Category Archives: Winner Reports

What Russell Arnott did with his prize money…

Russell was voted the winner of the Rutherfordium Zone in March 2019. Here he writes about how he used his £500 prize money to reach further afield and meet new people to talk to about his research.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


Having won the I’m A Scientist prize money back in March, my original intention was to visit a number of local schools and give a fun, interactive presentation about my plankton research to different age groups (having done similar talks at Cheltenham Science Festival, it’s actually better than it sounds!).

Being based at the University of Bath for several years now, I had already visited a number of schools around the area so was looking to branch out and visit some areas/communities that I hadn’t been to before. I took the opportunity to visit Usk CiW Primary School in Monmouthshire, Wales and also headed up to Heswall Primary School in the Wirral, Liverpool.

In recent months, I had noticed a very distinct lack of diversity within the marine science and conservation fields. As such, I felt it was important to start reaching out to over-looked communities on my doorstep. Living in East Bristol, I was keen to give something back to my own community so myself, Zaharatu Babika (also a researcher at Bath) and her daughter Sumi attended the Somali Women’s Group annual community picnic in St Anne’s, Bristol.

The marine education organisation, Incredible Oceans, kindly lent me their life-size inflatable orca for the event which acted as a fantastic focal point about which to start a conversation about plankton and plastic pollution. Building upon this, I also exhibited at the Africa Oyé music festival in Liverpool where I presented alongside others from Incredible Oceans, DEFRA and Natural England.

Keen for the prize money to have some “legacy”, I also wanted to invest in some equipment that I wouldn’t ordinarily have been able to afford. I often give talks about the deep ocean and I found that the concept of pressure is a difficult one for many people to grasp. Looking for a fun & effective way to help audiences visualise the power of pressure, I opted for a set of Magdeburg Hemisphere; a 400-year-old physics demonstration to show the strength of the atmospheric pressure.

The demo consists of two hemispheres which are placed together and then evacuated resulting in a vacuum. The hemispheres are held together by atmospheric pressure and then two audience “volunteers” are invited to pull them apart; the original demonstration took 16 horses to separate! Having got in touch with school science equipment suppliers, Phillip Harris, they kindly sent me TWO sets of Magdeburg hemisphere free of charge so all I had to purchase was the vacuum hand-pump!

The spheres were inaugurated at the Cheltenham Science Festival as part of a presentation entitled “Exploring The Deep: Ocean vs Space” which was specially developed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Lunar Landing.

In total, I spent £192 on travel to the two schools I visited, £88 on travel for three people to the Somali Women’s Group annual picnic in Bristol, and ~£200 on a vacuum pump for the Magdeburg Hemispheres demonstration, with remaining funds going towards travel for future talks. Overall, the prize money has helped me reach a much wider range of people than I would have ordinarily been able to, as well as helping me make valuable links with different communities across the UK.

Posted on September 4, 2019 modjen in STFCWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Réka Nagy did with her prize money…

Réka was voted the winner of the Radon Zone in November 2016. Here she writes about using her £500 prize money to develop a card game called ‘Niche: Master of Adaptation’.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


I am a geneticist by day, and a gamer by night. I decided to combine these interests to develop a card game that is fun to play, nice to look at, and sneaks a tiny bit of science in as well. So, ‘Niche: Master of Adaptation’ was born.

I got the inspiration for this game from you, the students, because you often asked me whether humans would ‘evolve’ tails, or whether we would ‘evolve’ other interesting features, like X-ray vision or superpowers.

Through ‘Niche’, I wanted to show that yes, a creature can develop interesting traits, but this takes a long time, and a lot of trial and error. Also, the usefulness of each trait very much depends on the circumstances – a thick fur coat or layers of fat are not going to be of much help in a hot, dry desert, for example. This is exactly what ‘survival of the fittest’ is all about – those who survive are the ones that fit their environment best. And if that environment changes, the creatures that used to thrive may find themselves at quite the disadvantage.

So how did I go about creating the game? Well, it started with blank cards and dry-erase markers.

This was not very pretty. I am terrible at drawing, and nobody was going to draw 64 different illustrations for me for £500. So I got in touch with Gavin Willshaw, who works for The University of Edinburgh’s Library & University Collections. He gave me loads of great tips about obtaining images that I could freely edit, so I transformed old textbook-style drawings into the illustrations you see on the cards in ‘Niche’.

Since I used freely available resources, I thought it fair to also make ‘Niche’ freely available so anyone can download, print of modify it. But you don’t need to print it to play it, since it is available online through Tabletopia (for free!), as well as TableTop Simulator!

