EPSRC has funded 5 ICT Public Engagement Champions
We’re delighted to announce that CS4FN’s Paul Curzon has been named as one of the new ICT Public Engagement Champions with a three-year award from the EPSRC. Working through the CS4FN and Teaching London Computing projects his grant will enable us to support schools and researchers in several ways, including –
1a. Primary: A bit of CS4FN – interdisciplinary computing
We will expand the ‘A bit of CS4FN‘ mini magazines for primary-aged children and their teachers. These talk about computer science research in an age-appropriate way and have a strong interdisciplinary focus, because primary teachers are often generalists and may teach a much wider curriculum / range of subjects than secondary teachers. Also, it can be fun to sneak a bit of computing into a class on another topic, and vice versa.
1b. Secondary: CS4FN – diversity in computing
We will also produce an issue of our secondary schools ‘CS4FN’ magazine with an explicit focus on diversity in computing, as well as expanding our existing diversity work in other ways (see for example our free classroom posters with suggested class activities for finding out more about particular researchers and tech folk, and our profiles of computer scientists from a wide range of backgrounds).
- If you would like your school to receive free copies of this and other coming issues of the magazine then sign up here.
- Download copies of our past issues here.
1c. Empower teachers to champion computing
We want to help teachers inspire their students, as well as prepare them for the future by helping them gain a better understanding of leading-edge computer science research. We also want to highlight to people of all ages how computer science increasingly underpins all careers. Computers are being used by almost everyone, and for a huge variety of purposes. However, this doesn’t just mean being able to use them matters, it means understanding how they work increasingly matters for all too. We want to highlight that there are amazing careers for those with computer science skills whether as computer scientists, lawyers, historians, clinicians, … not to mention exciting research to be done. Overall, we want to support teachers in becoming champions for ICT research and careers too.
2. Embedding public engagement in computer science research
To help do all this we will support computing researchers to get involved in computer science public engagement, both in disseminating their work to non-specialist audiences and involving the public at the outset of their research. Initially we’ll work with QMUL colleagues but will expand to share ideas with and learn from scicomm colleagues elsewhere. Lots of people are doing public engagement with computer science and it would be helpful for everyone if we all share best practice and showcase examples.
Read more about Paul’s project (in partnership with the Royal Institution) on the EECS news website.
Congratulations also to the other four EPSRC ICT Public Engagement Champions –
- Prof Catherine Holliday (UCL) for her project: Inclusive Public Activities for information and Communication Technologies (IPACT)
- Dr Ifat Yasin (UCL) and team for Bio-Robots: Crawl, Jump, and Slither!
- Prof John Terry (University of Birmingham) for Digital Healthcare: A vehicle for capacity building in ICT skills and public engagement and
- Prof Keeley Crockett (Manchester Metropolitan University) for PEAs in Pods: Co-production of community-based public engagement for data and AI research.
CS4FN – Computer Science For Fun, a free computing magazine for schools with an accompanying website and downloads site. A sister project is Teaching London Computing which has free classroom resources for teachers.
EECS – School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science: our department at QMUL.
EPSRC – Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council – one of several research councils which fund research in the UK, under the umbrella of UKRI.
ICT – Information and Communications Technology.
QMUL – Queen Mary University of London – the university where Paul Curzon works, and where we produce CS4FN magazines.
Scicomm – science communication: the practice of making scientific information relevant and understandable for a general public audience, usually by translating jargon into plain English and adding explanatory context.
UKRI – UK Research and Innovation – the “non-departmental public body of the Government of the United Kingdom that directs research and innovation funding, funded through the science budget of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy” and the umbrella body for the UK’s Research Councils.