Public Engagement and Outreach Section

Alison Woollard giving the Christmas Lectures 2013

Alison Woollard.
Credit: Paul Wilkinson

Our researchers participate in activities to bring science to a wider audience and inspire the next generation of scientists.

From graduate students to professors, they can be found enthusiastically explaining their science - on the radio, television, web or stage, or at schools, science festivals and fairs and in pubs.

We are proud of our researchers' achievements in this area, for example:

Kate Wright (Photo by J. Rowntree)

  • Associate Professor Alison Woollard became only the fifth woman to have been selected to give the Royal Institution CHRISTMAS LECTURES in its long history. She presented the three-part series 'Life Fantastic' which was aired on BBC Four at Christmas 2013. Alison was awarded the 2015 JBS Haldane Lecture by the Genetics Society recognising her outstanding ability to communicate genetics research to lay audiences.
  • DPhil student Jonny Brooks-Bartlett took runner-up prize in FameLab UK 2014. His three-minute presentation took an amusing look at how epidemiological modelling has recently been used to forecast impending doom for Facebook.
  • Former DPhil student Kate Wright won the prestigious Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize 2013 for her engaging and lively account of the debate surrounding the origins of syphilis in Europe.

We also participate in events for prospective undergraduates including the UNIQ Summer School, Oxford Pathways, and departmental Open Days.

Jonny Brooks-Bartlett in FameLab UK 2014

Jonny Brooks-Bartlett at the FameLab UK 2014 final

Professor Elspeth Garman ( is the department's lead for Public Engagement and Outreach. As well as being an outstanding scientist and inspiring teacher, she is also an enthusiastic supporter of public engagement. She has given talks to audiences all over the country, featured on the radio and in videos, and is active in encouraging girls and women to participate and excel in science.

Some examples of past public engagement and outreach activities can be found here. For details of on-going activities, go to the 'On-going activities' page.  

For example, the Seiradake group hosted two enthusiastic A-level students for a hands-on practical in 2018. Arianwen Herbert and Jade Gough spent four days at our department to learn molecular biology techniques hands-on and to find out what it is like to be a biochemist. Click here to read their report.


If you work in the department and are interested in getting involved with public engagement and outreach activities, you can find details of opportunities under 'Working in the Department'




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