Altogether, £10 was spent on blank cards and dry-erase markers for initial playtesting, £40 on drinks and snacks to bribe playtesters and image sourcing advisers, £45 on TableTop Simulator 4 pack for online playtesting and £200 on printing and cutting the prototype cards (4 decks).

I had £200 left over after accomplishing what I had planned, and after speaking to one of my colleagues who organises it, I chose to donate this to Oxford for Romania, a local 100% volunteer-led multidisciplinary summer school (with a large focus on STEM subjects) for underprivileged school children from Romania (where I am from). The summer school courses are taught by professionals in their respective fields, and the topics range from genetics to ethics to data science to robotics to astrophysics, and in addition to these, also teach kids how to carry out debates, how to write CVs, and how to think critically. They have organised very successful summer schools for the past 4 years so I am sure they will put the money to good use!

Posted on September 4, 2019 admin in News, WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Daniel Marsh did with his prize money…

Daniel was voted the winner of the Healthy Cities Zone in June 2018. Here he writes about how he used his £500 prize money to teach school students and members of the public about pollution.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


Following my experience with I’m A Scientist I was keen to do something with the prize money that would directly engage with school children to raise awareness of air pollution and the risks of exposure with an experience in which they could truly visualise it.

One of the questions that I got asked a lot in the healthy cities zone was where the most polluted place in the world was, so it seemed appropriate that I spent my prize money supporting the Michael Pinsky pollution pod installation at MediaCityUK in Manchester as part of Clean Air Week in June 2019. 

Brought to Manchester by Cape Farewell in partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester, the Pollution Pods were made available to school groups and the public throughout Clean Air Week. The artwork installation used harmless, specially created atmospheres in five interconnected geodesic domes to simulate dangerously polluted air quality in cities around the world. 

The unique, interactive experience takes you on a fascinating journey through the pollution and air quality of cities across the world. A series of climatically controlled pods compare five contrasting global environments where the air quality, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide levels of five cities is recreated. Starting with the truly clean air of Tautra in Norway, continuing through the astonishing smog and pollution of London, New Delhi, Beijing and Sao Paolo. 

The event had 185 students (Y4-6) from 6 schools attend on the 21st June who were given the opportunity to experience the air quality in different city pods as well as take part in several educational activities that revolved around air pollution and lung function. 

In total, £164 was spent on travel and accommodation expenses for volunteering at Clean Air Week in Manchester with £236 being spent on materials for the interactive experiments.

Following the 2018 competition I signed up as a STEM ambassador and have been looking for further opportunities to assist schools with their science projects. 

Posted on August 27, 2019 modjen in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Oli Wilson did with his prize money…

Oli was voted the winner of the Neptunium Zone in November 2017. Here he writes about how he used his £500 prize money to create a set of 3D printed pollen grain models to allow people a close-up look at pollen without a microscope.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


Before I started my PhD I was a science teacher. After school finished one day, I sat in my lab and thought about the research I knew I would be starting soon. If I were to come back to my school as a full-on scientist, could I make my work seem interesting to my old students? My science is all about uncovering the past and future of one of Brazil’s coolest forests, and a big part of it involves using fossil pollen as microscopic time machines. Pollen’s amazing stuff, it’s beautiful and unbelievably tough, but it’s hard to enjoy without decent microscopes – something that can be tricky to get in schools.

Then I had a brainwave – could you 3D-print pollen grains? If you could make them larger than life they’d be easier to enjoy and you could do loads of cool stuff with them. A quick google showed that you could, and Kat Holt (a pollen scientist in New Zealand) had done exactly that – hooray! Now I just needed the opportunity…

Fast forward a year or so, and I was taking part in I’m A Scientist’s Neptunium zone. I decided that if I won I’d use the prize money to try and make some 3D pollen – and, after two incredibly fun and busy weeks, I had to start trying to make that a reality. It took a long time and a lot of failing and learning, but with help from a number of different people (including some booster money from the University of Reading) the 3D Pollen Project was born!

I’ve now scanned pollen from 30 different types of plants and made 3D models of most of them – I used the £500 from I’m A Scientist to print my own multicoloured set, which is 2,500x larger than life. They’ve been incredibly useful! I’ve taken them into a primary school to talk about pollination, we used them in a British Science Week event to help explain why plants are smelly, a colleague took them to the pub for a talk about her research on past environments (she said they were the best engagement tool she’d ever had!), and in September I get to show them off to thousands of members of the public at the Berkshire show, where I’ve got a stand in the University’s tent.

