Courses and training at the Science Communication Unit (SCU)
We offer a wide range of postgraduate and professional courses, and postgraduate research opportunities.
Our academic team supervise a range of PhDs in Science Communication. At present, we are interested in PhD proposals that relate to the following themes:
- Science communication through digital and social media
- Science engagement in informal spaces
- How we measure the impact of science outreach activities
- Science in the media (including film, news and online representations)
- Inclusivity in science communication
- The field of science communication – what is being studied, and by whom?
- Understanding affected groups and interested parties to communicate and engage about science effectively
- How science communication can influence sustainability (pro-environmental) behaviour change
- The role of third order engagement (participatory science communication) in influencing science project co-development
- Community co-development for science engagement in informal peer learning, particularly related to climate action.
We welcome students who can put forward a research proposal on a self-funding basis, or with funding from external organisations, for example, employers, government scholarships. For information and how to apply, please see our postgraduate research study pages or contact Dr Emma Weitkamp and Dr Clare Wilkinson for further details.
We host students who have an interest in science communication and/or public engagement, who would benefit from spending between three to six months working with our unit.
For further information please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). This should provide a brief outline of your PhD, why you would like to spend a period of time working with the Science Communication Unit, the university you are based at and the expected dates of your visit.
Read more about our PhD sabbaticals below:
Aline Bastos (PhD student), Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil
Visited January 2019.
"During my visit to the Science Communication Unit, I was made to feel very welcome and was encouraged to participate actively in classes, events and meetings. I found it an exciting environment in which to discuss Science Communication practices in its different forms: journalism, TV, internet, social media, exhibitions, publications, political issues, public engagement etc. In the same way, the theoretical approaches are tackled in depth with supervisors, at MSc student seminars and PhD student meetings."
"UWE Bristol has an excellent and modern infrastructure at the Frenchay Campus, stimulating a vibrant community via which students of all levels can be engaged. Moreover, Bristol is a lively city in the south west with plenty of cafes, museums, galleries and restaurants. During my sabbatical period at UWE Bristol, I was able to make great improvements on my ongoing PhD research. I am very grateful for this opportunity, and I hope to keep in touch with the staff and students continuing to share knowledge and enthusiasm in future partnerships for Science Communication."
Kaisu Innanen (PhD student), University of Oulu, Finland
Visited January 2019.
"As the UK is the leading nation for science communication and impact research, UWE Bristol’s Science Communication Unit is in the heart of international developments in this field. Their reputation for the supportiveness and excellence of the research environment had reached me through the international PCST network, and proved to be correct and during and beyond my semester long stay.
The clue to this excellence is the active, respectful, and yet easy-going interaction that enables intelligent and inspiring academic discussions within the unit. As the field is dispersed in many countries, PhD students often study in solitude, so visiting the SCU truly gives confidence and perception on one’s own research amongst the interdisciplinarities of the field. The frequent research meetings, discussions, courses and conferences consolidate one’s expertise. The outstanding network of experts in other UK universities is opened for the newbie. Informal, collegial activities such as the busy Bristol Science Communicators scene, qualitative inquiry group, and lunches with the staff and PhD students from different countries, strongly support the PhD life and diversify one’s reflection on current developments. Visiting the SCU, one has a superb opportunity to build up competencies, and take home international level insights."
Pamela Pergolini, University of Perugia, Italy
Visited March 2018.
“I’m an Italian journalist completing the third year of my PhD in Science Communication at the University of Perugia. For my research project, I was looking for a consolidated and authoritative reference in the field of science communication research and the SCU at UWE Bristol, whose work I have been following for several years, is without a doubt a point of reference in Europe for research in Science Communication. The short time I spent with the SCU offered me the opportunity to make a truly interdisciplinary experience and to create a network of people that are working on science communication, which was very useful to me since my research project straddles science communication, science outreach, physics and social science. I found everyone very helpful and generous in devoting their time to having a coffee or tea, to talking with me.”
Gabriela Ojeda Romano (PhD student), Universidade da Coruña, Spain
Visited December 2017.
“During my visiting period at the Science Communication Unit (SCU) within my PhD studies, the strong commitment of the entire unit to my stay was the first thing I was surprised by. They gave me constant support in all the aspects of my research which allowed me to carry it out successfully. However, the visit wasn’t limited to the study’s tasks; there were a wide range of activities that have complemented my professional development too. For instance, the SCU generously offered me the possibility to sit in their master’s degree in Science Communication and, by the end, I had completed around 70 hours of training."
"Furthermore, I was considered a member of the unit since the very first day, being invited to attend to the SCU meetings and many others events which gave me the opportunity to take part in exciting discussions and share knowledge and ideas with other colleagues. In short, the stay not only has been an incredible personal experience, but also has enlarged my professional network and has introduced me to the UK public engagement community increasing my future career opportunities.”
Building Blocks training sessions
Watch our short video to find out more about the variety of sessions we offer.
The Science Communication Unit (SCU) produces helpful resources for researchers producing public engagement.
The resources draw on the expertise of Dr Laura Fogg Rogers, Dr Corra Boushel and Sophie Laggan who work with researchers in the College of Arts, Technology and Environment, and Dr Laura Hobbs who works with researchers in the College of Health, Science and Society, and their experience of doing events for projects.
- Engagement through Minecraft: A guide for practitioners (PDF) - a guide for engagement practitioners on the available editions of Minecraft has been developed through Science Hunters. This guide was produced in 2021 as part of the Building to Break Barriers project, supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering under the Ingenious Awards scheme (please note that the information contained within this document is subject to change and should be confirmed by users, and does not constitute recommendations).
- Event Activity guide (PDF)
- Event Public Engagement guide (PDF)
- Moving the conversation online (PDF)
- Engaging younger children with STEM practitioner guide (PDF)
- Making STEM for everyone practitioner guide (PDF)
- Moving the conversation online (PDF)
- Public Engagement at Events lecture - recorded at a training session for engineers, sponsored by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
You may also be interested in
Members of the Science Communication Unit (SCU)
Members of our Science Communication Unit including academic and research staff.
Projects in the Science Communication Unit
Current and past projects from the Science Communication Unit.