To explore the mentoring model used by the EPSRC PPE Award, a series of interviews were held with the following participants:
EPSRC - Kate Miller, Public Engagement Programme Manager
PPE Mentor - Dr Karen Bultitude, University Of West England, Professional Science Communicator (lecturer & researcher & experienced practitioner)
PPE Mentee - Prof Trevor Cox, University of Salford, multiple PPE Awards and experienced PE practitioner
PPE Mentee - Dr Kevin Tan, University of Manchester, Research Associate, first PPE Award.
These interviews were recorded with a view to creating a set of resources (such as videos/podcasts and advice guides) as well as a set of recommendations that could be utilised by different initiatives across the University.
The first step was to gain permission from the EPSRC to conduct the interviews. From the start the research council were fully supportive of the project, providing background information about the PPE Award and offering a contact list of mentors and mentees.
Having made the appropriate contacts, interview questions were prepared and sent out to participants for comment.
The interviews were recorded at The University of Manchester during the week of the Manchester Science Festival (24 Oct – 1 Nov 09), which meant that it was easier to coordinate the diaries of busy public engagement practitioners.
Each interview ran for approximately an hour. In addition to finding out about the mentoring scheme, participants were also asked to share their thoughts on their own public engagement experiences.
Following the interviews, the footage was reviewed to identify key recommendations and an edited highlights package of video is currently being created, with a view to making this available via a number of skills training and public engagement websites.