But what’s most exciting is how lots of other pollen scientists have got involved. Researchers in Hull, Manchester, Reading, Exeter, Oxford, London, Chicago (USA), Goettingen (Germany) and Bergen (Norway) have sent me more than 200 samples of pollen from all over the world (including Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Morocco, Tanzania, Mongolia, Turkey and much of Europe). The files online have been downloaded almost 1,000 times and the project website has been visited by people from 51 countries. The models have been used by artists, teachers and scientists all over the world for all sorts of reasons – it’s been amazing to watch the project grow, and I’m so excited about what the future holds for it. But none of it would have been possible without I’m A Scientist, the Wellcome Trust (who funded the Neptunium zone), and all the students who voted for me to win the money. Thank you all so much!

You can follow the 3D Pollen Project on Twitter (@3dpollenproject), see the models on Sketchfab, download scans and printable files from MorphoSource, and find more information on the project website (3dpollenproject.wixsite.com/main).

Posted on August 14, 2019 admin in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Oli Wilson did with his prize money…

What Natasha Myhill did with her prize money…

Natasha was voted the winner of the Cells Zone in November 2017. Here she writes about how she used her £500 prize money to attend public engagement events and help train other researchers to get involved.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


Competing in I’m a Scientist was my first experience of public engagement and it got me completely hooked! Since then, I have taken part in over 10 different activities, run training events and presentations about public engagement and lead a committee of public engagement representatives. My experience in the competition really helped to develop my communication skills, as well as the enthusiasm to talk to others about my work.

I used my prize money to take part in as many outreach events as possible, to interact with as many students as I could. First of all, I took the official training to become a STEM Ambassador, giving me access to lots of public engagement opportunities. I then began taking part in lots of events. I got involved in three different outreach days which focussed on women in STEM careers, involving meet-a-scientist STEM careers fairs, where I spoke to lots of women about how I got into research and possible career routes in science.

I have also helped to develop the regenerative medicine public engagement stand, which now has two interactive games and an awesome 3D printer, where we can demonstrate how biomaterials and cells are used together to regenerate the body! This was most recently used at British Science Week 2019 where we engaged with over 900 students. I also travelled down to Oxford to volunteer at the British Society for Cell and Gene Therapy Public Engagement Day, where I engaged with various high school and primary school students, demonstrating the structure of DNA using origami.

I competed in the University of Manchester 3 minute thesis competition this year and made it to the final which was a great experience. I am also heavily involved in public engagement training for PhD researchers and earlier this year I ran a workshop and training session on public engagement and training for using our new public engagement 3D printer which has gone down a treat with the school kids! In the following year, I am planning to host more training sessions, and help organise a public engagement video-making workshop for regenerative medicine scientists.

In total, £360 has been spent on travel to various events and schools visits, roughly £80 on materials for training sessions for other researchers to get involved in public engagement, £20 on posters and £20 on 3D printing materials, with the remainder set to be spent on travel for upcoming events.

Posted on August 14, 2019 admin in News, WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Natasha Myhill did with her prize money…

What Kelly Rushton did with her prize money…

Kelly was voted the winner of the Fermium Zone in November 2018. Here she writes about how she used her £500 prize money to introduce GCSE students to the benefits of animals to mental health, as well as how to conduct qualitative psychology research.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


The event was one I initially planned way back before taking part in I’m A Scientist, and was an interactive workshop/engagement session with 54 Year 10 pupils about the importance of animals for mental health and wellbeing. We had three rooms which pupils rotated around in which they met a group of therapy animals from a charity (rabbits, guinea pigs, a skinny pig and an amazing dog called Tyler) and heard about the work the charity does.

A second room was where pupils had a session with a ‘Dogter’ – Billy is a therapy dog who regularly works with medical students to learn communication skills and have some relaxation time when the medicine course is stressful. In the third room the pupils engaged in some qualitative research practice to understand how our research was conducted. They practised some qualitative interviewing skills and learned how to map their social networks.

In total, £290 was spent on the animal visitors’ fees, parking and travel, £180 on pupil travel, £20 on supplies (pens, markers, flip charts, post-it notes etc), and £20 travel expenses incurred whilst arranging the event.

Posted on August 7, 2019 admin in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Kelly Rushton did with her prize money…

What Isabel Webb did with her prize money…

Winning scientist - I'm a Scientist March 2014Isabel was voted the winner of the Plants Zone in March 2014. Here she writes about how she used her £500 prize money for two different projects to inspire students about plant science.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


My money was split between two purposes. The first was to aid the travel of students from rural Norfolk (and East Anglia) to attend the Year 10 Science Camp at the John Innes Centre. This science camp gives GCSE students the chance to experience life as a scientist.

