The announcement was made at an awards ceremony on 10 July at Keble College, Oxford, hosted by Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson. The Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, which spans the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, the Department of Psychiatry, and the Department of Experimental Psychology, was recognised for building capacity in public engagement with research.
Researchers working in neuroimaging at Oxford have been involved in public engagement for a number of years, but as part of becoming a Wellcome Centre, there has been a much greater emphasis on building capacity in this area.
Building Capacity - Some Highlights
As part of WIN’s launch, researchers organised A WINdow on the Brain, a public event held at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Sixty academics, approximately 25% of the Centre, were involved. Of those participating researchers, 70% subsequently became involved in at least one other public engagement activity.
The training and support have been fantastic. We’ve really been challenged into thinking exactly how to engage with different groups of people.
- WIN Public Engagement Ambassador
WIN set up a Public Engagement Ambassador Scheme, appointing six new ambassadors each year. Ambassadors learn through training and by participating in WIN’s engagement programme. They are also supported to develop their own activities.
To encourage researchers internationally to be involved in public engagement, WIN runs ‘Magnetic Moments’. This annual competition, held at a big international conference, challenges researchers in physics, engineering and maths to explain their research in three minutes such that even a ten-year-old can understand it. Presentations are judged in a live session.
WIN’s public engagement programme
The extensive public engagement programme, ably facilitated by Public Engagement Coordinator Carinne Piekema, aims to inform and inspire diverse groups and improve research through dialogue with the following core audiences:
- School children, specifically in under-served parts of Oxfordshire: WIN engaged with around 750 primary and secondary school children over the past year. Academic Champion: Holly Bridge
- Patient groups: WIN has a full programme dedicated to patient engagement, with at least one ambassador involved in the programme. Academic Champion: Sara Suni
- Adult audiences: WIN works with partners, including museums, to engage adult audiences. WINdow on the Brain resulted in an impressive increase in WIN academics involved in public engagement and also attracted over 400 visitors. Academic Champion: Stuart Clare