Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Public Engagement

Public engagement is at the heart of the Blizard Institute. Many Blizard scientists and academics are STEM Ambassadors and much of the research that takes place at the Blizard has a public engagement or educational component.

The Global Health group has developed My asthma in school, an educational intervention to promote better asthma management, endorsed by Mayor Sadiq Khan. The CHILL (Children’s Health in London and Luton) study aims to see if reducing air pollution from traffic improves children’s health, in a multi-year study backed by educational workshops for primary children in London and Luton.

Centre of the Cell

 Centre of the Cell children watchingOur most visible and active commitment to public engagement is Centre of the Cell – an informal science learning centre based at the Blizard Institute, and the first of its kind to be located inside a working biomedical research laboratory.

Centre of the Cell has won a number of major awards, including the Museums & Heritage Excellence Award for the Best Educational Initiative in the UK and the EngageU Award for the Best Innovations in University Outreach and Public Engagement in Europe. Since its launch in 2009, Centre of the Cell has reached over 180,000 children and adults.

The Blizard Institute and Centre of the Cell’s commitment to public engagement was a significant factor in Queen Mary winning a Gold Engage Watermark from the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement.

Centre of the Cell’s flagship activity takes place inside a distinctive orange ‘Pod’, suspended above the laboratories of the Blizard Institute. Visitors can see research scientists at work as they arrive to learn about cell science, human biology, and the latest medical research.

Centre of the Cell’s work goes beyond the Pod Show: educational games and apps; subject-specific shows for students aged five to 18; work experience and career skills events for youth members; and outreach and community activities. The Blizard Institute even has a small shop, where visitors can buy ‘Giant Microbes’ and science kits for children.

Centre of the cell in a heartbeat sessionIn December 2018 construction finished on a new, purpose-built, home for educational shows and workshops – the Neuron Pod – standing between the two wings of the Blizard Institute and alongside the original orange pod.

Centre of the Cell is dedicated to inspiring curiosity and learning by connecting science to everyday life, and to have a positive influence on the educational, career and health choices of the children, young people and families we support. Centre of the Cell’s aims are to:

  • Inspire the next generation of scientists and healthcare professionals
  • Stimulate interest, excitement and dialogue about biomedical research
  • Raise aspirations, especially in our local community
  • Widen participation in further and higher education
  • Improve health and wellbeing in our local communities
  • Create a local, national and global centre of excellence in Public Engagement

 You can find out more about the project and book a visit here: www.centreofthecell.org