Dr Richard Holliman – University Champion for Public Engagement with Research

Dr Richard Holliman
Dr Richard Holliman


Richard is the University's Champion for Public Engagement with Research. He is both the academic lead and a co-investigator on the Catalyst project. He has overall operational responsibility for co-ordinating and leading all aspects of this action research project, and helping to shape strategic objectives for OU public engagement with research.

As the university's champion, Richard is based on secondment in the Research Scholarship and Quality Unit. Alongside his role in co-ordinating and leading the research phases of the project, he is also responsible for connecting the work of the Catalyst project with the university's decision-making forums and senior managers, including the Faculty Deans and Associate Deans for Research, and Research Centre Directors.

As the academic lead, Richard also contributes to the wider RCUK-funded Catalyst programme. Coordinated by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, this programme involves eight universities across the UK.


Richard's research interests lie in exploring the ways that academic research is communicated via a range of media and genres, and how ideas about (upstream) public engagement with research may be shifting and extending social practices. His research publications are hosted on Open Research Online.

In addition to his role as Champion on the Catalyst project, Richard is the academic lead on another RCUK-funded project, called 'Engaging Opportunities'. Working in collaboration with the Denbigh Teaching School Alliance, this project is part of the programme to promote schools-university partnerships.

Through his research work Richard has developed a strong reputation for engaging collaboratively in interdisciplinary teams. He retains strong links to Institute of Educational Technology through his research contributions to the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology, where he continues to co-supervise postgraduate research students (Vickie Curtis and Jamie Dorey).

Richard is currently advising Medical Research Council-sponsored research exploring aspects of research impact, and contributing to a Nottingham University-based, Leverhulme-funded project, called 'Making science public'.


Richard has studied and worked at the Open University since the mid-1990s. He completed his PhD in the Department of Sociology (with support from the Institute of Educational Technology), where he explored media representations of the sciences. He moved across the campus in 2000 to work in the Faculty of Science, where he is Senior Lecturer in Science Communication.

Now based in the Department of Environment, Earth and Ecosystems, Richard has contributed to a number of postgraduate and undergraduate teaching projects that explore aspects of the relationship between the sciences and publics. In particular, he has played a leading role in the development of the MSc in Science and Society and the production of Communicating science in the information age. He is also the moderator of Isotope, a NESTA-funded community website for sharing resources and expertise among science engagement practitioners. Richard created this site with Trevor Collins, Peter Taylor, Eric Jensen and Peter Devine).

Richard was a founding member of the European Network of Science Communication Teachers. He has helped to develop and deliver career and professional development resources that explore public engagement and social and ethical issues with: The Royal Society; Science and Technology Facilities Council; the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement; the Higher Education Academy; and as an advisor to an Australian Learning and Teaching Council-funded project.


Dr Richard Holliman

University Champion for Public Engagement with Research

The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

Telephone: +44(0)1908 654646

Email: Richard.Holliman@open.ac.uk

Website: http://www.open.ac.uk/personalpages/r.m.holliman