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Secondary school children in a classroom using an ipad.

We inform the public about cutting edge scientific research, provide resources for teachers and inspire young people to develop an interest in science.

Public engagement is of key importance and we run many successful and substantial outreach programmes, coordinated by the School’s Head of Public Engagement, Dr Chris North.

'Outreach' refers to the efforts by scientists to reach out to the general public, to share the revelations of cutting-edge research, provide valuable educational materials for teachers, and to inspire the young scientists of tomorrow.

Outreach programmes

Universe in the Classroom

The 2014 Universe in the Classroom project involved improving teaching methods and providing innovative tools to modernise and enhance the way STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are taught to young children. It targeted schools less likely to engage with science education, specifically those with more students in poverty, and lower educational attainment, and has been predicted to reach 60,000 children over a decade.

The project involved training of undergraduate and postgraduate students as Stellar Role Models (STARS), able to attend Welsh primary schools and communities with our 0.4-m robotic telescope, sparking curiosity about the Universe in young children.

Large-scale outreach activities

We run a number of large-scale outreach activities (including the Physics Mentoring Project, UniverseLab, and Our Space Our Future) which have attracted over £1.5M in funding since 2016 and involve staff and students from Cardiff and other universities reaching out to the general public and school students across the UK.

Other public engagement activities include physics and astronomy presentations to school groups, participation in scientific fairs and festivals, and our series of inspiring outreach seminars given to the public by prestigious scientists, including 2017 Physics Nobel laureate Kip Thorne.

Our staff have made numerous appearances in high-profile mainstream media outlets including The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Guardian, BBC News, BBC Wales News, and Sky News on gravitational waves, astronomy (e.g., the potential discovery of phosphine on Venus), cosmology and diamond research.

Opportunities for students to engage in outreach

Undergraduate and postgraduate students are encouraged to share their passion and enthusiasm for science and to develop skills in public engagement and outreach.

Studying with us provides a valuable opportunity to develop the skills required to meet your career choices, whether you are interested in teaching, entrepreneurship, or research. This might include giving public talks, developing educational resources for teachers, working with schools, or seeking public input into research.

Through our Cardiff Award Scheme, we recognise extra-curricular activities and focus on students’ professional development.

STEM ambassadors

As a STEM ambassador, our students can inspire young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). As part of this scheme, you will join a national network of like-minded communicators in which you can easily find out about outreach and careers events held near you and thrive in this area.

Open Days and other events

Encouraging our students to volunteer with Open Days provides the opportunity to talk to the public about science and inspire young people to learn more about physics and astronomy.

We also offer our students the chance to take part in scientific fairs and festivals, including Big Bang UK, Big Bang Cymru, Cheltenham Science Festival, the Eisteddfod, and the Cardiff Science Festival, as well as taking to the streets with our innovative 'Science Busking' programme.

There are often paid opportunities to help assist in A level or GCSE revision classes in physics.

Forging important links with industry

Our impact on economics and wider society has been achieved through applying our research to industrial settings to enhance and improve their practices, and by forging commercial partnerships to deliver innovation and improvement. Over 20% of our academic staff now act as consultants to industry.

The Institute for Compound Semiconductors, is one of these such collaborations, which is delivering progressive ideas to manufacturing, as well as helping to create employment opportunities and grow the industry and local economy.

Contact us

Dr Chris North

Dr Chris North

Senior Lecturer
Director of Recruitment and Admissions
Head of Public Engagement

+44 (0)29 2087 0537