My particular interests lie in what the public engagement landscape has to say about, or how it contributes to, this ambitious transition. Fairly quickly, we can identify a disjunction between public policy priorities and the public engagement taking place from universities and the science communication infrastructure (by which I mean science centres, science festivals and informal science engagement practice). This gap is really interesting when you think about it, and in the discussion at the end of the talk we explored it a little further.
A couple of months ago I was asked to give evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee as part of their enquiry into Women and STEM. What they wanted to know was why there was still a problem for women in achieving senior levels in STEM academic careers. Having recently led the OU’s successful submission for an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and having researched and written about gender and STEM for many years, I was asked to represent the OU and discuss what universities can do to help alleviate this situation.
I am a palaeoecologist at the Open University. My research involves reconstructing how our planet has changed over longer time scales in the past (1-2 million years). At first glance my research does not seem entirely relevant to current climate change but in fact it is integral. The climate system is hugely complicated and we still don’t fully understand how all the aspects work or how they interact together. One way of learning how the system operates is to simply observe it. The longer you observe it; then the better you will understand how it works and what are the possibilities for how it may change.