Dr Erinma Ochu

Lecturer in Science Communication & Future Media

Office Times

Thursdays 2pm - 4pm or please contact me for an appointment

Biography

I joined Salford University as a lecturer in July 2016. Prior to this I held a 2-year Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowship at The University of Manchester exploring innovative ways the public can contribute to health research by working across disciplines, sectors and cultural forms. This included pioneering public contributions to dementia research through a citizen science game, #hookedonmusic (www.hookedonmusic.org.uk) by partnering The Music Cognition Group at The University of Amsterdam with The Museum of Science and Industry and The Reading Room in Manchester.

Between 2008 and 2013 I worked as a creative practitioner and consultant on social change initiatives supporting informal learning in primary and secondary education, public engagement in Higher Education and diverse talent development in the cultural sector. This included leading as Creative Director of The Manchester Beacon for Public Engagement (www.manchesterbeacon.org), a partnership between Salford, MMU and Manchester universities and managing Catalyst (http://www.catalystproject.org.uk) a Lancaster University research project exploring how technology might facilitate community involvement in social change.

During my degrees in Applied Neuroscience at The University of Manchester I undertook industrial placements at Pfizer and Merck Sharpe and Dohme before turning to science communication, working behind the scenes on The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures with Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, my PhD supervisor.

After a year as a medical communications writer, I was awarded a Sci-Art fellowship from The National Endowment for Science, Technology and The Arts (NESTA). This led me to work as a curator and filmmaker for five years with London-based digital agency, B3 Media (www.b3media.net) where I ran film, exhibition and talent development initiatives with leading film industry partners including The BBC and Film4.

I have worked as guest curator and critical friend to several festivals and cultural initiatives, including Sheffield International Documentary Festival (https://sheffdocfest.com), Manchester Science Festival (http://www.manchestersciencefestival.com), Creative Scene (http://www.creativescene.org.uk) and The Sick of The Fringe (http://thesickofthefringe.com).

Teaching

I teach Science Communication to undergraduates and postgraduates. This also includes providing opportunities for students and staff to communicate science on live projects and at festivals, including Manchester Science Festival.

As guest lecturer at Edge Hill and The University of Manchester, I taught co-design, transmedia storytelling and community engagement methods.

Research Interests

During my Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowship I became interested in exploring the tensions and connections between creativity, nature and everyday life – including exploring how citizens might collaborate to creatively address climate change, social isolation and food security where they live.

My approach is situational, collaborative and responsive. I often collaborate with activists, artists, designers and curators to blur the boundaries between cultural forms, from citizen science experiments to social media campaigns to art-science exhibits to games to curated public events and hackathons. The explicit goal is to explore and make visible patterns of governance that address the dynamic tension between taking and resisting responsibility and action.

Specifically I am interested in the role of the science communicator in the face of considerable social and environmental crises. My research, teaching and social enterprise expertise activities cut across the broad topic of science communication. I focus primarily on interdisciplinary research and science communication projects that involve the public to tackle social and environmental challenges collaboratively and creatively.

I am open to applied interdisciplinary research projects that allow students to participate and learn collaboratively and creatively whilst contributing to sustainable development goals (http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/).

Qualifications and Memberships

  • 2008 European Audiovisual Entrepreneur
  • 1999 PhD Applied Neuroscience, University of Manchester
  • 1995 BSc Hons, Biological Sciences, University of Manchester
  • 2016, Advisory board, DITO, Do It Together Science, European H2020, Citizen Science project
  • 2015, Scientific Advisory Board, Centre for Healthy Ageing, Copenhagen University
  • 2015, Critical Friend, Creative Scene, West Yorkshire
  • 2015, Advisory committee, Centre for Health Ageing, University of Copenhagen
  • 2015, Deputy Chair, BBSRC Bioscience in Society Panel
  • 2015, Trustee, Manchester Histories
  • 2014, Advisory Board, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, 2014

Publications

Swinton, J., & Ochu, E., The MSI Turing’s Sunflowers Consortium (2016). Novel fibonacci and non-fibonacci structure in the sunflower: Results of a citizen science experiment. Royal Society Open Science, 3(5), DOI:10.1098/rsos.160091

Ochu, E., Vis, F., Rivlin, P., Miles, A., & Jackson, P. (2014). Cultural Values of Digging. Communities and Culture Network+

Ferrario, M.A, Southern, J., Simm,  W. and Ochu, E. (2013) On the Other Edge of Innovation: community-university partnerships disrupt the mundane. Int. Journal of Community Based Research, 16–17

Ochu, E. (2012) Turing’s Sunflowers. FutureEverybody Report

Whittle, J., Ochu, E., Ferrario, M.A. (2012) Beyond research in the wild: Citizen-led research as a model for innovation in the Digital Economy. Proc Digital Futures

Ochu, E. E., Rothwell, N. J., & Waters, C. M. (1998). Caspases mediate 6-hydroxydopamine-induced apoptosis but not necrosis in PC12 cells. Journal of Neurochemistry, 70(6), 2637-2640. DOI:10.1046/j.1471-4159.1998.70062637.x.

Priestley, T., Ochu, E., & Macaulay, A. J. (1996). Time-dependent changes in NMDA receptor expression in new-ones cultured from rat brain. Molecular Brain Research, 40(2), 271-274. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0169-328X(96)00056-3.

Priestley, T., Ochu, E., & Kemp, J. A. (1994). Subtypes of NMDA receptor in neurones cultured from rat brain. NeuroReport, 5(14), 1763-1765.