Communicating Our Research to You
Innovative and effective communication is crucial in supporting the overall Unit mission ‘to advance biomedical science and human health through the development, application and dissemination of statistical methods’. The BSU covers many areas of statistical application which are of great interest and relevance to the general public. The Unit supports public engagement and communication activities and is pro-actively working to improve dissemination with all its stakeholders through a broad range of activities.
We have developed an exciting and interesting selection of hands-on activities designed to inform, inspire and stimulate non-technical audiences about biostatistics research and why it is important.
We are regular exhibitors at the annual Cambridge Science Festival which is held in March each year and attracts more than 30,000 visitors.
The Unit also participated in an Open Day which was part of the MRC Festival of Medical Research, in June 2016. The event was open to members of the public and school students to attend, giving an exciting insight into why statistics is important and how it helps us to understand what is going on in the world, with various hands-on activities and an opportunity to meet our biostatisticians.
Latest News on Public Engagement at the BSU
Dr Simon White, Senior Investigator Scientist and Unit Public Engagement Champion, recently took part in an exciting new project with the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), filming demonstrations of two of the hands-on statistics activities he has helped to create; ‘Biased Sampling’, and ‘How Random Are You’ – see videos below. They are for use by RSS members at careers fairs, at festivals and in schools, and consist of short, practical activities for face-to-face interactions. Further details at the RSS website
Fun with statistics at Cambridge Science Festival 2018
We are excited to announce that we will be taking part in Cambridge Science Festival 2018. Further details coming soon.
Engaging with school students
There is a well-recognised skills gap in the field of biostatistics. The Unit has identified the barriers to recruitment and retention of students and staff and how it works to overcome these to increase capacity building in this important field. Our increased effort to engage with school students is a response to the recognition that this problem has roots at a much earlier stage. By engaging with school students, we aim to overcome some of the misconceptions and negative views that prevent pupils’ engagement with and progression in the subjects that will ultimately deliver the young statisticians of the future.
The BSU has been actively supporting STEM since 2014, and we currently have STEM Ambassadors (Simon White and Martin Law). In June 2016, we took part in the STEM Fair, organised by STEM Team East, aiming to enrich STEM education and highlight a range of STEM careers. Read more.
We have also taken part in the Nuffield Placement Scheme for three consecutive years, hosting A-Level students for a summer work experience placement. Read more.
Our student from 2016, recently gave this feedback about his placement at the BSU, supervised by Simon White:
“I’m writing this to say thank you for letting me undertake a Nuffield project with you and helping me so much with it. I have recently been given a place at medical school and thought that you might want to know. I wanted to thank you because I wouldn’t have got in if not for the project.”
Ask a statistician
Do you have a question for one of our scientists at the MRC Biostatistics Unit? The question might be; how did you become a statistician, or how does biostatistics research impact on public health?
Please send all your questions to Alison Quenault at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Who we are
Communications Officer Alison Quenault co-ordinates the BSU’s public engagement and communications activities. If you have a question or enquiry relating to public engagement and communications activities at the BSU, please contact Alison at: email@example.com or call 01223 768263
We also have a Public Engagement Champion, Dr Simon White, who has helped to create many of the unique activities we take to public engagement events. Simon is also STEM Ambassador, an RSS Ambassador, members of the RSS Education Committee, and has provided many outstanding contributions to our public engagement portfolio, inspiring others in the Unit to get involved in this important area of work.
It wouldn’t be possible to take part in public engagement and communications activities without the time and effort from our staff and students. The BSU relies on recruiting willing volunteers to help at public engagement stands and to participate in other activities such as press enquiries and social media engagement.
Keep in touch
Social Media: We regularly tweet about the various activities members of the BSU take part in, including attendance at conferences and workshops, and newly published papers. To follow us on Twitter, go to: https://twitter.com/MRC_BSU
Website: Keep up to date with our latest research news and events, as well as information on recruitment, PhD opportunities and our short courses, by visiting our website: www.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk