January 25, 2013, by Tara de Cozar

Nottingham Catalyst — public engagement opportunity for researchers

Not entirely unrelated to our last blog post is a new pilot project being set up by the University’s Community Partnerships‘ team. Nottingham Catalyst is a new programme which helps link research and public engagement across all faculties and schools.

The idea is to link up researchers with sections of the public  relevant with their area of study, with the aim of sharing the benefits of higher education with the wider public. This would involve academics writing regular blogs on research progress, or specific aspects of the research which may be of interest to the public. The pilot will  particularly focus on medical, clinical and translational research as there is already significant public engagement activity in these fields at the University. The online Community of Practise pilot will bring together researchers and people/groups affected by medical conditions or  health problems relating to Nottingham research  — and who may be able to bring a new perspective to the project.

There will be an initial half day training session on using the website and how to get the most from the experience.  After that it’s simply a case of uploading blogging material, some video blogs and adding comments. Involvement will be for a pilot period of three months, beginning mid-February 2013.  There may be an opportunity for researchers to continue after their initial involvement. Nottingham Catalyst is primarily targeting ‘hard to reach’ communities in Nottingham who seldom or never engage with the University.  This includes patient user groups, third sector and social enterprises and service users — the ‘person on the street’ who wouldn’t usually think that the research taking place in their city has any real meaning or relevance to them.

Once this pilot is complete, new online communities of practise for other schools and faculties across the University – particularly those that find public engagement a challenge — will be developed. The team at Nottingham Catalyst are happy to accept expressions of interest from other researchers in other faculties.  They support lots of other public engagement activities including public engagement training, events and activities across the University, so even if the pilot’s not suitable for you, another project might be…

So, do you fancy getting involved? There’s some info on the UoN workspace, or you could get in touch with Veronica Strain on ext 68747 to talk it through.

And if you do sign up, don’t forget to tell us how it goes!

Posted in public engagementresearch