Monthly Archives: July 2016

Vania Almeida: The importance of outreach activities and its impact on general public

The importance of outreach activities and its impact on general public is often underestimated by researchers in the preparation of their research proposals. An outreach plan should be included and justified on the basis of the proposal, aiming to make scientific career more attractive and improve the acceptance of innovative solutions among citizens.

This plan should be detailed but flexible enough to adjust along the project duration. It is important to propose some activities, identifying the target audience of each one, in what way and when the public will interact with project results and information about how to measure the results of these communication initiatives.

Today, I am sharing my experience as a Native Scientist mentor ( This is a non-profit enterprise that aims at empowering immigrant communities through science outreach. Native Scientist promotes science and language learning among school pupils who have bilingual background. As a mentor, you have the opportunity to develop your communication skills while promoting a better social integration of these communities. Currently, the portfolio of languages covered in the UK includes: French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish.

In my opinion, engaging with pupils in the classroom is one of the most rewarding experience you can have. These sessions  can have a huge impact on students, providing living, working examples of how young people can interact with science and increasing the interest to STEM subjects. Additionally, it allows me to promote the profession of medical technology research to the next generation of potential scientists.

More information about my session:

Vania Almeida: How to combine your research interests and a well-balanced training program

Marie Curie Individual Fellowship program is an interesting opportunity for those who aim to reach and reinforce a position of professional maturity in research, particularly through the exposure to complementary skills training.

The quality and appropriateness of the training is one of the items evaluated within the excellence, one of the three criteria score. It is essential to delineate a reliable plan with your supervisor and the local HR team. If you are doing it for the first time you can find useful the Vitae Research Development Framework (RDF) that can help you to identify your strengths and the training needs.


I am working at Aston in two main working packages:

Research skills: My supervisor is helping me with most of the required training. However, I have decided to attend specific training in statistics, namely the Academy for PhD training in Statistics (APTS), a course designed to support research PhD students, but useful from those from other transferring in to statistics from other disciplines. APTS organises four residential weeks of training each year, this year in the University of Cambridge, University of Nottingham, University of Lancaster and University of Glasgow.

The Royal Orthopaedics Hospital is providing me the essential clinical training to facilitate good working practices while on secondment, namely training on the assessment, measurement and monitoring of vital signs and mandatory training sessions (including infection control, information governance and data protection, dignified treatment of patients, health and safety).

Complementary skills training: Aston offers a great number of versatile courses and excellent mentoring support for early career researchers, e.g. communication, project and finance management, IPR and copyright.

Additionally, Research & Enterprise Office runs several sessions along the year covering specific funding calls and several workshops specific to take researchers through all the steps they need to take to make a successful funding application. I find this really useful for the researchers moving from another countries, it is an interesting way to become familiar with new opportunities and developments in the funding landscape.