The second event was Fascination of Plants Day. I helped fund one event at the John Innes Centre, whilst volunteering at an event in Oxford run by the Oxford University Botanical Gardens and Harcourt Arboretum. The events were part of a global day celebrating plant sciences and enthusing the public about the importance of plant science research. In Oxford we ran a series of stands, including one run by myself and a fellow student about building self-contained ecosystems. Our event was incredibly successful, and we were invited back to run the same event the following year, and have been invited to run a stand at an event at the Botanical Gardens. The event was also featured in local press.

In all, £250 was spent on travel grants, and £250 on printing and resources for the John Innes Centre Fascination of Plants Day event. Since I’m A Scientist, as well as running the Fascination of Plants Day events in Oxford, I have also been involved in blogging, and have been to a couple of primary schools to enthuse the students about plant sciences and science in general.

Posted on August 7, 2019 admin in News, WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Isabel Webb did with her prize money…

What Thomas Farrugia did with his prize money…

thomasfarrugiaThomas was voted the winner of the Polymers Zone in June 2015. Here he writes about how he used his £500 prize money to develop a calendar for schools featuring PhD students and the scientists whose discoveries their work is built on.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


When you first sign up to I’m a Scientist you’re asked what you would do with the £500 if you win. I thought it would be pretty cool to produce a calendar explaining where the things we know today came from, who had made those key discoveries, and what their stories were – a bit of condensed history of science.  The calendars would then be distributed to schools in the UK for students to hang up in their classrooms and be inspired to stand on the shoulders of giants.

I’m happy to say that this has been achieved, although not in the original way I had intended. The first change was realizing that although science history is good fun, a series of photos of bald, old men with snippets of text about their discoveries might not be that appealing. Especially in a day and age when we have all the information we need at our own fingertips.

So I thought it would be great to link scientists of the past to scientists of the present. In my case there are loads of scientists all around me within the university, so there was no issues with shortage. But academics are busy people, and finding the ideal dozen who would be happy to be photographed with their PhDs was also going to be tricky, espceially given that I had quite a packed schedule with training, and doing my research. As such I decided to focus directly on the PhDs themselves, especially since they are after all, the scientists of the present and future, and let them link up their research to a key scientist in the field.

To do this most effectively I roped in a couple of friends and built a mini-team –  Andrea, to handle the calendar design and Laura, a postdoctoral researcher (someone who carries out research after finishing their PhD i.e a scientist), to take care of photography. I would do the PhD hunting and overall coordinating.

E-mails were drafted and sent to assorted admin teams and after a couple of weeks I had assembled my scientific dozen from a variety of disciplines and fields – ranging from  neuroscience to quantum computing and a bunch of other things in between. Laura did a great job on the photography, were everyone was photographed against the wall just outside of the School of Chemistry, and Andrea put everything together in what turned out to be a nice, modern design.

Once the calendar was assembled and proof-read multiple times it was sent off to the printers. Shortly afterwards I received 4 boxes – a total of 250 copies! Given that this was a lot of calendars I arranged with a number of people who work in outreach to make sure that the calendars could be distributed to schools or teachers, so they could be hung up in labs and classrooms!

Once again, I’d like to thank I’m a Scientist for this great opportunity – it was pretty cool to meet so many different fellow Phd students, and to see something go from an idea to a tangible object that will be of use to students around the UK!

Posted on August 7, 2019 admin in News, RSCWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Thomas Farrugia did with his prize money…

What Suzi Gage did with her prize money…

Suzi Gage won the Brain Zone in June 2011, when she was a PhD student at the University of Bristol. Suzi wanted to put her prize money towards starting a podcast that explained the science of substance use. “Hopefully, it will help teenagers to understand the effects of recreational drugs, and tease out the truth about the risks from the confusing message sometimes presented in the media.”

“I think it would be good for kids to be able to find out about drugs from the scientists who are researching them,” said Suzi on her profile in 2011. “What do you think of this idea? I’d love to hear your ideas too, this is just to get the ball rolling!”

After winning, Suzi did use the £500 to start her podcast, Say Why to Drugs. “I bought a microphone and some train tickets to travel the country interviewing addiction and recreational drugs researchers. In these interviews, we talk about what is currently known about the effects of various recreational drugs.”

I’m a Scientist really inspired me to get involved with more public outreach!” says Suzi. “It was the catalyst to me starting a blog and applying for a BSA Media Fellowship.”

