Projects in the Science Communication Unit

Current and past projects from the Science Communication Unit.

Staff in the Science Communication Unit include both practitioners and researchers. We run a number of science communication projects directly from the Unit, and are partners on many more. Our team are active in researching and evaluating science communication practice and public engagement.

Our research links to the UWE Bristol Strategy 2030: Transforming Futures research beacons:

  • Digital Futures
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Sustainability and Climate Change Resilience
  • Creative industries and Digital Technologies.

Current projects

Find out about a selection of our ongoing research and communication projects.

Science, technology and engineering

Exploring and facilitating relationships between natural science, technology, engineering and society.

ASPIRE - Accelerated Supergene Processes in Repository Engineering

ASPIRE aims at developing a sustainable method by which industrial and/or mineral-rich wastes can be stripped of any valuable elements.

Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI)

UWE Bristol is leading the Skills Development programme for DETI, a new initiative investing in the future of digital engineering for the West of England.

INSIGHT: Ethical best practice in science communication and engagement

This project aims to identify how researchers and practitioners, communicating and engaging about science and health-related topics, consider the ethical dimensions of their communication.

Making And Knowledge Exchange for Repair & Sustainability (MAKERS)

Providing a space for diverse engineering students to develop their own projects, through peer support and informal mentoring, that align with their identities and interests.

RoboTIPS Responsible Robots for the Digital Economy

RoboTIPS focuses on social robots with the intention to transform these robots to become more responsible technologies.

Virtual Natural History Museum

A novel engagement project that aims to consolidate palaeontological multimedia into a single educational resource, the SCU is evaluating the museum prototype to inform its future development for use in schools.

Women Like Me

A peer mentoring and outreach project pairing senior women engineers with junior women engineers to undertake engineering education outreach in schools and at public events in the Bristol and Bath area. 

Health and wellbeing

Examining the ways that communication plays a role in health and wellbeing.

Food Waste Reduction by Stealth

This project aims to develop food waste reduction campaigns that as well as reducing the volume of household food waste also enables them to save money and ensure a healthy diet.

Voices beyond the pandemic: Children's worlds, hopes and ambitions in a significantly rural county

Bringing together expertise across primary education, public engagement, science communication, environmental science and engagement, child health, geography and anthropology.

Sustainability and the environment

Studying and enabling communication in areas related to sustainability and the environment:


A project centred around co-creating new knowledge through the ‘eyes and ears’ of children, teachers and other supporters of learning on how they situate and make sense of their lives in relation to climate complexity. 

Climate Action Hub

The Climate Action Hub brings together students and researchers with communities for climate action.

Climate education and entrepreneurship

A collaboration project between SCU and UWE Bristol’s Team Entrepreneurship that aims to work with young people to develop entrepreneurial competencies and communication skills for climate action.


A two year (2021-2023) innovative citizen science project looking at the presence of airborne microplastics in people's homes.

Inspire Sustainability

A year-long programme that aims to inspire and motivate young people in the West of England to pursue green career pathways.

Investing in the future of science: UK environmental science engagement

Investigating engagement of UK school-aged children with environmental science, both pre- and post the COVID-19 pandemic.

Science for Environment Policy (SfEP)

A free news alert service, run by SCU, on behalf of the DG Environment of the European Commission, delivers weekly by e-mail to subscribers who receive the alerts.

Social science and art

Investigating public engagement and research in the social sciences and arts.

Exploring ways to change food waste behaviour in family households with children in the UK

Each person in the UK throws away more than their body weight in food each year and food waste is particularly high in family households – this project explores why that is and how we can change that.

INSIGHT: Ethical best practice in science communication and engagement

This project aims to identify how researchers and practitioners, communicating and engaging about science and health-related topics, consider the ethical dimensions of their communication.

Internationalising science journalism education

A new initiative to develop our science communication curricula.

Informal and formal learning

Research and practical projects that link science communication and education.

Accessing natural history collections

Exploring the current availability of UK geological museum collections to schools.

Exploring inclusive assessment practices through the eyes of neurodivergent students

A pedagogical project which aims to amplify the voices of neurodivergent students in relation to lived experiences of Higher Education assessment practices.

Natural hazards in children's media

Exploring representation of natural hazards in children's media

Plant diversity communication

Understand how plant diversity communication is performed, both from the institutions’ perspective and communicators’ angle.

Science Hunters

An outreach collaboration project between SCU and Lancaster University, which uses the computer game Minecraft to engage children with science.

Science Hunters: Engineering for sustainable societies

Helping children from under-represented backgrounds discover the many facets of engineering involved in sustainable development via Minecraft.

Past projects

Our projects are organised under five themes, though they may bridge more than one category.

Science, technology and engineering

Exploring and facilitating relationships between natural science, technology, engineering and society.

Driverless Futures?

