I am Head of Public Engagement and Skills for the Programme’s Directorate of STFC and I lead on grant funding and strategic engagement partnerships, associated evaluations and learning dissemination.
STFC’s public engagement strategy places high priority on engaging and inspiring young people, particularly those living in challenging economic circumstances, to value STEM in their lives and consider science careers as opportunities very much open to them. We deliver on these objectives through dedicated public engagement grant funding, nurturing strategic engagement partnerships and close collaboration with the engagement directly delivered by our colleagues in STFC’s national laboratories and facilities. Our partnership with ASDC is a long standing one, currently manifest as the fourth phase of the highly successful and impactful Explore Your Universe programme which builds on the learning from previous phases to prioritise co-production values and place the needs of the community at the heart of content and activity development. It has been my privilege to help steer this project since I joined STFC in August 2019.
Immediately prior to joining STFC I held senior positions in the central Public Engagement delivery team of UKRI and its predecessor RCUK. In these roles I oversaw the transition of substantive components of the BEIS public engagement programme, including responsibility for the Inspiring Science Fund, which furnished me with great insight into the working realities, the challenges and opportunities facing the Science Centre sector. My wider career history encompasses 13 years in public engagement funding and policy work with HEFCE, the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement and in freelance capacities, underpinned by several years of active public engagement delivery related to my original research background in human evolution and Ice Age archaeology.
I would like to join the ASDC Board due to our shared agenda to create genuine societal impact through engagement with STEM, the pressing need to bring an expansive range of inspiring science to wider audiences and our common desire to ensure the needs and requirements of diverse communities are heard and enacted in how we deliver this agenda.
I believe the depth and variety of experiences of supporting public engagement I have gathered in my various funder and engagement enabler roles will bring a valuable ‘sector level’ viewpoint and I would serve as an active champion for the role and value of Science Centres across my professional networks and portfolio.
I would also welcome the opportunity to learn from the diverse experiences of the other Trustees as we seek to ensure science, STEM and Science Centres themselves play a key role in our national recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.