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
On April 11th 2018, the biomechanists at Loughborough University welcomed 57 Year 10 students (24 females, 33 males) and their teachers to our labs as part of the now-worldwide Biomechanics Day 2018 : an international celebration and showcase of all things biomechanics. Students from the four Leicestershire-based schools participated in a morning or afternoon full of biomechanics-related activities.
Students participated in a range of activities where they learnt about reaction times in sport, measuring forces and movement during sporting tasks, taking live images of muscle and tendon working, and having a go at stretching and foam rolling like elite athletes. Students got an insight into the types of biomechanics projects currently running around the world in places like the Nike Sport Lab in the USA, skiing in Switzerland, cricket injury research at Loughborough, and how biomechanics is used in the English Institute of Sport.
This was then followed by a short careers talk from five lecturers in our research group (two females, three males), who each described their pathway into biomechanics, what is our real passion for trying to solve, why we enjoy our job, and what sort of things we each do. Particular positives from the day were that 87% of the students agreed the visit had shown them how varied this part of science was and 73% agreed they would be interested in learning more about this area of science. The day was full of smiles from the visiting students and teachers, undergraduate student ambassadors, and the Loughborough staff and students, which I think the photo captures brilliantly.
There’s much more to come! We have recently participated in our university-wide STEM day, and will host another 90 Year 10 students on May 29th as part of a university-wide HCOP event. I have been appointed the outreach co-ordinator for the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences at Loughborough University, and have been invited to present as part of workshops at the major conferences in biomechanics in Brisbane, Dublin and Auckland. I’ll be speaking about my I’m a Scientist and outreach experiences and how these could be applied elsewhere around the world.
The IASUK prize money is used to cover the costs of food, refreshments, and equipment for use on both previous and future large-scale outreach days, as well as developing posters which communicate our research and the area in language accessible to the general public. This work is also further supported by Loughborough University.