Earlier this year, Alice Roberts was appointed Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham. In addition to her teaching and graduate advising responsibilities, "this new role will also involve promoting the University of Birmingham's academics and their research to the general public, and inspiring people about science." It's an interesting and creative approach to helping scientists communicate with the public.
University of Birmingham (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In this video from The Guardian, Roberts argues that it's not enough to hire people like her. Rather, universities need to make sure that public engagement by their faculty is valued.
We need to make sure that public engagement is part of academic life, just as teaching is, just as research is.As I wrote yesterday, "[I]f we think public support is important for science education and research, we need to recognize and value the efforts of those who reach beyond our campuses."