Dr Heather Rea. Project Lead, Beltane Public Engagement Network.
I am the Project Lead for the Beltane Public Engagement Network a collaborative network which is supported by the four Universities in Edinburgh.
As a network we provide personal development, training, brokering, networking opportunities and engagement opportunities for staff and students to engage with the public about their research work. Our work ranges from hosting dinners at the Scottish Parliament to encouraging researcher to do stand-up comedy at The Stand.
In addition to providing creative direction for the project, I mentor and support the Beltane Public Engagement Fellows, teach on the MSc in Science Communication and Public Engagement and work to highlight the benefits of public engagement with research to university management and committees, funders and policy makers.
I am interested in engagement, dialogue, motivation, gaming, collaboration and the potential of community building to enhance professional practices.
I have a degree and PhD in Mechanical Engineering and have done several years research on Engineering Knowledge Management. Previously I ran two EPSRC and on RAEng Public Engagement Projects taking engineering activities to local schools and the Edinburgh International Science Festival. I then worked as the Deputy Director of one of the six UK Beacons for Public Engagement and was subsequently supported by a bursary from the Wellcome Trust to complete a course on Social Entrepreneurship at the London School for Social Entrepreneurs.