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Public Engagement

Engagement Opportunities


There are a wide range of practical opportunities available to help you get involved in public engagement. These can provide a way to take part in pre-existing activities, such as fairs and discussion groups.

We regularly share opportunities to try out public engagement in our newsletter and on Twitter. Below are some of the national and local opportunities in public engagement here within each tab.

All Opportunities


Tower Hamlets Festival of Communities - Currently Open

The QMUL-led Tower Hamlets Festival of Communities features activities, stalls and demonstrations showcasing QMUL research and learning to public audiences alongside community organisations. The 2017 festival took place over one weekend in Stepney Green Park, then the QMUL Mile End Campus. Visitors of all ages and interests were invited to join the festival fun and get involved with over 80 activities, from face painting and give-it-a-go sports to getting hands-on with Queen Mary University of London, contributing ideas to active research and witnessing hands-on science shows.

This is a great opportunity for you to engage with others living and working in Tower Hamlets, giving an opportunity to involve people with your research, showcase opportunities you have available or talk more about what you love or do, providing fun activities for all ages, from children to adults. 

Activities can be:

  • Re-run from already existing engagement activities.
  • Engagement events already organised for around this time that are able to benefit from the festival’s local publicity.
  • Submissions for funding to set up new activities are welcome through the Festival funding opportunities.

Visit the festival website for more information, and to submit interest in taking part, or join the Centre for Public Engagment newsletter to hear about opportunities to take part.

Fellowships, Placements and Training

**Any placement application needs to be approved by your supervisor and any relevant School/ Institute staff (eg. Director of Graduate Studies) where necessary, with consideration of how the placement may affect funding.**

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) run a number of fellowships through which PhD students and post-doctoral researchers are sponsored to spend (usually) three months working at POST on projects such as producing a short briefing paper, contributing to longer reports or assisting select committee inquiries.

Their website contains a wide range of opportunities across subjects including medicine, the sciences and social sciences.

Patient and Public Involvement Training 

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in partnership with UCLPartners is running a programme of regular workshops for clinical academic researchers on patient and public involvement (PPI) in research.

The workshops, which are supported by the Wellcome Trust and open to researchers working in UCLPartners partnership organisations, are practical and the aim is to build up researchers’ skills in effectively engaging people in the research process, from setting research priorities to designing protocols.

Royal Society Pairing Scheme 

Each year 30 research scientists are paired with UK parliamentarians and civil servants. They learn about each other’s work by spending time together in Westminster and the researcher’s institutions. Those taking part gain an insight into how research findings can help inform policy making, and come away with a better understanding of how they can get involved. The scheme takes place annually, beginning with a ‘Week in Westminster’ in which the pairs first meet. Over the week the scientists take part in workshops, hear from invited speakers and spend two days shadowing their pair, followed by further reciprocal visits.


STFC Leadership Fellowships in Public Engagement 

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) invites applications for its public engagement fellowships. These enable highly skilled practitioners of public engagement to undertake high quality programmes of engagement and outreach while concurrently acting as champions for the value and practice of engagement with research in their host institution and research community.


Digital Catapult Researchers in Residence Programme

The Digital Catapult and the RCUK Digital Economy (DE) Theme are now accepting applications for the Researchers in Residence Programme, to be hosted at the Digital Catapult Centre in London, or at one of the local centres (Belfast, Bradford, Brighton and Sunderland). The residency programme is designed to enable researchers at any career stage to spend time within either the Digital Catapult or a relevant partner organisation, undertaking a project that will generate impact for the digital economy in the broadest sense. Projects can either be applied or more strategic in nature.

Festivals and Exhibitions

Tower Hamlets Festival of Communities 

The second Tower Hamlets Festival of Communities will be taking place on Saturday 20 May and Sunday 21 May 2017 and the Centre for Public Engagement are looking for QMUL staff and students, local charities, organisations and services to run interactive activities, stalls and demonstrations as part of the programming to showcase the best of Tower Hamlets.

This is a great opportunity for you to engage with others living and working in Tower Hamlets, giving an opportunity to involve people with your research, showcase opportunities you have available or talk more about what you love or do, providing fun activities for all ages, from children to adults. 

Activities can be:

  • Re-run from already existing engagement activities.
  • Engagement events already organised for around this time that are able to benefit from the festival’s local publicity.
  • Submissions for funding to set up new activities are welcome through the Festival funding opportunities.

Visit the festival website for more information, to submit your Festival idea and to find out more about funding opportunities for QMUL staff and students. The deadline for expressions of interest is Tuesday 28th March.

Being Human Festival 

A national festival of the humanities that aims to make research in the humanities accessible and engaging to non-academic audiences, and to demonstrate the role of the humanities in the cultural, intellectual, political and social life of the UK. This year, the festival will return between 17-25 November with a new theme, ‘Lost and Found’. Applicants are invited to respond creatively and in ways that probe the rich intellectual possibilities of the theme.

Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival 

A family friendly annual science festival from Queen Mary Univeristy of London, that always draws plenty of stalls and even bigger crowds to experience and learn about local services and QMUL research in the Octagon at the Mile End campus each summer. The event is aimed at anyone interested in science and medicine, from teenagers to adults, with approximately twenty stalls and exciting events, displays and activities over the day. 

If you're interested in contributing to the fair then please email for more information.

Big Bang Fair 

The Big Bang Fair is the largest celebration of science and engineering for young people in the UK, supported by an unprecedented and unparalleled collaboration between Government, industry and the wider STEM community.

British Science Festival 

The British Science Festival aims to bring cutting-edge British science to the fore and celebrate the importance of science in our culture and society. By working with more than 250 of the UK’s leading researchers to showcase their ideas, innovations and passion, the British Science Festival aims to re-energise and engage with new and existing audiences.

Cheltenham Science Festival 

Cheltenham Science Festival is a 6-day celebration of science with a programme of vibrant and thoughtful discussions, hot debates, mind-blowing performances, participative workshops and hands-on exhibitions. Whether you are a researcher in a lab looking for a place to talk about cutting edge research or a freelance science communicator with a fabulous science show the festival is looking for applications and fesh new ideas to create a broad and stimulating programme. 

Green Man Festival 

At Green Man Festival in Wales, Einstein’s Garden has a vibrant programme of performances, workshops and installations that use art, entertainment and participation to engage people with the diverse aspects of science and nature in fun, quirky and unexpected ways. Stalls can explore fundamental scientific ideas or phenomena, the process of science or current scientific research. It is essential that stalls include as much interactivity and participation as possible for festival goers and that they embody the creative and playful spirit of Einstein’s Garden. 

British Science Week (BSW)

A ten-day national programme of science, engineering and technology events and activities across the UK aimed at people of all ages, usually occurring in March. Anyone can organise an event or activity and the British Science Association helps organisers plan by providing free activity and support resources.


Online and Media

I'm a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here! 

An online event where school students get to meet and interact with real engineers. Students will submit questions which the engineers will try to answer by the next day. Students then have live online Facebook-style chats with the engineers, where they ask questions, learn more about the engineers, and let engineers know their opinions.

I'm an Engineer, Get Me Out of Here! 

Over the course of two weeks, scientists put up a profile online, answer questions, and have live online (text) chats with school science students. The students then vote for their favourite scientist to win £500 for more science communication. It’s a fun way of developing communication skills, gaining a fresh perspective on your research, finding out what young people think about science, and remembering why you love science.

Biochemical Society Science Communication Competition 

Each year the Biochemical Society looks for talented science communicators to take part in their annual Science Communication Competition for the chance to win cash prizes and to be published in their magazine and website. The competition is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students, including non-members. To enter you need to submit an original piece of writing or an original video on a biomolecular topic of your choice, along with an entry form. Your article or video must be aimed at the general public. Written articles should be no longer than 1,500 words, and videos should be 2 - 3 minutes long. 

The Space - Calls regularly Open

A live, free, and on-demand service through which audiences can access a wide range of arts digitally. An Arts Council initiative, The Space has a range of ‘open calls’ for artists and anyone with creative ideas that can lead to them being commissioned and showcased.

Public Speaking

Café Scientifique Cosy Science 

Café Scientifique offers opportunities for researchers and academics to present and explore their subject with an interested crowd in an informal setting, such as a café, restaurant or theatre. Places are available for a wide range of topics related to science and social science.

Cosy Science is a London branch based in Holborn who have hosted prominent speakers such as Tim Hunt (Nobel laureate), David Nutt (ex-government advisor) and Mary Collins (dean of FLS at UCL). If you’re interested in taking part you can contact them through their website, or email them with an idea of what you’d like to present. You will be offered full support in turning your ideas into a talk.

Pint of Science 

The Pint of Science annual festival aims to deliver interesting, fun and relevant cutting-edge science talks in pubs across the country, providing an accessible and relaxed platform which allows people to discuss research with the people who carry it out. 

If you are interested in taking part in a Pint of Science event please get in touch with the Centre for Public Engagement who will be able to forward your interest to the QMUL contact.

Science Showoff 

An open mic night for scientists, science communicators, science teachers, historians and philosophers of science, students, science popularisers and anyone else with something to show off about science. It happens at least once a month in London.

Science Fiction Theatre Talks 

A chance to watch classic science fiction films paired with an academic talk that reflects a key theme of the film. These events look to closely align the science with the fiction and invite academics working in subjects based in science either with a specific paired film in mind, or happy to explore possibilities together. If you're interested then contact their team here.

Live Science 

Live Science gives biomedical researchers an exciting opportunity to study some of the 3.4 million visitors who pass through the doors of the Science Museum each year, providing opportunities to carry out research in return for engaging them through public engagement activities related to your research. Researchers should be able to commit themselves to a minimum of 15-25 hours per week, but each individual residency is tailored to suit the needs of both the study and researchers.


An annual competition to find the next ‘new voice’ of science and engineering. Contestants take part in regional heats, where they give a presentation or intriguing demonstration about science or engineering. 10 finalists are chosen to receive training from some of the world’s best communicators before competing in the final.