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CDT in Science and Applications of Graphene and Related Nanomaterials (Graphene NOWNANO CDT)

Various stands at Science X 2017

Public engagement

Throughout our programme, we aim to promote science and raise awareness of the breadth of graphene-related research to people of all ages.

Through participation and demonstration at science festivals, masterclasses, school visits, industrial placements and social media campaigns we aim to spread the word and inspire the next generation of graphene and 2D materials scientists.

Outreach is an essential aspect of being a researcher, both at the PhD level and beyond. Taking part in outreach and engaging with the general public also helps our students to develop essential communication and presentation skills by showcasing their complex research topics in a more approachable and understandable way to a non-scientific audience.

All our students participate in at least one outreach activity every year. They also help develop supporting materials such as posters, booklets and hands-on demonstrations. We’re always looking for fresh ideas and new ways to promote science as an exciting and rewarding career.

See below for more details of just some of the activities the CDT is involved in .

Our activities

Bluedot Festival

Bluedot Festival at Jodrell Bank provides a great platform for us to inspire and share the latest graphene discoveries. Held in the presence of The Lovell Telescope, the festival is a combined celebration of music, arts, technology, culture and science featuring talks and hands-on science demos from leading researchers alongside the more typical festival activities.

As part of the festival students ran the “Discover Graphene” stand in the hands-on science exhibition, enthralling festival-goers with a series of graphene-related demos. For three days students were faced an unending stream of people who arrived at the Graphene Gazebo curious and, without exception, left with knowledge and the skills to make graphene thanks to the hands-on exhibit "Make your own graphene".

British Science Week

Graphene NOWNANO hold a regular stand during the nationwide British Science Week at the annual event in the Sackville Street Building, as well as hosting the Nano Masterclass.

We're regularly visited by over 1,000 attendees, school pupils and teachers alike, who learn about the wonderful world of 2D materials and make their very own graphene!

Seb, a volunteer at the 2017 event, said, "It was great to talk to so many inquisitive students and teachers during British Science week and introduce them to the wonderful world of 2D materials. Events like these can help inspire the next generation of scientists."

Nano Masterclass

The annual Nano Masterclass is designed specifically for sixth form students and their teachers and run at The University of Manchester by practising researchers from our Graphene NOWNANO CDT.

This event is primarily intended for those students taking modules which include physics and chemistry at 'A' or 'AS' level, but is also open to any physics student or teacher interested in studying or teaching the subject.

School visits

We have a programme of visits to secondary schools, where our students lead hands-on activities explaining the science of graphene and other nanomaterials to groups of GCSE and A-level students.

These visits are very popular and we are getting regular requests from schools across Greater Manchester to present and explain our research.

Science Spectacular

Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Hall hosts the Science Spectacular as part of the Manchester Science Festival. We had over 1500 visitors, with lots of interest in our interactive graphene stand.

Conor, one of our students hosting the stand, said: "The enthusiasm and energy that the children brought to the event blew me away! While I wasn't always sure what level of detail suited each person that came to the stand, by engaging with more and more people, and listening to the experienced students, I grew in confidence as the day passed. I look forward to the next outreach event already."

Science X

Graphene NOWNANO takes part in the annual Science X event at the Trafford Centre, spreading the word of nanoscience to the general public.

Wejun, one of our students, said, "I really enjoyed the activity and learned a lot in terms of communicating with children and how to introduce your research to the general public in a more understandable way."