Public Engagement News
New Oxford Sparks podcast episode by rogier mars
November 2022 - WIN researcher Rogier Mars features in the newest podcast episode from Oxford Sparks, the university's online platform for sharing science accessibly through podcasts and videos. Roger's podcast episode, "What makes the human brain so special?", was released on 1 November:
"We often hear that we’re remarkably similar to our primate relatives, both in terms of our genetics and our behaviour. We’re social beings. We use tools. But only humans have come to dominate the planet – why? Could the answer lie in the small differences between the human brain and that of other primates? In this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Questions Podcast, we talk to neuroscientist Dr Rogier Mars about what makes the human brain so special. Please note that Dr Rogier Mars and his team work on the brains of non-human primates that have died of natural causes, and have subsequently been donated for research purposes." Listen to the episode here
Daniel kor wins 'magnetic moments' video competition
October 2022 - Daniel Kor, one of WIN's 2022 Public Engagement Ambassadors, earlier this year was declared the winner of ISMRM's "Magnetic Moments" PE video competition. ISMRM (the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine) held a video competition as part of its 2022 yearly conference, in which researchers were invited to produce short videos explaining their research in engaging and accessible ways. Daniel's entry, explaining his research ("Disentangling the contributions of myelin, neurofilament & microglia to MR contrast: an automated pipeline for voxelwise MR-histology analysis") using the metaphor of cooking a pasta dish, was declared the winner by ISMRM's judging panel. Watch Daniel's winning video
'See the unseen' video series with PE Ambassador Jussi Tolonen
September 2022 - Jussi Tolonen, one of WIN/NDCN's 2022 Public Engagement Ambassadors, features in the first episode of a new Youtube video series, "See the Unseen", sharing scientific research with the public. In his first video he and colleague Susanne Mesoy discuss Mass Spectrometry; in future videos, Jussi and Susanne will be interviewing other researchers in their building (Dorothy Crowfoot-Hodgkin Building).
2022 WIN PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT AMBASSADORS ANNOUNCED
March 2022 - the sixth yearly cohort of WIN Public Engagement Ambassadors has now been announced. Each year (trained together with the NDCN Public Engagement Ambassadors), our ambassadors receive formal training in public engagement and are given opportunities to hone their public engagement skills in a variety of settings. Congratulations to Merethe Blandhol, Sankalp Garud, Lucy Jobbins, Daniel Kor, Morgan Mitchell, Raihaan Patel, and Lucy Starling for being selected as WIN's 2022 cohort. Read more about the WIN Public Engagement Ambassadors programme.
win partners with banbury museum & Gallery for 'Your Amazing Brain' programme
February 2022 - 'Your Amazing Brain: A User's Guide' is an ambitious exhibition and events partnership between the WIN and Banbury Museum & Gallery. The exhibition launched on 12 February and will be open until 5 June; meanwhile, WIN researchers are involved in a variety of associated engagement activities, including primary and secondary school visits, art workshops with patient groups, a 'museum late', and more. Read more about the exhibit in this blog post by NDCN Comms & Public Engagement Manager Jacqueline Pumphrey.
Cristiana Tisca wins award in NeurotechEU 3 Minute Thesis competition
January 2022 - Congratulations to DPhil student Cristiana Tisca (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences), who won 'Most Creative Presentation' at the NeurotechEU Student Council 3 Minute Thesis Competition. Cristiana's DPhil project, with Professor Karla Miller and Dr Aurea Martins-Bach, delves deeper into findings from the world's largest human neuroimaging dataset, the UK Biobank, which established links between genetic modifications and brain structure. She images novel mouse models using both magnetic resonance neuroimaging and microscopy, seeking to understand the biological cause of these links. Read more about Cristiana's award.
Irene Echeverria-Altuna and hanna smyth join 'Talking memory' programme
January 2022 - WIN DPhil student Irene Echeverria-Altuna (Experimental Psychology) and Public Engagement Officer Hanna Smyth are two of six early-career researchers from across the university appointed to the Ashmolean Museum's 2022 'Talking Memory' programme. The programme, which runs January-June 2022, connects the role of museums as repositories of memories with their role as spaces of social care. Applying their diverse expertise to the museum's collections, Talking Memory's six Public Engagement Associates will deliver a series of public events for older adults, after participating in a series of training days combining practical museum interpretation and programming skills with academic seminars on memory studies. Read more about the Talking Memory program.
hanna smyth joins win public engagement team
January 2022 - Hanna Smyth has now started in post as the new Public Engagement Officer, joining the WIN from prior dual roles with Research Services (Public Engagement Grants Coordinator) and Humanities Division (National Trust Partnership Support Officer). Read more about WIN's public engagement team here.
