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Scientists to engage public on environmental problems

Friday 12 April 2019

SALFORD scientists are to work to give a diverse range of communities more of a stake in tackling issues like climate change and pollution.

The Community for Engaging Environments project aims to engage a much broader range of stakeholders via community development, storytelling and citizen science, to foster collaboration between them and the science community.

“Now is the time to give diverse communities a meaningful stake in discussing and tackling environmental science issues, like climate change,” says University of Salford researcher Dr Erinma Ochu.

The project will run at national and local levels and is funded to £1.3m by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) - the largest single investment in public engagement by the government research agency.

30+ partners

The project is led by the University of Reading,with Birmingham, UCL, Manchester and Newcastle along with Earthwatch, Tekiu,and Citizens UK. A further 25 partners, including The Woodland Trust, The Natural History Museum and open science portal Figshare, will contribute.

Dr Ochu, who will be leading on the science communication /storytelling side and on digital reporting, said: “Hopefully this can contribute to the place-based innovation agenda at local and national level through facilitating research impact around public engagement through citizen science and open science.”

The University of Salford runs a part-time Masters in Science Communication

Dean of the School of Environment and Life Sciences at the University of Salford, Professor Sheila Pankhurst said: “Every once in a while a really innovative project comes along that stands out for its power to be transformative in how we understand and communicate science, and I think this will be one of those.”

Duncan Wingham, NERC Executive Chair, said: “This second stage of Engaging Environments represents our recognition of the importance of public involvement, and our commitment to enabling high-quality engagement with environmental research. This programme will equip the NERC research community, and wider groups, with the skills and confidence to take innovative approaches to collaborating with the public in research.”

- Dr Ochu recently backed a successful call for a Parliamentary Inquiry into diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the UK.

Find out more

Gareth Hollyman, Senior Press & PR Officer (Science)

0161 295 6895