Citizen science, outreach, history of science communication: we’re looking for summer scholars!

Applications for Victoria University of Wellington summer scholarships are open! Summer scholarships offer students (third year or above) $6000 along with valuable research experience for projects running over the summer. Information on how to apply is here – applications are due on 1 October.

Here are the projects we’re involved in this year. Please contact Rhian or Rebecca if you want to know more.

How and why do scientists publish their outreach efforts?

Scholarship code: 540 
Supervisor: Rhian Salmon

Many scientists are involved in public engagement and science communication efforts—often collectively referred to as “outreach”—but there are few academic fora to share best practices in this field.

Where scientists do attempt to share best practice in this field, it is usually in their own discipline-specific journals, not reviewed by peers with expertise in science communication, and not read by scientists in other fields who are exploring similar outreach practices.

This inadvertently serves to separate practice and theory in this field, as well as to make it extremely difficult for scientists interested in developing their understanding of outreach to learn from robust communication by their peers on this topic.

This research project will explore how and where scientists from a variety of disciplines are currently sharing their best-practice and experiences in outreach, as well as new models that are being used elsewhere for interdisciplinary publication and sharing of best-practice.

History of science communication and outreach by DSIR scientists, 1926-1992

Scholarship code: 534 
Supervisor: Rebecca Priestley

This project will look at the motivations for and practice of science outreach by DSIR scientists 1926-1992. It will primarily involve archival and newspaper research, to discern government and organisational policy and activities (such as open days, public lectures, promotional booklets) around connecting with the public. This is part of a wider project that looks at how science outreach was performed, reported and critically evaluated at different times in the 20th century. This project seeks to determine the impact of New Zealand’s radical late-20th century science reforms on science outreach, and explore links between institutional and political change, and outreach practice.

Citizen science in Wellington

Scholarship code: 039 
Supervisors: Stephen Hartley and Rhian Salmon

In October 2014 the Great Kereru Count will run. This is a citizen science project where people will count kereru and upload the information through an app or website.

We need a student to analyse the data from this count, looking at current kereru trends within Wellington, and also to evaluate the way the count was promoted and the data was collected.

There are many opportunities to use citizen science in Wellington, and this is an opportunity to explore those possibilities and make recommendations for future projects.

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