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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T028718/1
Title: Exploring creativity and creative thinking as an effective tool in STEM public engagement
Principal Investigator: Dougan, Professor L
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 August 2020 Ends: 31 May 2024 Value (£): 126,018
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Complex fluids & soft solids
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
05 Dec 2019 Engineering Engagement Champions Pilot Expert Panel 5 and 6 Dec 2019 Announced
17 Feb 2020 Engineering Engagement Champions Pilot Interview Panel 17 and 18 February 2020 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
In 2014 the Institute of Mechanical Engineers reported on the personalisation of engineering education. The study showed that young people divide themselves broadly into five categories (termed 'Tribes'), determined by their values and beliefs, their attitudes to school, family and work, as well as their reactions to STEM as a subject and as a potential career. The report raised important questions about whether we should replace the current 'be like me' engagement approach with programmes that take difference into account, and provided specific recommendations for bespoke engagement strategies for each Tribe. The 'Creativity in Education' report published in October 2019 by the Durham Commission, a joint research collaboration between Durham University and Arts Council England, examined the role of creativity and creative thinking in the education of young people. The report recommended that embracing creativity in education has the potential to retain the creative talents and innovative abilities of many young people who do not fit the obvious STEM archetype.

I will co-create public engagement (PE) activities which embrace creativity and creative thinking to allow young people and families to explore and discover innovation in biomaterial design. Using the Bragg Centre for Materials Research at the University of Leeds as a platform, I will build a culture of creative PE and develop a framework to embed creative-led PE within research. This will be achieved through development and evaluation of my creative PE activities, as all training and support of two cohorts of PE ambassadors, leading to impactful methods of engaging diverse members of the public throughout the research cycle. A culture of inclusion, respect and equality of opportunity for all, including students, staff and the public, will be central to all activities. Longer term and informed by this work, I will influence physical scientists and engineers through the national Royce Institute to realise the wider impact of this novel approach.
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk