Science on the road - a week of engagement

The Department of Oncology and the Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine were out-and-about again in June.

A team of researchers and scientific support staff took to the road on the occasion of the Medical Research Council's Festival of Medical Research; the third national exploration of publicly funded research to tackle human diseases.

Across the country, MRC funded Units and Institutes engaged people with their research.  Oxford’s approach was to take researchers and exhibits and set up in markets, supermarkets and shopping centres so as to engage with people who might not come to a science-badged event, but who would stop and talk.

This year’s topic was genome editing - a technique with the power to treat conditions such as anaemia, or generate a better understanding of diseases such as cancer.

The week began in Newbury on Saturday 16 June and ended in Swindon on Friday 22 June. Over 800 people were engaged, the majority* of whom had never before spent time talking to a scientist. They left some encouraging sentiments, which made the event all the more worthwhile.

“I’m glad I stopped [to talk to you]!”
”It’s great work.  My cousin is recovering from breast cancer, so keep up the research; it’s very impressive.”
“Thank you for taking the time to come and explain your research.”
"That’s a great thing to be spending money on.”

*Over 60% of people surveyed said this was the first time they had spent time talking to a scientist. 

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