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School of the Biological Sciences

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Public Engagement describes the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.

In line with the University's strategic commitment of endorsing and embedding public engagement with research, the School of Biological Sciences has developed a Public Engagement strategy - a framework for research-led activities in a range of formats with the aim to:

  • Share with and inspire the public
  • Consult and listen to public views
  • Involve the public

Events and Activities from across the School

Changing pathogens in a changing world at the Cambridge Festival 2023

Researchers from across the Schools of Biological Sciences and Clinical Medicine showcased their exciting research under the theme ‘Changing Pathogens in a Changing World’ at the Cambridge Festival 2023. Read more about the Cambridge Festival 2023


Poems about Malaria research and the scientific life

Catherine Merrick (Pathology) studies malaria parasites using molecular-biology experiments and also features of the genomes of these parasites from malaria-endemic areas. For the Creative Encounter project she wrote poems reflecting on two aspects of her scientific work: firstly, what is the reality of studying malaria; secondly, what is life like, more generally, for an academic scientist – what makes a scientist tick. She presented her work at the Cambridge Festival 2022. Read more

Engagement to make Indian farming more sustainable

The TIGR2ESS project led by Howard Griffiths (Plant Sciences) is a collaborative research programme working to find sustainable ways forward for Indian agriculture through engagement with rural communities, female empowerment, academic changes and policy translation. It has shaped policy to support more than 2 million farmers to access markets in Punjab and saved 58 billion litres of water through more efficient irrigation practices. The project received one of the 2021 Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Research Impact and EngagementRead more


Successfully embedding public engagement into an academic career

Ewan St. John Smith (Pharmacology) combines academic research with public engagement. He took part in Cambridge Shorts, producing the award-wining Pain in the Machine film with DragonLightFilms. He gives regular talks, such as the Naked Mole Ravolt at the Cambridge Festival, in schools, pubs, radio and TV. His movie Gut Reaction provided a successful platform to raise awareness of living with bowel disease as well as help tackle taboo topics. Read more



















Find out more about regular events and activities for the public across the Cambridge University Museums and Botanic Garden

Support Initiatives

Researchers, students and professional staff across the School have access to a large portfolio of transferable skills training and are supported by the School Public Engagement Manager, Departmental-based professionals and the University Public Engagement team.


Training for Public engagement: Engaged Researcher

The main training portfolio ‘Engaged Researcher’ covers all areas of Public Engagement with research by combining expert led practical workshops and taught sessions. The sessions provide the support needed to organise, develop, deliver, communicate, publish, and evaluate Public Engagement activities, through creative tools from storytelling, films, podcast, illustration, animations to games.


Developing Creative Engagement Projects: Creative Encounters

The Creative Encounters programme provides opportunities and funding for projects to work with creative professionals and students through a variety of media including film, photography, theatre and poetry to produce creative responses to their research. Out-comes from these projects will be promoted at the Cambridge Festivals and other platforms.


The Cambridge Festival

The Cambridge Festival is a mixture of on online, on-demand and in-person events covering all aspects of the world-leading research happening at Cambridge. There are strong and distinct platforms for the sciences and the arts, humanities and social sciences: from panel discussions, film premieres, and self-guided walking tours, to ‘try this at home’ activities for the whole family. For researchers the festival offers a great community experience to engage with the public and test their translational storytelling and pitching skills.


More details about other support initiatives can be found on the University's Public Engagement website.