'Football on the brain' wins £218,545 public engagement grant
December 2021 - A team led by WIN's Director, Heidi Johansen-Berg, with colleagues Holly Bridge (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences), Carinne Piekema (WIN Public Engagement Manager), and external partners including Oxford United FC, Oxford City FC, and Football Beyond Borders, has won a University of Oxford 'Enriching Engagement' grant funding award. 'Enriching Engagement' is a pilot grants programme open to Wellcome grant holders at Oxford, to develop and deliver public engagement with research projects. Heidi's team was awarded £218,545 - the largest single award ever made by the scheme - for their project to investigate brain changes that occur during learning and consolidation, and test whether modifying activity in the sleeping brain can boost learning and rehabilitation. The team will be working with partner football coaches to embed neuroscience theory into training, help students improve their (football) skill learning, and help football fans to better understand and look after their brain health. The project will run until 2026. Read more about this project here.
Meet win's radiographers - world radiography day
November 2021 - For World Radiography Day, the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences website featured interviews with the radiographers of WIN! Michael Sanders (Senior Research Radiographer), David Parker (Research Radiographer), and Juliet Semple (OHBA Lead Research Radiographer) shared how they got started in radiography, what they do day-to-day, memorable moments, advice, and more. Read their interviews here.
Job opening: Win public engagement officer
October 2021 - Following the departure of WIN's former Public Engagement Officer Maria Larriva-Hormigos in summer 2021, recruitment is now underway for the role. Deadline to apply is 15 October 2021. For more information and the full job description, see the posting on the University of Oxford jobs desk.
carinne piekema joins 'science together' programme
September 2021 - Oxford's Mathematical, Physical & Life Sciences Division and Medical Sciences Division have launched a new Public Engagement with Research (PER) programme to connect researchers and local communities, so that research is grounded in local needs, interests and priorities. Named Science Together: Oxford Researchers and Communities, this pilot programme explores what challenges can be overcome or opportunities seized by local community groups when they are given access to the world class skills, knowledge and resources of our researchers. This project brings together researchers, community groups and facilitators (PPI, PER and Comms professionals) to conceive and plan collaborative research projects. WIN's Public Engagement Manager Carinne Piekema is one of twenty facilitators supporting this innovative programme. Read more about Science Together.
Researcher publishes children's "Book of the Brain"
March 2021 - Betina Ip, Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow, has written a book for children: The Usborne Book of the Brain. In an interview with Talitha Smith, she described her process: "I started with a number of topics that I found interesting, such as vision and memory. When dealing with decision making, I got really stuck on how to visualise it for children. Then one day I watched kids keenly queuing for ice cream after school, and imagined how hard it must be for them to decide on what ice cream they want to eat. That sparked the idea of using a decision chain on buying ice cream. It is one of my favourite pages in the book. Together with the amazing creative team at the publisher we refined each page over many iterations until it was optimal. It was a fruitful collaboration." Read more about Betina's book and its development process.
2021 WIN public engagement ambassadors announced
January 2021 - the fifth yearly cohort of WIN Public Engagement Ambassadors has now been announced. Each year (in tandem with the NDCN Public Engagement Ambassadors) our ambassadors receive formal training in public engagement and are given opportunities to hone their public engagement skills in a variety of settings. Congratulations to Jemma Pitt, Lilian Weber, Madalena Fonseca, Sonia Vallentin, Joel Fundaun, Hossein Rafipoor, Oana Gurau, Neil Garrett, and Sarah Vollam for being selected as the 2021 cohort. Read more about the WIN Public Ambassadors programme.
'Building stress resilience in early adolescence' wins £72,256 public engagement grant
July 2020 - A team led by Jacinta O'Shea (Psychiatry), with colleagues Polly Waite and MaryAnn Noonan (Experimental Psychology) and Carinne Piekema and Maria Larriva-Hormigos (WIN public engagement team), has won a University of Oxford 'Enriching Engagement' grant funding award. 'Enriching Engagement' is a pilot grants programme open to Wellcome grant holders at Oxford, to develop and deliver public engagement with research projects. Jacinta's team was awarded £72,256 for their project 'Building stress resilience in early adolescence', to co-create with schools a stress resilience skills toolkit for Years 7-9. The project will run until 2024. Read more about this project here.
