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Biomedical Early Career Interdisciplinary Networking Programme - Public Engagement Training Day

Biomedical Interdisciplinary Networking Programme for Early Career Researchers - Public Engagement Training Day
When Jan 24, 2018
from 09:30 AM to 04:00 PM
Where Downing College, Cambridge
Contact Name
Contact Phone 07464-789129
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Would you like to share your research more widely?

This one day course is offered by Cambridge Infectious Diseases Interdisciplinary Reserch Centre and the Cambridge Immunology Network, with generous support from the Isaac Newton Trust.

It offers comprehensive training in public engagement and educational outreach for graduate students and post-docs at the University of Cambridge and affiliated institutes from any discipline/department, who are connected thru a common interest in infectious diseases research. Spaces are limited to members. If you are interested in infectious diseases/immunology and are not yet a member of either network, please visit our web sites to join up and 

By ‘public engagement’ and 'outreach' we mean engaging ‘non-specialists’ with your academic discipline. This might include school pupils, older people’s groups, youth clubs and the general public (it does not include other academics).

The course will be  facilitated by Sarah Cruise and Dr Lucinda Spokes, who have been providing training in public engagement for 11 years with academic researchers at different stages of their career.

It provides a lot of practical information to consider when organising a public engagement event, as well as helping to reflect on more fundamental issues about the audience you want to reach and how to pitch and tailor your content to it "

Sarah Cruise has been coaching communication skills since 2003, running her own company Eloquential since 2006. Sarah has worked with a number of well known companies and organisations including ARM, Royal Aeronautical Society, Savills and Zeiss amongst many others. She had the pleasure of working with Sir Keith Mills and Lord Sebastian Coe on the London bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. In 2006 Sarah founded the Rising Stars public engagement training programme for the University of Cambridge which she continues to run every year. She has also run workshops on public engagement for other organisations such as the British Ecological Society, the Physiological Society, and runs training workshops for the Cambridge heat of FameLab.

Dr Lucinda Spokes spent over a decade as a research scientist at the University of East Anglia prior to moving into public engagement. Her experience is wide ranging, gained in academic, Festival and school settings. This includes developing and participating in research-focused public engagement projects; developing and running STEM activities in schools; providing advice on STEM enrichment opportunities to teachers through STEMNET; coordinating major research-led public Festivals and offering training and advice on how to develop effective public engagement with research activities for academic staff and students.

REGISTER: Please register for this event on Eventbrite here.

Dates & Time: 24 January 9.30am - 4pm Lunch and coffee /tea breaks provided.

Cost: Free to CID/Immunology Network members ( sign up on our web sites if you are not yet a member). Support generously provided by the Isaac Newton Trust.

Location: Downing College, Cambridge, Music Room.

Programme (subject to change)


Whole Group


Welcome and introductions

  • Sarah & Lucy introduce selves (using objects)
  • Each participant introduce themselves through an object (as explained in an introductory email)


Public engagement - what it is and why do it


Criteria for effective communication (illustrated through exercises)

  • Two routes of influence: Central & Peripheral - motivation & knowledge


Your research - key messages

  • In Pairs: Talk about your research to distill the main points: 3 mins (3 mins feedback), 1 min (3 mins feedback), 30 sec (3 mins feedback) (15 mins total per person)


Making connections

  • Individuals write key messages from research on post-its
  • Find links with others by connecting all post-its on a wall




Adapting for different audiences

  • Identify and list the different possible audiences
  • Explore the challenges and opportunities when engaging with one of the audiences listed
  • In Pairs: Pick 2 audiences & practice changing your 30 sec message accordingly


Engaging content

  • Hooks: link research to current news, popular figures, child & youth culture etc
  • Analogies, Metaphors, Smilies etc
  • Objects, props, activities etc
    • Magic number 7, Chunking of information, Pyramid Principle & Disrupt then reframe theories
    • Explore possible creative content ideas for their own research & competition for best link to chocolate prize




Personal Impact

  • Recipe for most influential voice and non-verbal behaviour - pitch, pace, fluency, emotional involvement through voice and face, posture, eye contact, gestures
  • Fluency, time distortion
  • Power of the pause exercise - Just a minute


Interactive communications

  • Opening & closing conversations
  • Handling questions, objections and challenges
  • Individual generation of likely questions & those most feared
  • Traffic light approach to questions with bridging
  • Pairs practice at least 3 questions aiming to bridge to their key messages



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A virtual centre for infectious diseases researchers at the University of Cambridge and affiliated institutes. Our vision is to build a world-leading interdisciplinary centre with capacity to develop innovative solutions for intractable infectious disease problems and support evidence for infectious disease policy.