I am the Director of the University of Manchester's new Discovery Centre at Jodrell Bank. I have a background in Physics and Engineering and a long track record in science engagement and science policy.
The Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre connects visitors to the world leading Astrophysics research being carried out at the Observatory and showcases research from right across the University.
Our Education programme welcomes around 15,000 school pupils each year and our 'Live from Jodrell Bank' Science-Music festivals have become part of the summer festival scene. We are already at capacity so are planning an expansion into new buildings and activities next year.
As well as giving people a link 'live' to Space and what our scientists are researching, our new Discovery Centre also focuses on the perspective that Astronomy gives us on the Earth - which is a very rare thing, a tiny pale blue dot in the vastness of Space - and explores our need to look after our planet and its environment.
We're very committed to forging new and innovative links across the ASDC network in future.
What I bring
Experience of founding and directing a high-profile Science Discovery Centre based at a leading science research site
Strong academic background in STEM subjects and a keen appreciation of their importance for the UK
Years of experience in Science Engagement with a wide range of audiences, ranging from 'hands-on' projects overseas (with Practical Action) through coordination roles in the UK (Café Scientifique) to lobbying/policy and funding (e.g. NESTA)
Strong links with the Research sector
Expertise in building strategic partnerships at many levels
Passion, commitment, great communication skills and a 'can-do' attitude
People will only choose to pursue their interest in science - or support science - if they're motivated and inspired to do so.
Inspiration rarely originates solely in the delivery of information - it's much more likely to be sparked off by transformative emotional experiences - awe, surprise, excitement, wonder, curiosity, fun. These are the 'Wow' moments that so many scientists cite as the thing that switched them on to science.
I believe that our core role is to provide the places, events and moments where Inspiration happens.
In order to do this as organisations, of course, we need the basic foundations in place. Financial sustainability; constant evaluation and affirmation of the value of what we do; the sharing of experience and information. We also need political support - nationally, regionally and locally - which can only be built on strong communication of the value of what we do at all these levels.
These are challenging things to maintain, but collectively as the ASDC we are very well placed to do this - and to build our sector further so that its voice makes a real difference.
As our new Centre flourishes at Jodrell Bank, it is an honour to be able to work for ASDC and contribute to its future as Chair of its Board.