Project widens debate on research

A campaign that encourages greater public debate in research areas that impact on our everyday lives is being launched.

The four-year initiative, the Edinburgh Beltane project, will be led by the University in partnership with 18 other organisations.

Improving public awareness

It is hoped that the initiative will improve public awareness of university research in areas such as healthcare, energy, the environment and the arts.

The aim is to enable dialogue to take place between members of the public and academics.

It will encourage people in Scotland to have a greater say in Scottish Government policy.

The campaign will feature a programme of events, including a series of public debates.

Astronaut backs plan

Dr Piers Sellers in a spacesuit

Astronaut Piers Sellers, an Edinburgh graduate, will help to unveil the £1.2m campaign at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on 30 September.

Dr Sellers will participate by videolink from the US. He will speak about the value of public discussion and of the potential benefits for all involved.

Also lending support to the event will be former MP Sir Tam Dalyell, an enthusiastic science communicator who wrote a weekly column for New Scientist from 1967 to 2005.

Researchers will share their cutting-edge discoveries in a way that will enable people to engage with the big questions facing us all. We hope that discussions between the public, researchers and the Government will help people to have a say in and influence a knowledge-based economy.

Professor Mary BownesThe University of Edinburgh