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Research Communication Workshop - Skills for Engaging School Students

Course Description

This course supports UCL research students in developing skills and insights into engaging school students with your research. You will gain an understanding of educational disadvantage in the UK and the widening participation agenda, and will learn how to present your subject in an effective, engaging manner appropriate to different age groups. During the later part of the session you will be provided with support and feedback whilst working up your own ‘taster lecture’ idea, based on your research area and aimed at a specific age group. Participants will also be directed towards teaching opportunities with the UCL Widening Participation team and with other UCL departments and external organisations, so that you can put your new skills into practice.

The session will include:

  • The context of the secondary school education system and university admissions in the UK, including educational disadvantage and UCL’s widening participation efforts 
  • Teaching skills for working with children and teenagers, including practical exercises and discussions 
  • Key practices and policies for example child protection and UCL’s code of behaviour 
  • Plenty of opportunity for feedback and discussion

You will also get the most out of the session if you consider the following questions in advance:

  • Why are you interested in engaging with school students; what do you hope to achieve? 
  • What concerns do you have about engaging school students with your research?
  • What aspects of your research do you feel might be of particular interest to school students? 
  • Are there particular age groups or types of students/schools that you are especially interested in engaging?

This course will be led by Karen Bultitude, Alison Home and Lisa Schappert.

Alison Home, Senior Access Officer, UCL Widening Participation and UK Undergraduate Recruitment team, 

Alison has worked in the UCL Widening Participation team for five years, setting up long-term academic support programmes for secondary school students in a diverse range of subject disciplines. She has extensive experience of delivering taught sessions to secondary school groups of all ages, and of training undergraduates and postgraduates to work with teenagers and children.

Lisa Schappert, Student Recruitment and Transition Manager, 

Lisa has worked in the UCL Widening Participation and UK Undergraduate Recruitment team for 10 years. Lisa has experience of organising and running summer schools, masterclasses, teachers’ conferences and recruiting and training Student Ambassadors. Lisa has worked with numerous schools and colleges and is familiar with the challenges and successful collaborative working. Lisa’s team’s work focuses on increasing applications to UCL from widening participation groups, recruitment to subjects with low numbers of widening participation students, ensuring high numbers of project participants apply to UCL and pre-transition support.

Karen Bultitude 

Karen is a Senior Lecturer in Science Communication and Director of Research (STS) in the Department of Science and Technology Studies. Her expertise focuses on how best to engage non-experts with research, especially in the areas of live (face-to-face) and digital environments. Recent relevant and forthcoming publications have included perspectives on using ‘open science’ as a form of public engagement, an investigation of science blogging practices and motivations, and an invited review of web-based communication channels for communicating research findings.



Approximately two weeks prior to the course you will receive an email with full details of the preparation requirements. You will be asked to bring along details of an example activity that engages school students with academic research that you feel particularly strongly about (you can like it or hate it!). If you aren't very familiar with previous projects that is ABSOLUTELY FINE! No assumptions of previous knowledge/familiarity will be made within this course. However please take some time to look online for potential projects – the links provided in the ‘Further web resources’ section for this course might help in this regard.

This course is part of the Public Engagement training offered as part of the Doctoral Skills Development Programme. For full details and to register on other workshops, please visit the course website.

STS PEchart

View the chart or download printable version

Researcher Development Framework Categories

D2) Communication and dissemination
D3) Engagement and impact

Course Recommended for

This course is particularly relevant to the following groups:

  • 1st Year Research Students
  • 2nd Year Research Students
  • 3rd Year Research Students
  • 4th Year Research Students
  • Students in Arts & Humanities
  • Students in Laws
  • Students in Social & Historical Sciences
  • Students in Built Environment
  • Students in Mathematical & Physical Sciences
  • Students in Engineering Sciences

Course Organisers

  • Course Tutor - Dr Karen Bultitude - (Science & Technology Studies)
  • Administrator - Ms Kasia Bronk - (Organisational Development)

Further Web Resources


Registration information will be available in due course.

Page last updated: 23rd April 2015