A collaboration between University College London and UWE Bristol, funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council.  

EU Parliament: Ethical concerns and moral issues in artificial intelligence

SCU produced a report for the EU Parliament on the key ethical issues and challenges associated with artificial intelligence (AI), including robots.


An EU-funded outdoor robotics competition, in which teams from around the world were invited to test the intelligence and autonomy of their robots in realistic, demanding mock emergency-response scenarios.

Heart Robot

An engagement project which brought together creative, artistic and engineering skills to develop a semi-autonomous robot puppet.

Robotic Visions

A project aimed to provide a unique platform for two-way discussion and debate between young people and robotics researchers.

Robot Thought

An interactive dialogue event designed to stimulate the audience to think about and discuss advances in robotics.

Robots vs Animals

A Royal Academy of Engineering project where engineers collaborated with zoologists to showcase how humans have learned from the ingenuity of nature.

Royal Astronomical Society RAS200: evaluation of outreach and engagement

The evaluation of outreach and engagement activities, as part of the 200-year anniversary celebration of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2020, as part of a team led by Jenesys Associates.

SciRoc - European Robotics League

A novel common framework for two indoor robotics competitions, ERL Industrial Robots and ERL Service Robots, and one outdoor robotics competition, ERL Emergency Robots.

Talking Robots

Robotics encompassed a broad range of academic disciplines including engineering, biology, neuroscience, psychology and artificial intelligence.

Verifiable autonomy

An EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) funded project concerned with building autonomous systems that are verifiably correct.

Health and wellbeing

Examining the ways that communication plays a role in health and wellbeing.

Bristol Ageing Better

Bristol Ageing Better (BAB) was a partnership working to reduce social isolation and loneliness among older people in the city and help them live fulfilling lives. 

Developing web-based support for parents of young people who self-harm

A project which developed and evaluated the feasibility of a web-based intervention to support parents of children who self-harm.

Exploring the molecular basis of diabetes with Minecraft

This collaboration between UWE Bristol, Lancaster University, University of Hull and University of Aberdeen is funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry to explore the use of the computer game Minecraft in engaging children with learning about diabetes.

Food for Life

Evaluation of the Food for Life programme; a trans-national advocacy coalition on food, public health and sustainability in school and youth settings.

Food Growing Schools

Evaluation of the Food Growing Schools London programme which sought to develop food growing in schools across London as a means of reconnecting communities with food, health and the environment.

Maximising COVID-19 vaccination uptake in a diverse population

A collaboration with the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Healthier Together Partnership Vaccination Programme to support maximising COVID-19 vaccination uptake in a diverse population.

Meet the Gene Machine

A dialogue event designed to stimulate debate into the personal, social and ethical issues of advances in medical genetics.

Our City Our Health

A Wellcome-funded public engagement project, working with UK artists and Bristol-based community organisations to creatively engage city citizens on issues around healthy urban development.

PArental Wellbeing and Support for parents of young people with mental health problems (PAWS)

A Special Interest Research Group, funded by the UKRI-supported Emerging Minds network, on The PArental Wellbeing and Support for parents of young people with mental health problems (PAWS). 

Pro- and anti-vaccine advocacy on Twitter: An analysis of networks and discourses

A research project which explored the visual discourse of pro- and anti-vaccine images used for advocacy on Twitter, and investigated the networks that shared these pictures.

Scientific literacy in Nigeria: Boosting science communication and journalism

A three-year project, in which SCU collaborated with TReND (Teaching and Research in Natural Sciences for Development) in Africa and University of Sussex to evaluate the short- and longer-term impacts of an intensive, multi-day training programme for journalists and scientists in Nigeria.

Talking life, talking death: A pilot study of post COVID-19 perceptions of death and dying in the context of citizen and community science

A project, funded by UWE Bristol and in collaboration with Dorothy House Hospice, Bath, that sought to examine some of the conversations about death and dying brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the role for public engagement and citizen science in such contexts. 


A project to deliver healthy planning principles in the Wellcome Trust project 'Moving health and sustainability upstream into strategic urban development decision-making'.

Sustainability and the environment

Studying and enabling communication in areas related to sustainability and the environment.

About Drought

NERC-funded project designed to maximise the impact of UK research on drought and water scarcity.


An innovative project, funded by the European Union, that involved thousands of people in cities across Europe, which enabled us all to decide the best local options for a future with clean air and lower carbon emissions. 

DRY – Drought Risk and You

An innovative drought science-narrative resource that can be used in decision-making for drought risk management.

Emerging environmental issues: FORENV report on new technologies in the urban environment

 report for the EuAropean Commission Directorate-General Environment on new technologies in the urban environment.

INSPIRE: In-situ processes in resource extraction from waste repositories

A project that brought together a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Cardiff University, Warwick University and UWE Bristol.

