“Public engagement describes the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit” – National Co-ordinating Center for Public Engagement, UK
Besides its Fellowship Programme, the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance aims to enhance the public understanding of science in India. It has become increasingly important for scientists to engage with the public to increase the awareness of science, technology and medicine (STM) research, and themselves get fresh perspectives on their research towards a larger picture. We, at the India Alliance, endeavor to bring the scientific community and the public together to share, debate and deliberate on important scientific and human health issues that have implications on the society at large.
To enable our Fellows to effectively and creatively engage with the society about biomedical science, we announced the first rolling ‘Public Engagement competition’ in May 2014. This competition is a valuable opportunity for our Fellows to showcase and share their Science with the Public and collaborate with other members of the society. The engagement can be through research, art, social activities, teaching, movies/documentary and other modes of knowledge sharing with the central goal of educating and improving public awareness of science and human health issues. To apply, please download the application form here and send the completed application form to [email protected]
Intermediate Fellow 2010, Dr Mukund Thattai, NCBS Bangalore, received the first Public Engagement award for his project, ‘Bodystorm Hits Bangalore’ in 2015. Read more about his project here
The India Alliance held its first Public Engagement event in Kolkata from December 18-20, 2012 in association with Manovikas Kendra, an organisation working on special education for physically and intellectually challenged children and young adults. Titled “Unseen”, the event focused on mental ability through the popular medium of documentaries, short films and theatre as well as interactions with experts from different parts of the world. The event was held at GD Birla Sabhagar,Kolkata. Click here to read the report.
India Alliance organises several public lectures throughout the year at various institutions across India to give both the scientific as well as non- scientific communities access to eminent scientists and their work and vice-a-versa. Our first Public Lecture Series in 2013-14 was on the broad area of “Evolution of the Human Mind” in the month of November and December, 2013. Seven invited speakers delivered 12 lectures at different intellectual forums in 8 different cities across the country. In 2014-15, India Alliance celebrated the discovery of DNA through a series of public lectures in various cities, given by Prof W Ian Lipkin, Prof Nadrian Seeman,Dr Karen Nelson and Prof Shankar Balasubramanian. A short report on these lectures and the list of speakers can be found here.
The panel discussion held at Miranda House, Delhi, on 2015, was organised with the aim to inform and encourage students to play a role in cancer prevention- to discuss how we can bridge the gap between the public and their access to key health information on cancer, how effective communication and public engagement can remove the stigma attached to it and finally, how different stakeholders and most importantly the audience (the public!) could play an important role in cancer prevention. Click here to read the report.
The India Alliance supported the Undivided Mind, an Art & Science programme at Khoj studios in New Delhi in 2016. This programme started on 7 March and brought together sketch artist, photographer, visual journalist, contemporary artists, designer with some of India Alliance Fellows and other STM practitioners. The participants along with their collaborators explored the intersecting fields of art, science, health and technology and deveoped novel connections between these areas. Read more about this programme here.
Voices for Health was a joint effort of the India Alliance and Public Health Foundation of India aimed at engaging people and communities to better understand public health and to educate them about key determinants of emergent heath issues. This initiative was planned as a series of public engagement events that will bring together biomedical researchers with policy makers, social scientists, health workers, media and other stakeholders to talk about important health issues. Each event will focus on a public health topic of contemporary interest. The series aimed to demystify science and myths, disseminate latest health research and share perspectives of experts and people. The series explored antibiotic resistance, cancer, mental health and environmental health issues by holding public events in different Indian cities. Click on the titles below to find out more about the events.
1 March 2016
Making a Public Health impact through Theatre
29 June 2016
India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
26 July 2016
State Convention Centre, Shillong, Meghalaya
September- December 2016
6-10 October 2016
For Scientists: Useful ideas and methods to engage with the public http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Public-engagement/Engagement-with-your-research/index.htm