Advisory Panel for Public Engagement

The Panel provides advice to Council and the STFC Executive on strategy, policies and programme balance for public engagement with STFC's science and technology, and provides new ideas for programme development. The work of the Panel covers the full STFC public engagement programme, delivered between STFC’s national laboratories and the Council’s head office in Swindon.

Members of the Advisory Panel for Public Engagement demonstrate expertise in the strategy, planning, delivery, and evaluation of a range of public engagement programmes. The panel draws from all disciplinary backgrounds, with members understanding the UK landscape of public engagement with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Panel Membership

Colin Pulham
(Credit: University of Edinburgh)

Colin Pulham is Head of the School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, with research interests in the crystallisation of heat-storage materials, pharmaceuticals, explosives, fuels, and lubricants, under a range of conditions including elevated pressures and temperatures.

He works closely with colleagues at the ISIS Neutron Facility and at the Diamond Light Source using neutron and X-ray techniques to study the structures of these materials.

He has a long-standing passion for public engagement both as a practitioner, through the delivery of public talks and interactive workshops, and as an advocate through the development of public engagement strategy.

Teresa Anderson
(Credit: Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre)

Teresa Anderson is Director of the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, which she was responsible for creating and now leads.

The Discovery Centre’s mission is ‘to inspire the scientists of the future’ and takes innovative approaches to increasing diversity and engaging new audiences with science, including through the ‘bluedot’ science–music–culture festivals and ‘Girls Night Out’ events.

An Electrical Engineer by training, Teresa was awarded an MBE in 2013 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to Astrophysics and in 2014 she was awarded the Institute of Physics Kelvin Medal for Public Engagement with Physics.

Fiona Auty
(Credit: National Physical Laboratory)

Motivated by a comment that, "NPL was one of the UK's best-kept scientific secrets," Fiona Auty has made it a personal mission to make NPL's research more accessible and understandable to all. She is driven by demonstrating the impact that measurement science has on our everyday lives and the desire to inspire future generations of scientists. Fiona is particularly interested in NPL's role in the local community and regularly provides talks to external groups.

Fiona is Head of Government Relations and Corporate Communications at the National Physical Laboratory where she oversees all external and internal corporate and scientific communications including the public outreach activity.

Fiona specialises in developing output focused creative communications campaigns from conception, dissemination to impact measurement.

In her career she has run numerous multi million pound government communications campaigns to business specialising in the small business market. Fiona is a Chartered Management Institute Chartered Manager.

Alan Barr
(Credit: University of Oxford)

Alan Barr has been involved in a wide range of public engagement projects for the Large Hadron Collider, including podcasts, television documentaries, iTunesU downloads and YouTube videos.

His smart-phone apps (LHSee and Collider) allow you to download live 3D LHC collisions from CERN, while the HiggsHunters project allows citizen scientists to search for relatives of the Higgs Boson themselves in images of LHC collisions.

His research includes detector development, Higgs boson physics, and searches for new particles.

Helen Bridle
(Credit: Heriot-Watt University)

Helen Bridle is an Associate Professor at Heriot-Watt University researching lab-on-a-chip systems, in which liquids are manipulated in microchannels the size of a single human hair.

Her research group use these systems to process drinking water samples to detect pathogens as well as in the purification of stem cell products for medical applications.

She won the Royal Society of Edinburgh Innovator’s Prize for Public Engagement in 2016 and has been involved in numerous outreach activities, including science festivals, schools projects and festival shows as well as organising activities with the British Science Association Edinburgh branch.

David Berman
(Credit: David Berman)

David Berman has been working on string theory for over 20 years. After graduating from Manchester, he completed his PhD in Durham with a stay at CERN before carrying out postdoctural research in Utrecht, Jerusalem and Cambridge where he was a fellow of Clare Hall.

His research focuses on the highly conceptual aspects of theoretical physics. He has a long held interest in public engagement and bringing science to artists and making contemporary science part of a general fine arts culture in the UK.

