mannion, the Crick Institute’s Public Engagement Manager, explains a recent project getting families involved in telling the story of the institute.

We recently celebrated the success of our most recent community outreach project, Science and Story. Between March and June this year, we worked with more than 60 children and their families from Somers Town in Camden, alongside a children’s writer and three illustrators, to create a series of comic books to tell stories about the new institute.

With the construction of the Crick having progressed so much recently, we wanted to ensure that local children fully understood what this big new building in their neighbourhood is actually going to do. We realised that all of our publications were aimed at an adult audience, and that we had no literature or information for younger people. That’s when we came up with the idea of creating comic books for local children and their families (and we’ve since found that they have a much wider appeal!). [...]

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MRC Centenary Open Week

5 Jul 2013

MRC Open Week (20-29 June 2013) was an opportunity for scientists to open their lab doors or get out into the community to share their science with the public. From stand up comedy to sketching, they came up with some inventive ways of doing this. Here we round-up the week’s social media.

 

MRC Open Week (20-29 June 2013) was an opportunity for scientists to open their lab doors or get out into the community to share their science with the public. From stand up comedy to sketching, they came up with some inventive ways of doing this. Here we round-up the week’s social media.

http://storify.com/the_MRC/mrc-centenary-open-week [...]

Continue reading: MRC Centenary Open Week

Watching worms

3 Jul 2013

Andre Brown, a researcher at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, needs your help with watching thousands of hours of videos of nematode worms. Here he tells you what his research into the genetics of the worm’s nervous system will gain from you turning citizen scientist and getting involved in Worm Watch Lab

I remember when it first struck me. It was a normal day a couple of years ago and I was going about my business in the lab. I’d just finished recording some videos of crawling nematode worms and was looking forward to seeing what I’d captured.

But I ran into a problem: we’d already recorded so many videos that my portable hard drive was full, so I couldn’t transfer the day’s batch to my laptop for viewing. We were recording videos from eight microscopes at the same time so they were adding up quickly. That was when I knew we needed help. [...]

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In pictures: the MRC Centenary Festival

25 Jun 2013

Last weekend we kicked off our Centenary Open Week with a festival at London’s Science Museum. Scientists from 10 MRC-funded units and centres took part in ‘Life: A healthy game of chance and choice’, an activity taking visitors through MRC research related to healthy lives. Here’s Stacy-Ann Ashley with a photo round-up.

(Image copyright: Science Museum/Jennie Hills) [...]

Continue reading: In pictures: the MRC Centenary Festival