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Our Partnerships and Networks

Developing and Maintaining Relationships and Partnerships

Our strong links with the Local Authority and many schools across the North East allow us to develop longer-term programmes that have a real and tangible impact on those involved. For example, in setting up a partnership between primary schools, secondary schools, the Local Authority and Science Engagement (gaining financial support from Enthuse), we were able to study progression in science from Early Years upwards. This has had a transformative effect on the schools with: marked increases in teacher confidence and subject knowledge; a complete change in the teaching and assessment of science from book objectives to the development of scientific enquiry skills and the building of knowledge (which in turn is affecting other subjects); increases in pupil attitudes towards science, their confidence and aspirations. Science Engagement now share their learning (including at County-wide events and at the National Science Learning Centre) and the group continue to work together following the end of the Enthuse funding. Our established network of schools also means that when new opportunities arise, we can easily call on them to participate. For example, support for our postgraduate student engagement training; in recruiting schools for research programmes and special engagement programmes; and when the Space Camp UK programme (supported through The Shine Trust and Stephen Hawking Foundation) approached us, we were able to quickly recruit 35 schools, making Durham University the only organisation that was able to support the programme to this level.

The Wider Community

Science Engagement works in partnership with several internal and external groups. This includes the coordination of the Durham Primary Science Network for Durham County Council and managing the North East schools’ partnerships for the Ogden Trust which encompasses coordination, support, business-school networking, and CPD delivery to over 130 schools across the region. Other examples include membership of the Darlington Science Learning Partnership strategic board (2021-2022); IOP Higher Education Advisory Group; and the Advisory Group for the Centre for Life Space Zone which opened in January 2020. In August 2020, Dr Coghill was selected to join the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement Public Engagement Professionals (PEP) Insights Peer Researcher Team, made up of a panel of 10 PEPs from around the UK. The team conducted a research study exploring the impact of COVID-19 on PEP and the work of universities. The final report was published in September 2021 PEP Insight Full Report.

Our partnership with Business Durham facilitates direct links to businesses and enables opportunities to develop regionally relevant programmes developing skills and awareness. Highlights include a Space and Languages event for Durham secondary students involving our undergraduate and postgraduate students in 2020; training events for local creative businesses (2018-present); and contributions to the Future Business Magnates competition for Durham secondary schools (2010-present).

Science Engagement engage with many other specialist groups in the region and participate in local, national and international activities and events.