Suzi was awarded the Media Fellowship with BBC Science in 2013, and her podcast has grown to over 1 million listeners. In 2016, she won the AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science for her podcast. “I doubt any of these things would have happened without I’m a Scientist,” she says.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply

Posted on July 31, 2019 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Suzi Gage did with her prize money…

What Sam Ellis did with his prize money…

Sam was voted the winner of the Sustaining Health Zone in March 2015. Here he writes about how the two organisations he decided to donate his £500 prize money to will benefit from it.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


I was lucky enough to win the Sustaining Health Zone in March 2015. Fortunately, the research institute where I work already has an excellent range of outreach opportunities, which I continue to enjoy participating in (when I can find time to escape the lab!). Therefore, I decided to use the money to support a pair of organisations helping students in less fortunate areas of the world.

The first of these is a charity called The Wulugu Project. They do amazing work in the poorest regions of Ghana in Africa, providing the chance for a real education to girls who would otherwise have no access to teaching. Since 1993, the charity has built or renovated over 40 schools! They also provide endless other support; everything from library books and computers, loans to support mothers sending their children to school, to footballs for PE lessons.

The Wulugu Project was founded by a retired teacher from my home county of Norfolk, so I am very happy to help a group with local links. So far the charity has improved the education of 250,000 girls in Ghana, and hopefully will help many more in the years to come.

Read International Library 2

Read International Library

The other organisation I am donating some of the prize money to is Read International. I am myself a huge fan of reading, but many children in developing counties have very little access to books. Read International is a charity from the UK, and they work hard to provide reading resources to students of all ages in the African country Tanzania. So far, they have created over 75 school libraries and donated around 1.5 million books!

While it is easy to feel like you’d rather be anywhere else but school some days, education is one of the most powerful tools for improving the world for future generations. I am extremely glad that my prize money has gone to such a good cause. Many thanks go to the I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here team for the opportunity, and of course to all the students who get so involved in the competitions!

Posted on July 31, 2019 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Sam Ellis did with his prize money…

What Dave Jones did with his prize money…

Dave was voted the winner of the Extreme Energy Zone in June 2014. Here he writes about how he used his £500 prize money to get tourists and residents of La Palma seeing more of the night sky.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here was great fun, and to be crowned winner was a wonderful feeling, but then came the really daunting part… what to spend the money on! £500 is a lot, and you really want to make it count. I had lots of different ideas but moving to the Spanish island of La Palma, Europe’s premier site for astronomy due to its clear skies, just after the competition finished made one idea stand out above the rest. Buy a small telescope and use it to share my passion for astronomy with unsuspecting people on the street – guerrilla astronomy, if you will.

La Palma is home to some of the world’s best and biggest telescopes, and yet many of the residents have never visited the observatory or looked through a telescope. So, I set out with my telescope to try and rectify the situation! The first few outings with the telescope were to local “miradores astronómicos” (astronomical viewpoints), up in the hills of La Palma alongside many of the popular walking routes. These sites which are specially designated as good locations to see the stars, seemed like the ideal place to share my passion for astronomy. Many of the people I spoke to there were tourists visiting this island from all over the world, and who had heard that one of the done things while visiting was to take in the beautiful night sky views. For many, my telescope was the first they’d ever had a chance to look through, and few were disappointed!

From the astronomical viewpoints, I shared with anyone who was passing through whatever could be seen in the sky that evening. On some nights, the telescope was so popular that people were forming queues! Luckily, I always had my laser pointer on hand to try and share some of the brighter sights with those who were waiting (including the occasional shooting star and even a passing of the International Space Station!). Perhaps the most spectacular sight was Andromeda, which to the naked eye seems nothing more than a fuzzy star, but through the telescope it becomes clear that it is a galaxy just like our own, made up of billions of stars.

After this early success, our attempts were plagued by bad weather – as is the life of an astronomer! But, having added a solar filter to the collection (to allow us to use the telescope to safely view the Sun), I could now take the telescope out day-and-night, whenever the opportunity arose. Taking the telescope into more built-up areas, where no-one was expecting to be encouraged to look up, was a lot of fun. Showing people the craters of the Moon by night, and the spots on the surface of the Sun by day, we had a great time – often catching people as they left the local bars suitably lubricated and eager to play with the telescope.

This project doesn’t end here. I’ll keep heading out with the telescope whenever I can, sharing my passion with anyone who will listen and hopefully showing them why astronomy is so much fun!