2020 WIN public engagement ambassadors announced
January 2020 - the fourth yearly cohort of WIN Public Engagement Ambassadors has now been announced. Each year (in tandem with the NDCN Public Engagement Ambassadors) our ambassadors receive formal training in public engagement and are given opportunities to hone their public engagement skills in a variety of settings. Congratulations to Andrew Galloway, Beatriz Silveira, MaryAnn Noonan, Yan Tse, Cristiana Tisca, Selene Lee, Hannah Willis, and Giedre Cepukaityte for being selected as the 2020 cohort. Read more about the WIN Public Ambassadors programme.
win triumphs at the 2019 public engagement with research awards
July 2019 - WIN has won an award in this year’s University of Oxford Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Awards. These celebrate excellence in public engagement across the University. WIN, 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. Read more about WIN's PER Awards success.
'She'-lock holmes: inspiring girls with science
July 2019 - On 27 July, 16 girls aged between 11-14 joined the SHElock team from our Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging. Expertly led by Amy Howard, the team facilitated three sleuthing workshops at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Read more about the SHElock program.
Brain Awareness week 2019
March 2019 - Brain Awareness Week is an annual global initiative designed to raise awareness among the public about brain-related research and the impact that neuroscientists are having on the world. WIN researchers were involved in various activities, including bringing their 'Big Brain Roadshow' to Cherwell School, entertaining 270 children with the WIN Play "21st Century Phrenology" and a range of interactive stalls. Meanwhile Holly Bridge and Stuart Clare developed a phone game to test whether cramming is successful for learning, accompanied by a teachers' evening and multiple Facebook Lives with WIN researchers in partnership with Oxford Sparks. Read more about WIN's 2019 Brain Awareness Week activities.
Win's 'Big brain roadshow'
July 2018 - WIN researchers visited local schools to share their research into the brain with Key Stage 3 pupils. WIN's Big Brain Roadshow combines drama, movement and hands-on activities to give young people an introduction to the history of brain imaging from the 1800s to the present day and an outline of the ways in which current research is building our understanding of the brain. The session begins with a performance of the WIN Play "21st Century Phrenology", which takes the viewer on a time-travelling journey through the history of humanity’s attempts to understand the brain. Then, students break into small groups to visit a series of science-fair style stalls, where they can take part in hands-on activities grouped around the themes of 'the talking brain', 'the learning brain', 'the seeing brain', 'the active brain' and 'the evolving brain'. Involving physical challenges, puzzles, 3D-printed brain scans and even juggling, the activities allow students to explore different aspects of the brain while talking to real-life brain researchers about their work. The session is delivered by active researchers working in a variety of roles, including neuroscientists, psychologists, physicists and more. Read more about the Big Brain Roadshow's 2018 visits.
Brain awareness week 2018
March 2018 - For Brain Awareness Week 2018, WIN collaborated with Oxford Sparks to present an immersive experience of some of Oxford's brain research. Members of the public were invited to submit ideas for fMRI scanner experiments; the winning experiment, suggested by Richard Harrow, aimed to find out how the brain identifies voices, and it was broadcast live on Facebook at the end of Brain Awareness Week. Over 3000 people visited the Brain Discovery Week website, with the series of Facebook Lives with researchers proving the most popular pages. The videos reached over 70,000 people worldwide via Facebook and YouTube. Read and watch more about WIN's experiment competition.
Meanwhile, other WIN researchers were running a variety of in-person activities for Brain Awareness week, including 'Left Brain/Right Brain' which explored gender differences; 'My Love Affair with the Brain' film screening and expert panel; 'Art, Illusions and the Visual Brain' at the Museum of the History of Science; and 'The Neurophysiology of Aesthetics' about the relationship between art, museums, and neuroscience. Read more about WIN's other 2018 Brain Awareness Week activities.
WIN joins 'curiosity carnival' for european researchers' night
September 2017 - On 29 September Oxford’s 'Curiosity Carnival' joined hundreds of other European cities in celebrating European Researchers’ Night. WIN researchers took part in a city-wide programme of activities that attracted over 9,000 people, including a performance of the WIN Play '21st Century Phrenology' at the Museum of Natural History; a stall on Broad Street with neuroscience-themed fairground games; vision loss simulations at the Botanic Garden; and a Boost Your Brain stall about the relationship between physical activity and cognitive performance. Read more about WIN's involvement in Curiosity Carnival.