He has worked with Turner prize winning sculptor Grenville Davey over an extended period and has been part of numerous art/science collaborations involving various media.

Sophie Duncan
(Credit: National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement)

Sophie Duncan has worked in public engagement for over twenty years. She is currently the deputy director of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, a role that includes overseeing NCCPE projects and communications.

Originally trained as a physicist she started her career at the Science Museum in London where she was involved in exhibition design and public events. She then became programme manager with Science Year – a government initiative to promote science to teenagers.

Following this, Sophie spent 7 years working at the BBC – leading the creation and delivery of national learning campaigns including Breathing Places which sought to inspire people to do one thing to help wildlife.

A skilled facilitator and trainer, Sophie is particularly interested in the role of evaluation to develop quality engagement. She is passionate about engaging with the public, and committed to finding more effective ways to support public involvement in higher education.

Richard Holliman
(Credit: Open University)

Richard Holliman is Professor of Engaged Research at The Open University, UK.

Through his teaching and engaged research, he explores relationships between academic researchers and non-academic stakeholders.

He is particularly interested in the interplay between digital technologies and different forms of knowledge and expertise, and how the practices of engagement shape and frame contemporary research.

Richard has been a member of APPE since 2016. Prior to this, he contributed to the STFC working group that produced the PEACE Report.

Marek Kukula
(Credit: Royal Observatory Greenwich)

Marek Kukula completed his doctorate in Radio Astronomy at Jodrell Bank Observatory then carried out postdoctoral research into quasars and galaxy evolution - work that included stints at the Space Telescope Science Institute, home of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, and an Advanced Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh.

He subsequently worked for the University of Edinburgh’s Office of Lifelong Learning as Course Organiser for Science, Archaeology and Computing, and as Project Manager for Researchers in Residence, a UK-wide schools engagement scheme.

As Public Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, his role is to ensure that the Observatory's exhibitions and public programmes reflect the latest astronomical research and to engage with the public and media. He currently chairs the assessment panel for STFC’s Spark Awards for Public Engagement and is the author of ‘The Intimate Universe’ and co-author of ‘The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who’, both published in 2015.

Katherine Leech
(Credit: University of York)

Having completed her degree in Physics and Philosophy at the University of Oxford, Katherine Leech trained as a secondary school science teacher - specialising in Physics - through the Teach First scheme.

She taught for nine years at schools that included inner-city comprehensives, international schools and boarding schools before moving to the University of York as their Physics Outreach Officer in 2013.

Katherine is passionate about public engagement and works with organisations including the Ogden Trust, Institute of Physics and Isaac Physics to create and deliver a varied programme of events for diverse audiences.

June McCombie
(Credit: University of Nottingham)

June McCombie is an academic chemical physicist / astrophysical chemist at the University of Nottingham where her professional activities encompass teaching and learning, research, public outreach, diversity and science communication.

She engages in outreach activity that runs from schools talks to' Pint of Science' events in local pubs to talks to amateur astronomical societies.

She feels strongly that engagement has to be a two-way process involving as much listening as talking, whereby the outcomes of HE and research are shared with the public. She proposes key questions to ask ourselves – who are your public? Which public are you part of?

Andrew Norton
(Credit: Open University)

Andrew Norton is Professor of Astrophysics Education in the School of Physical Sciences at the Open University, and is a former vice president of the RAS. His research spans multi-wavelength observations and modelling of accreting compact binary stars, exoplanets, and time domain astrophysics in general, focussing on stellar variability.

He is coordinator for the UK Education and Public Outreach component of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and jointly responsible for the materials and learning objects for the PLATO Education and Public Outreach Coordination Office.

He was co-author of the OU’s ‘60 second adventures in astronomy’ videos and has written many articles for the OpenLearn and Conversation websites, on topics ranging from the science of Dr Who and Star Trek to exoplanets, supernovae, and black holes. In 2011, he had a fully illustrated book for young children published about exoplanet science.

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