Case study: Connecting your project to the public
The Research Impact Management Office (RIMO) helped showcase Imperial research at one of the largest science engagement events in the country.
Working with Dr Lorenzo Picinali from the Dyson School of Design Engineering, the RIMO team led on the delivery of an exhibit showcasing research from SONICOM and BEARS at the week-long Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2023.
SONICOM is a €5.6 million project funded under the EU’s Horizon2020 FET Proactive – Boosting emerging technologies scheme that brings together scientists from around Europe to design novel augmented/virtuality technologies for immersive audio environments.
BEARS is an NIHR-funded project led by the University of Cambridge, that has developed and is now trialling a series of virtual reality games to help young people with two cochlear implants to hear, communicate, and socialise in noisy environments by training their sound localisation and speech-in-noise perception skills.
The Royal Society’s flagship public engagement sees thousands of people, from four-year-olds to Royal Society Fellows, attend every year to discover cutting-edge research.
RIMO was involved at all stages of the process, from writing the successful application that saw us selected as one of the nine flagship exhibits, to manning the stall and engaging visitors with the science.
Over the ten months from application to event, our team:
- collaboratively developed the narrative and activities for the exhibit with the research team;
- drew up the budget;
- secured additional funding for the exhibit from Imperial’s Societal Engagement Seed Fund;
- designed the physical exhibit;
- designed and launched bespoke webpages about the exhibit;
- created bespoke artwork and illustrations;
- supported the creation of video content;
- delivered public engagement training for the research team;
- coordinated equipment and resources for the exhibition;
- created a rota for the stall;
- wrote news articles and social media content;
- liaised with the Royal Society;
- and much more.
Attendance at the event directly led to media coverage, including The Guardian and the BBC, and further engagement opportunities. Members of the research team told us how much they enjoyed the week and found that it made them think about their research in new ways as a result of engaging with different audiences.
“It was a lot of fun chatting to the public about our research and meeting incredibly interested people from all walks of life,” said Dr Katarina Poole. “There were a lot of discussions on how immersive audio could be used – why it’s not used, why it should be – which was good to expand my thinking on how my and the lab’s research could be used.”