School students taking part in a solar cell workshop

School students take part in a solar cell workshop designed by graduate students on the course

Graduate journeys in public engagement

The Department of Physics officially launched its graduate course in public engagement with research in October 2020 after a successful pilot with the Condensed Matter Physics sub-department. The course has now provided around 100 graduate students from across the Department of Physics with a chance to hone a variety of valuable skills through the development and delivery of their own engagement activity for a non-specialist audience. The graduate students spend 12 hours on their project, supported by a mentor, and they are encouraged to reflect on what they have learnt and share their insights with their peers.

Sian Tedaldi, Outreach Programmes Manager in the Department of Physics and course leader, comments: ‘We saw an impressive range of projects this year including a science show, lab tour, citizen science project, podcast, hands-on workshop and demonstration, stand-up comedy show and a social media take-over. It is exciting to see how the ideas develop and hear about the skills and insights that the students gain from taking part.
‘It doesn't matter how much or how little experience in public engagement the students have; for those who have less experience, they might focus on developing a short talk for sixth formers, while others may try something more ambitious, like writing and performing a song about their research.’

To conclude the course, a previous year’s cohort of students presented their projects. They shared their insights, which included that it was important to get to know your audience, practice a coherent story and make links to the participants' daily lives.

The course is designed to allow students the opportunity to focus on an idea and develop their practice. Sian reflects: ‘We hope these core skills in communication and project management will be useful for the students in the future, either within their research career or when applying for jobs outside of academia.’ 

The course will run again this year, starting this month, and if you are a graduate student who is interested in taking part, please contact

'Thank you very much for being my supervisor and guiding me through PER course. PER course is an unforgettable experience in my PhD study'

Graduate student on the PER course ​