Posted on July 31, 2019 modantony in STFCWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Dave Jones did with his prize money…

What Ross King did with his prize money…

Ross was voted the winner of the Tungsten Zone in November 2015. Here he writes about using his £500 prize money on running an interactive exhibit about the cardiovascular system.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


I ran an interactive exhibit showcasing how the cardiovascular system can rapidly and unconsciously change in response to the world going on around us. This showed the subtle and unique relationship the brain has with the rest of the body, demonstrating that our hearts and blood vessels quickly adapt not only in the face of exercise and physical stress, but to our emotions and thought processes too. Volunteers were attached to a monitoring device and were given a series of challenges, whilst they watched their cardiovascular systems change in real time before their own eyes.

The exhibit was very successful, received excellent feedback (people loved taking a peek inside themselves!), and I plan to roll it out further in future. The participants were particularly amazed at how quickly their bodies could change in the face of seemingly small challenges, and appreciated just how important the link between mind and body was in keeping us going 24/7!

£250 was spent on a projector, and £100 on travel. We have reached around 100 people so far. With the equipment purchased with the prize fund, I would like to take the exhibit to new locations, both locally and nationally (with a view to taking to a national science festival). Thus, the remaining funds I plan to use for travel.

Posted on July 24, 2019 admin in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Ross King did with his prize money…

What Samuel Vennin did with his prize money…

Samuel was voted the winner of the Heart Zone in June 2018. Here he writes about how he used his £500 prize money to engage with students in bilingual schools, and also develop an exhibit for the Exhibition Road Festival in London.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


A year ago, I was lucky enough to be voted the winner of the Heart Zone by school children who participated to the sessions. I won £500 I had to spend on STEM outreach activities and report below on the activities they have helped funding.

I have been a Project Manager for Native Scientist for a year and a half now, and a participant of their workshops for more than 5 years. Native Scientist sends scientists to bilingual schools attended by migrant children to promote STEM subjects and empowerment through science. The workshops last about 1 hours and a half and are run on a speed-dating format where scientists spend about 15 minutes with a group of children before rotating to another group. Half of the money from the I’m A Scientist prize entirely funded 4 workshops in May 2019 that took place in a French school located in London. In total, 102 children aged between 7 and 10 years old have been exposed to a wide range of topics from cancerous cells to brain diseases to artificial intelligence and 84 reported having learnt “a lot”.

I also led my Department stall at the Exhibition Road Festival in late June 2019. Over a week-end, a team of 14 scientists from King’s College London and Imperial College London Centre for Doctoral Training in Smart Medical Imaging interacted with about 700 people in the Body and Mind zone. The stand was titled “Peeking inside the human body” and aimed to show that medical imaging could now do more than “just” image the body. Our activities indeed highlighted how it also be used to generate virtual environments where surgeons can plan and rehearse surgeries or create 3D print models of the organs of interest for teaching purposes.

The Native Scientist workshops cost a total of £240 (4x£60) and I spent the remaining £260 on building a fluorescent setup to explain how radioactivity can be used in medical imaging to both cure and monitor treatment at the same time (theranostic). In a frame, we represented the human body with its main arteries (represented by pipes) in which radioactive particles flow until they bind to tumours (lead beads being attracted to a magnet in the setup). The beads can hardly be seen until we light up the frame just like PET-CT scanners can help localizing the tumours. The activity was a success and helped changing the audience perception on radioactivity in healthcare.

I would like once more to thank the I’m A Scientist team and encourage any person (scientist/teacher/pupil/etc) interested to participate.

Posted on July 24, 2019 admin in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Samuel Vennin did with his prize money…

What Cat Scott did with her prize money…

Cat was voted the winner of the Climate Change zone in March 2016. Here she writes about using her £500 prize money on the Terrific Scientific Trees Investigation.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


As part of the BBC’s nationwide Terrific Scientific programme, we devised a project to get primary school children out of their classrooms and learning about the trees around them. I visited several primary schools to trial the lessons and then the BBC invited all primary schools in the UK to take part in May/June 2017.

I appeared in a video to introduce children to the project. Schools would register online and then had the option to upload their results to an interactive map and submit detailed results to us at the University of Leeds. As part of the project, we arranged for over 40,000 trees to be planted across a number of tropical countries. My plan is to devise an activity, similar to Terrific Scientific, to send to schools in the tropics where the trees are being planted (this is what I’ll spend my remaining prize money on).

In the UK we spent £100 on tree measuring equipment (clipboards, tape measures, rulers), £100 travel to schools for testing, and £50 on tree themed educational equipment (toys and stickers etc). Overseas we spent £250 on activity packs and postage. So far, we’ve reached 3000 people!