Interpreting landscape change in the Avalon Marshes

This project sought to inspire young people to explore the scientific underpinning of climate change, as well as the societal issues that shape their landscape, and the ways that partnerships between different stakeholder groups can help to meet and support social needs.

WeCount – Citizen Observations of UrbaN Transport

A two year project (2019-2021) working directly with citizens in five countries across Europe. The Science Communication Unit led the Monitoring and Evaluation Work Package on behalf of the project. 

Social science and art

Investigating public engagement in the social sciences and arts.


Careful explored the potential of drama to help student nurses explore and reflect on their roles as carers.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science scoping study

A small study of the ESRC Festival of Social Science from 2006 to 2011 which reviewed the successes and the benefits over time, as well as developing learning points for future events.

Negotiated Boundaries

A British Academy Small Research grant funded this project which was carried out within the Science Communication Unit.


A project that aimed to provide support to re-examine and re-orientate science communication across Europe.


The SCOOP project sought to support the efforts of the research community in the social sciences to reach policy makers.

Unkindest Cut

Researchers evaluated an interdisciplinary science and arts project which explored the theme of young people’s mental health. The Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England-funded project toured science festivals in the UK in 2018 and 2019.

VIP-CLEAR - Voices in a pandemic: Children's lockdown experiences applied to recovery

A UKRI-funded project to study how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the learning, development, health and wellbeing of vulnerable, socially disadvantaged children in England.

Informal and formal learning

Research and practical projects that link science communication and education.

Building to Break Barriers

An outreach project that aims to engage children from under-represented groups with engineering, using the computer game, Minecraft, that allows players to build limitless, imaginative creations.

Children as Engineers - paired peer mentors in primary schools

An undergraduate module has been developed to provide student engineers opportunities to practice their public engagement skills with pre-service teachers and primary school children.

Early Career Researcher Training: Western Balkans

A bespoke training programme for early career researchers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The project is funded by the British Council.

Epic Fail

Funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Arts Council UK, Epic Fail was a performance lecture made with, by and for young people and their families.

Evaluation of Connected Communities Public Dialogue Activity

Connected Communities was a cross-council Research Programme led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Evaluation of the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures

This evaluation aimed to assess what makes the Christmas Lectures successful.

Evaluation of the Royal Society Education Outreach Training Course

This evaluation assessed the impact and influence of a pilot training course in education outreach.

Evidence for Informal Science Learning

Commissioned by the Wellcome Trust, the Science Communication Unit carried out research in 2013 to identify evidence on informal learning in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

Generic Venues in Science Communication

This in-depth public engagement research project involved a thorough investigation of best practice in science communication within generic venues.

Horticulture Advocates Programme (HAP)

Led by Eden Project Learning, this project inspired students to explore exciting Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) opportunities in the horticultural industry.

Impact of festivals on community engagement with research

A project that investigated UWE Bristol’s role in festival engagement, to understand how the activities that take place within a festival setting can generate ‘social capital’.

Invisible worlds

David Judge's PhD used an action research approach to follow the development of the Eden Project’s latest exhibition, Invisible Worlds.

Latitude Festival Evaluation 2014

An evaluation of a strand of activities sponsored by the Wellcome Trust at the 2014 Latitude Festival.

Learning from engagement

Laura Fogg-Rogers’ DPhil aimed to explore preferences for, and cultures of, science communication at live science events.

Public Engagement Map

Research that produced a public engagement map.

Sci Comm South West 2019

The first ever Sci Comm South West conference offered an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the science communication expertise in the South West of England and reflect on the challenges we face.

Science Comics

A comic strip written by Emma Weitkamp to engage key stage 2 primary school children with science.

Science festival network evaluation

The Festival of Nature, British Science Week and Bristol Food Connections were just some of the popular science events that engaged hundreds of thousands of members of the UK population each year. This evaluation looked at why audiences attended and how festivals evaluated their impact.

Science Live

This landscape study researched the similarities and differences between the huge varieties of live science events.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) Directories Gap Analysis

This research focused on the data contained within the UK-wide STEM Directories to identify gaps and overlaps in provision.


A school focused outreach programme of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)-related activities.

Project partners

We are pleased to acknowledge our project partners support of our work and look forward to continuing many long term relationships.

We have been involved in science communication practice and research since 1997 and work with a diverse range of funders and project partners ranging from research councils to charities.

  • Royal academy of engineering
  • Bristol natural history consortium
  • We the curious
  • Eden project
  • Bristol Zoo Gardens logo
  • Research councils
  • Wellcome
  • Bristol Robotics Laboratory logo

Science Communication Unit

The SCU is internationally renowned for its diverse and innovative activities, designed to engage the public with science.


Research centres and groups

Browse UWE Bristol's portfolio of research areas, expertise, staff and publications.

You may also be interested in