To achieve our mission of outstanding graduate outcomes and impactful research, we recognise the value of working in tandem with collaborative partners, as well as providing activities and services to the wider community.
As part of this, the College of Health and Life Sciences engage with local and national organisations, such as public and private healthcare providers, policy makers, corporate organisations, schools, colleges, universities, the media, the general public, professional bodies, charities, and our students (prospective, current and alumni). We create and take part in public engagement activities, run on-campus health clinics, work closely with schools and colleges to inspire, and undertake projects with industry.
“Engaging with the public is at the core of what we do in the College of Health and Life Sciences. Our teaching and research are designed to have a positive impact on our region and wider society so we can maximise the benefits of our activities for the public.”
Dr James Brown
Associate Dean for Community Affairs and External Engagement, College of Health and Life Sciences.
From face-to-face interactions, to social media, public engagement is a key cornerstone of activity within our College. It encourages people to think actively about science and understand its relevance to them in their daily lives. Our interaction with the public aims to break down the walls between academic institutions and the wider public, and inspire new champions for scientific work and research.
Over the years we have taken part in a wide range of events big and small. We’ve hosted stands at leading events such as the Royal Society Summer Exhibition, taken part in public art trails, and created online resources all with a view to reach, impact and educate.
- Pint of Science
The world’s largest festival of public science talks, brings scientists from Aston and other institutions to the stage in pubs around Birmingham and other cities. Academics from across Aston, including many from the College of Health and Life Sciences have taken part in Pint of Science for many years, giving talks on subjects ranging from the aging body and mind, to the good, the bad and the ugly of bacteria.
In 2020, we worked with Pint of Science and experts across the College to create a Pint of Aston podcast series.
- Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
Researchers within our Biosciences Research Group created a series of public engagement events, designed to educate the wider public, and senior school age children on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. Events in this series included:
AMR Roadshow: engaging with year-10 students from local academies (Aston Engineering, Walsall, and Woodgreen) to raise awareness of the current worldwide problem of antimicrobial resistance. As part of this event, a series of video resources were created:
- Section 1: The beginning of microbiology
- Section 2: Infection and the superbug MRSA
- Section 3: Antibiotics
- Section 4: Molecules to man
The Drugs Don’t Work: A tale of Resistance: an innovative stage play created in conjunction with specialist TIE company Hobgoblin Theatre Company, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and part sponsored by Biomaster. The play made clever use of dramatic excerpts and a panel of experts from the School of Biosciences, and Aston Pharmacy School and was performed at the Thinktank Museum, Birmingham, and at the Cheltenham Science Festival.
Schools poster competition: we invited schools across the midlands to participate in a poster competition for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). Children designed a poster about the topic using a poster template, with an aim to raise awareness of this issue, and enable children and young people to learn about the topic.
Zaiba from Holbrook Primary School.
- The Big Bang: UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair
Aston University regularly holds a stand at the UK’s largest, free-to-attend celebration of science and engineering for young people, The Big Bang. Collaborating with the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, past stand themes have included antibiotic resistance, math counts, being fit and happy, and STEM Superheroes.
Schools and students
A large proportion of the engagement activity within the College is aimed at inspiring the next generation of scientists and healthcare professionals. We are extremely proud of our well-established pathway programmes that have been designed to expand knowledge, develop skills and give an insight into what university life is really like to students with ambitions to study a medicine or a healthcare related degree.
We also work closely with colleagues in the Aston Student Recruitment and Outreach (SRO) team to provide expertise for School talks, and on-campus and virtual taster sessions.
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