 

Posted on July 24, 2019 admin in News, RSCWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Cat Scott did with her prize money…

What Matt Lee did with his prize money…

Matt was voted the winner of the Actinium Zone in June 2017. Here he writes about how he used his £500 prize money to produce a sci-art exhibition.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


My favourite thing about science is the creativity behind it. I try to explore this creativity in all of the public engagement and outreach work I do when talking about science. I used the £500 to put on an exhibition of science art in Bristol for 2 weeks in May 2018, Creative Reactions Bristol. We had 35 scientists and 35 artists work together to produce pieces of art that explored the scientists’ research. We had over 2,000 people explore the exhibition and talk to scientists and artists involved.

I am continuing with the science art exhibition and in 2019 we have 50 artists and 50 scientists taking part with an exhibition across two galleries for 30 days. We’ve got a load of school and adult workshops planned to get people involved in science in hands-on and creative ways, instead of just teaching people about science we are getting them to explore and be creative.

Without the I’m a Scientist funding I would not have been able to deliver as successful an exhibition in 2018 as we did. This success has enabled us to continue with the project, growing it and making it more engaging for all ages.

As well as organising the 2019 science art exhibition, I’m also developing a wheel of fortune that explores the concepts of risk so we can finally understand what it actually means when the media tells us that coffee/chocolate/milk/bacon/[insert food here] is killing us!

 

Posted on April 24, 2019 admin in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Matt Lee did with his prize money…

What Liam Taylor did with his prize money…

Liam was voted the winner of the Sustainability Zone in November 2018. Here he writes about how he used his £500 prize money to develop a session for children and students to learn about climate change using VR headsets.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


I used the prize money to purchase virtual reality headsets to develop an outreach session with the University of Leeds. Whenever I taught the science or solutions of climate change, I was frequently told by children that they couldn’t visualise environments that are on the other side of the world, let alone how they are changing. So, I bought an array of Oculus headsets so that children can immerse themselves in coral reefs, stand on top of glaciers, or shake hands with great primates in the rainforests.

I have now developed a session – ‘The Reality of Climate Change’ – that will be taken on tour to classrooms, museums, and science events. Students will first visit environments in their natural, pristine state, before looking at the impacts that climate change is having on these ecosystems. Children so far have responded very positively, displaying a greater sense of empathy towards environmental change, and desire for climate action.

The I’m a Scientist experience taught me to be a better science communicator – and not just with children, but senior academics too. I was also so inspired by the curiosity and intelligence of everybody who asked a question. In my own work now, I try to ask as many questions as possible and explain things in the simplest ways.

Next up for the virtual reality session is to roll it out to as many children as possible! I’m still testing lots of ideas with different age groups to ensure the content is effective and relatable. Eventually, this will form part of the University of Leeds outreach programme, which reaches children from all backgrounds across West Yorkshire.

Posted on March 27, 2019 admin in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Liam Taylor did with his prize money…

What Daniel Jolley did with his prize money…

Daniel was voted the winner of the Society Zone in June 2018. Here he writes about how he used his £500 prize money to collaborate with an artist to enhance his public engagement talks with cool cartoons, and created a YouTube animation about his work.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


Millions of people from across the globe believe in conspiracy theories – such as the idea that climate change is a hoax. Whilst conspiracy theories were once just seen as chatter, and of no concern, my research to date demonstrates that exposure to conspiracy theories may lead to important social and political consequences – such as being less likely to vaccinate a child.

During June’s 2018 Society Zone event, conspiracy theories were a hot topic of conversation. Using the prize money awarded, I wanted to continue the conservations and bring to life the psychology of conspiracy theories. To do so, with the £500 I commissioned More Than Minutes to draw my research into an engaging cartoon.

On the day the artwork was created, two artists watched me give a presentation where I talked about things like ‘what is a conspiracy theory?’, ‘why do people believe in conspiracy theories?’, and ‘what’s the harm?’. They then spent the afternoon drawing my research, which now sits above my desk in my office! However, this is not the end of the story!

I want to ensure the artwork is used for public engagement. I have embedded the artwork into my public talks on the psychology of conspiracy theories, whilst developing a lesson plan around the topic area for school children. I have turned the artwork into A5 postcards that I print for attendees at my public talks and children who attend my school sessions on conspiracy theories. For those who are unable to attend a talk or a lesson delivered by myself, I have turned the artwork into an animation that is uploaded to YouTube. The video includes a short 5-minute narration.

At the time of writing, I have given 3 public talks and the session has been delivered to three sets of school children – approximately 150 people have been given postcards so far.  The YouTube video has been watched just shy of 400 times. If you would like a copy of the artwork, you can download one from my website.  You can also always get in touch with me if you would like some postcards sending to you.

Posted on March 20, 2019 admin in Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Daniel Jolley did with his prize money…

What Stephanie Mann did with her prize money…

Stephanie was voted the winner of the Climate Zone in March 2018. Here she writes about how she has used her £500 prize money to buy filming equipment and software to start up a science YouTube channel.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


I have started a YouTube channel called Science with Steph. I have been a consumer of online video for a long time and know a few small creators, and so I decided to take the plunge and start a channel myself! It has been hard work (growing a channel from scratch these days can be very slow going), but very enjoyable. I have learnt many skills such as producing, editing and filming videos. I have also learned how to talk about quite tricky subjects in a simple way.

YouTube is a great platform as it’s the world’s second biggest search engine. Having said that it can be quite hard to have your voice heard (there are 500 hours of content uploaded every minute on YouTube). I hope my small channel will improve the platform as a place of learning and where people can improve their scientific understanding.

I spent £180 on a second hand camera, £250 on a microphone, and £70 on accessories like a tripod, lapel mics, and editing software. I have been making videos every week (with a break of 2 months when I moved house) and so far I have over 4500 views, 200 subscribers and nearly 150 hours of watch time on my channel! I hope to use my connections in the Stem Ambassadors network and also other educational content creators to grow my channel and increase the impact I have.

Posted on March 6, 2019 admin in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Stephanie Mann did with her prize money…

What Sophie Williams did with her prize money…

Sophie was voted the winner of the Americium Zone in March 2018. Here she writes about how her £500 prize money is being used to make materials such as 3D fossils to teach children about palaeontology.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


I decided to donate the money to the Scarborough Museums Trust, specifically to the Rotunda Museum who run both free and paid science workshops for primary and secondary school children. I wanted to donate to the museum because they are a small establishment who do not receive the same sort of funding as some of the larger museums. Furthermore, it is also the local museum in the town in which I grew up, so I thought it would be nice to give something back to the school communities in that area.

The money donated went towards funding 3D-printed fossils for them to use in their science (palaeontology) workshops so that some of the rarer and more valuable fossils that the children might not otherwise be allowed to handle could be used risk-free. Some examples of the fossils that have been 3-D printed include walrus and crocodile skulls. The project is only in the very beginning stages, but some of the fossils have been 3D-printed and more will be constructed over the next few months and years. Some scans of some of the museum’s most popular objects can be seen here: https://sketchfab.com/jim.middleton.

The I’m a Scientist experience was really fun. I learnt quite a lot about, not only my own knowledge, but that of the children over the two weeks. I learnt that they are really interested in black holes and climate change! Many of the children had really interesting and quite thought-provoking questions, some of which I did not know the answer to!

The prize money will help to fund the use of the 3D fossils in the workshop which I hope will continue to inspire future generations of children to get into the study of Earth Science, and keep them thinking about how the world around us is constantly changing in response to changing climates and environments.

Since the I’m a Scientist experience, I have given a talk in a sixth form in Yorkshire about my own research in Australia looking at the effect of Greenland ice melt on sea level in the 19th and 20th century and am hoping to get involved with soapbox science in June.

 

Posted on February 27, 2019 admin in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Sophie Williams did with her prize money…

What Steve Street did with his prize money

Steve was voted the winner of the Drug Discovery Zone in November 2016. Here he writes about using his £500 prize money to create a website that helps students understand the links between school subjects and future career opportunities.

If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


My plan for the £500 prize money was to develop a careers website for secondary school students, who are making decisions about what subjects to study. This might be KS3 subjects in year 9, GCSE subjects in year 10, A-level subjects in year 12, or undergraduate degree subjects in year 13.

The website is based on real people, real careers and real research, and will be organised by school subject. Students will be able to log on and discover a wealth of potential career and research options covering all walks of life, all organised by the most relevant subject/s to the career, and based on real people, who made real decisions. Not only do students learn about what types of careers and what types of research subjects such as chemistry can lead to, they can also compare them to other subjects (such as physics for example), allowing them to make informed decisions about their future. Once they have found a subject and/or person they are interested in, they can examine that person’s profile in greater detail to see what subjects they studied at school, and get advice on how to follow in their footsteps!

The project is called FuturebySubject, and the website is now live in a basic form at www.futurebysubject.co.uk. I have many plans for future updates, and the prize money allows me to fund the website for at least the next 5 years – so this is definitely a project that will evolve! I am always looking for more contributors, so please check out the website and get in touch to submit your profile. It only takes 10 mins!

Posted on February 6, 2019 admin in RSCWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Steve Street did with his prize money